We all know how difficult it is to buy the right Christmas present for a family member or friend. You can't go wrong with a book. I spent twenty years in bookselling and publishing and although I am no longer involved, my love of books has not diminished. Nor, it seems, has anyone else's. We are buying more books than ever, and still prefer the paper version over eBooks. It seems that the decline in the number of independent bookshops has been halted too.
Below, I list a dozen books, all very different, which I have enjoyed reading this year. Some have even featured on my Iain Dale Book Club podcast.
I hope if you buy any (or all!) of these books, you will do so from your local independent bookshop.
My book of the year is Charles Moore's final volume of his trilogy of Margaret Thatcher biographies. This covers her final three years in power and then her declining years up until her death in 2013. (Listen to my interview with Charles Moore HERE).
Matt Stadlen is an LBC colleague and he's a keen ornithologist. I am not, yet I can recognise a great book when I see one. He's taken all the photos in this book and they are superb. His accompanying text really gets your ornithological juices flowing, and anyone would be pleased to receive this book as a gift. (Listen to my interview with Matt about the book HERE).
Gyles Brandreth has never written a boring book in his life. I have to admit that I cannot stand poetry, but even he got me interested when I did an hilarious interview with him about the book (listen HERE).
This is the second volume of Honourable Ladies and contains biographical essays about each of the 327 female MPs elected. It's a whopping 900 pages, but funnily enough it's also quite a good loo book!
This is a brilliant book by Emily Maitlis which lifts the curtain on how news works, or often doesn't. I did a brilliant interview with her back in April, which if you listen to, I doubt whether you can resist buying the book for yourself, let alone anyone else.
Asa Bennett interned at Total Politics ten years ago and now is a brilliant journalist and commentator for The Telegraph. This wonderful book looks at the classics from Ancient Rome and Athens and translates their lessons into modern day politics. It's also very funny. A great stocking filler if ever there was one.
Obviously the Big Book of Boris qualifies as the ultimate stocking filler book! Only just published it features quotes, gaffes and mishaps by our revered Prime Minister. Guaranteed to be enjoyed by every politico in the land!
When I interviewed Anita Anand I was ashamed at how little I knew about what happened at the Amritsar Massacre. She tells the story in a very dramatic way and at times you think you're reading a novel. (Listen to my interview with Anita HERE).
A delight of a book from the author of MAGGIE AND ME. I marveled at the research which must have gone into it, given it takes place in turn of the century South Africa - and I mean turn of the 19/20 century. (Listen to my interview with Damian Barr HERE).
The great thing about David Cameron's memoir is that it's authentically him. You can hear his voice oozing through the pages. You learn about his motivations and he's brutally honest about the things that went wrong. Guaranteed hit for any politico as a Christmas present!