Bookshelf with Sophie King

Sidmouth author recommends Christmas gift reads

THERE’S one present that can’t go wrong at Christmas. Well, not in my book at least! And that’s something to read.

The trick is to choose the right story for the right person and that’s where your local bookshop can come in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

In my experience, booksellers are fantastic at finding exactly the right thriller for granny or a how-to-survive-the-teenage stage for demented parents.

This month, I’ve brought you some tasters that should suit most Christmas stockings in the family. In fact, while you’re at it, why not give yourself a present at the same time?

You may also want to watch:

FOUR TO TEEN. Five Tales For Young Readers by Tony Lambert. UK Unpublished. �8.49.

There are some wonderful books for children around but I’ve chosen this because it’s by a local author with a great imagination. One of my favourite stories in the collection is The Amazing Christmas Light Show. Will little Kirsty rescue the stars in the sky so Father Christmas can find his way? The author, a former teacher, lives in East Devon and has also published an adult novel called Flash.

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THE GENERATION GAME by Sophie Duffy. Published by Legend Press. �7.99

Philippa Smith is a new older mother. She has no husband and no where to go. So she starts at the beginning by going back through her life to understand how she has ended up here. Perfect for mum’s stocking. The author lives in Teignmouth and is the winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary and the Yeovil Literary Prize. It’s her first novel but look out for more.

THE LITIGATORS by John Grisham. Hodder & Stoughton �19.99.

Men are notoriously difficult to buy for. But Grisham novels are such gripping page-turners that they generally go down well with everyone. This one is no exception. David, the lawyer hero, chucks in a highly-paid job to work for the man on the street. But something strange is going on…. Lots of lovely twists.

THE VERY PICTURE OF YOU by Isabel Wolff. Harper �7.99

Ella is a portrait painter who enjoys talking to her sitters in order to get the full picture. And she learns some amazing stories as one by one, each of her subjects confesses secrets in their past in front of the easel. But then Ella is drawn to a particular sitter who tells her something that changes her life. A Christmas present for women of all ages. And men too.

THE POCKET BOOK OF GOOD GRANNIES by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall. Short Books. �9.99

The title speaks volumes! Surely no granny could resist this book which is bursting with tips, kindness and love. Just what we need at this time of year.


Christmas is a time for families – and what better way to bond than get all three generations in the same kitchen? Coco is the author’s 12 year old grand-daughter. This lovely cookery book takes you through basic recipes that children can make themselves, to more complex dishes that might need a steadying adult hand.



Every month, I mention a book that isn’t new but which, in my view, is definitely worth reading. At this time of the year, it’s good to remind ourselves about the kind of person we want to be. If you haven’t read this one, you’re in for a treat. Every Tuesday, Mitch visits his old university lecturer who is terminally ill. And each week, he comes away with another uplifting heart-warming lesson on how to live his life. You won’t be disappointed. Also available in audio CD for those who find it hard to read now.

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