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Best books for Christmas

Published: 10:45AM Thursday December 20, 2012

  • Check out our Christmas book gift guide

Struggling with gift ideas for your nearest and dearest? Here’s our pick of the best books to pop into their Christmas stockings this year.

For the fashionably minded in your life there’s Home Sewn (Penguin, RRP $45). In our fast-fashion world, the art of homemade fashion has sadly  dropped out of popularity in the last twenty years or so and Home Sewn takes a look back New Zealand’s proud tradition of fashionable sewing.  Home Sewn also profiles 10 leading New Zealand designers, including WORLD, Cybele, each of whom share a pattern from one of their stunning collections. It’s sure to inspire fashionistas to dig out the sewing machine!

Another big pick for fashion lovers is the hotly anticipated autobiography from Vogue Magazine creative director Grace Coddington. The breakout star of doco The September Issue, Grace Coddington revisits her past and her career in her new book Grace (Random House, RRP $49.99). With an attractive bright orange cover in homage to Coddington’s trademark flame red hair, the memoir takes us from her childhood in remote Wales, through her modelling career in the Swinging 60s and into her career as Fashion and Creative Director for Vogue.  It’s an intriguing peek into the fabulous fashion world from the 1960s through until today, with plenty of anecdotes from photo shoots and celebrity encounters from over 40 years in the fashion business.

A Life at Mudbrick (Random House, RRP $55) is a stunning gift for visitors who have ever fallen head over heels for one of Waiheke’s most popular vineyards and restaurants, Mudbrick Vineyard  and Restaurant.  Penned by co-founder, Robyn Jones, the book celebrates twenty years since Robyn and husband Nick Jones first decided to turn dusty Waiheke farmland into a working vineyard.  Part memoir, part gourmet cookbook, A Life at Mudbrick is beautifully illustrated with photographs of Mudbrick itself as well as the beautiful cuisine they produce.  A fascinating insight into the wine industry and the people responsible for running such a popular vineyard.

For fairy-tale lovers, young and old there’s the charmingly presented Grim Tales: For Young and Old (Penguin, RRP $50), by Philip Pullman.  The author of the Dark Materials trilogy turns his hand to the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, retelling some of the world’s most well-known stories such as “Snow White” and “Rapunzel”, as well as lesser known tales like “The Frog King” and “Twelve Brothers”.   But rather than a complete modern revision of the tales, Pullman works closely with the original text, merely adding context or improving the flow of the stories.  Grim Tales: For Young and Old is very much a tribute to the traditional fairy tale, ideal for literary lovers or to introduce young minds to the pre-Disney-fied stories of old.

Dads (and Mums) are sure to enjoy Rod Stewart’s recent autobiography simply titled ROD – The Autobiography (Random House, RRP $37.99). ROD is a no holds barred account, peppered with historic and personal pics, of one of rock’s true megastars. For more, get our full review here…  

For the wannabe MasterChef’s in your life, there are dozens delightful of cookbooks in stores now.  Our picks are The Engine Room Eatery  (Random House, RRP $70), a cookbook from one of Auckland’s most award-winning restaurants and Jamie Oliver’s latest release Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals  (Penguin, RRP $65).