Well, I think these six books might be. They’re all books I’ve received for Christmas, and they’ve become my all-time favourites. What do you reckon of my choice?
1 First up, THE classic Christmas poem. This 1949 edition of Clement C Moore’s The Night Before Christmas is suitably vintage, though true nostalgics hardly need it as they know every word already.
2 For those after something different, there’s An Aussie Night Before Christmas. Roos take the place of reindeer, and Santa finds the traditional costume far too hot for a barbie on the beach.
3 Best children’s book ever, in my opinion, is Charlotte’s Web. “Where’s Papa going with that axe?” says eight-year old Fern in the opening to the tale of Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider who helps save him. Even if you don’t know the book, you may recognise a Templeton, the rat who never does anything for anybody unless there is something in it for him.
You don’t agree with me about Charlotte’s Web? “That’s the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard,” I will reply, quoting Fern.
4 OK, fine. Maybe you prefer The Wind in the Willows, with Ratty, Mole, Badger, and Mr Toad? As you see, I loved this book to pieces as well.
5 The Essential Shankly isn’t a matter of life and death, unless you’re a Liverpool fan, in which case it’s far more important than that. Football books and biographies make great Christmas gifts, and the wit and wisdom of Bill Shankly come in handy on so many occasions, including Merseyside derbies and pub quizzes. Also useful for those who rarely do housework. Shankly used to clean the oven whenever his team lost. To be fair, that wasn’t very often.
6 The long read. This is the sixth edition, dated 1872 – newer versions are available. At 403 pages densely crammed with text, not counting the extensive glossary, Origin of Species is probably not for everyone on your list. But I can imagine an awkward teenager getting stuck into it to avoid social interaction over the Christmas period.
Go on. Books make perfect Christmas gifts, and your local bookshop is brimming with great ideas.
What are the favourite books you’ve received as presents? I’d love to hear from you.