Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and – though I might be biased – what better gift can you get someone than a book?! Maybe gifts AS good, but not better.
So, here are some titles to be added to those growing reading lists that might make a lovely little treat on this special day. Whether you’re buying for someone else, or just for yourself! A day for love is all about celebrating the love of books – right? After all, it’s been a tough 12 months, so relax with these titles that are sure to create some great distraction!
The Butterfly Box by Santa Montefiore
Federica Campione adores her father. No matter that Ramon, a distinguished traveller and writer, spends months away from their home on the exotic Chilean coast; as soon as he's back, his daughter has eyes for no one but him. When he gives her a magical box from Peru she believes he will always be there for her. Devastated when her parents' marriage falls apart, Federica is forced to set up home in Cornwall with her mother - the butterfly box is the only part of her beloved father she is able to take with her to sustain her during painful times. Embraced by the eccentric Appleby family, she loses her heart to their son Sam, who barely notices the little girl until it is too late. As she grows to womanhood, Federica attempts to recapture that long-forgotten sense of security in the arms of the debonair Torquil Jensen. From the sanctuary of a seemingly perfect marriage, she embarks on a painful journey of self-discovery. It takes Federica years of heartbreak to escape her gilded cage and learn the true lesson of the butterfly box.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
Mermaid Moon by Susann Cokal
Blood calls to blood; charm calls to charm.
It is the way of the world.
Come close and tell us your dreams.
Sanna is a mermaid — but she is only half seavish. The night of her birth, a sea-witch cast a spell that made Sanna’s people, including her landish mother, forget how and where she was born. Now Sanna is sixteen and an outsider in the seavish matriarchy, and she is determined to find her mother and learn who she is. She apprentices herself to the witch to learn the magic of making and unmaking, and with a new pair of legs and a quest to complete for her teacher, she follows a clue that leads her ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands. There, as her fellow mermaids wait in the sea, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses thirsty for blood, a hardscrabble people hungry for miracles, and a baroness who will do anything to live forever.
Craftfulness by Arzu Tahsin and Rosemary Davison
Integrating mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and creativity research, Craftfulness offers a thought-provoking and surprising reconsideration of craft, and how making things with your hands can connect us to our deepest selves and improve our well-being and overall happiness.
We should get this out of the way: Craftfulness is not a “crafting book.” Rather, it is an investigation of the wisdom generations of men and women know to be true: that making things is a vital means of self-expression, self-realization, and self-help that sparks the mind, touches the soul, and rejuvenates the spirit.
Integrating mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and creativity research, Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin explore how the simple act of making something from scratch impacts mental well-being, and offer a brilliantly reasoned argument in favor of craft.
Happiness by Andy Cope
Happiness, calm and enlightenment need not be elusive concepts which we hear of in theory but are never able to capture. This funny, practical book by Andy Cope, the Dr. of Happiness, will show you how to transform your thinking, change gear and find a fresh new perspective that will leave you better focused on the things that matter, healthier and a great deal happier.
Uncommon Knowledge edited by Tom Standage
The world can be an amazing place if you know the right questions to ask:
How did carrots become orange? What's stopping us from having a four-day week? How can we remove all the broken bits of satellite from orbit? If everything is so terrible, why is the global suicide rate falling?
The keen minds of the Economist love to look beyond everyday appearances to find out what really makes things tick. In this latest collection of The Economist Explains, they have gathered together the juiciest fruits of their never-ending quest for answers. For an uncommonly interesting read, take a peek at some Uncommon Knowledge - and pass it on! The world only gets more amazing when discoveries are shared.
Creativity by John Cleese
We can all be more creative. John Cleese shows us how.
Creativity is usually regarded as a mysterious, rare gift that only a few possess. John Cleese begs to differ, and in this short, immensely practical and often very amusing guide he shows it's a skill that anyone can acquire. Drawing on his lifelong experience as a writer, he shares his insights into the nature of the creative process, and offers advice on how to get your own inventive juices flowing.
What do you need to do to get yourself in the right frame of mind? When do you know that you've come up with something that might be worth pursuing? What do you do if you think you've hit a brick wall?
Not only does he explain the way your mind works as you search for inspiration, he also shows that, regardless of the task you've set yourself, you can learn to be better at coming up with a promising idea, refining it and knowing when you're ready to act on it.
We can all unlock new reserves of creativity within ourselves. John Cleese shows us how.