Libreria’s Top 10 Stocking Fillers
Still not done your Christmas shopping? Don’t stress out, the team at London’s best bookshop have got you covered
Every week the team at Libreria, Second Home’s new bookshop, take to Instagram to review the best titles gracing their shelves. With Christmas just around the corner, we asked Paddy, Betsy and Jess to choose 10 books that they think would make perfect stocking fillers this year. From limited edition reprints of classics to small batches of hardbacks, these books are guaranteed to make a lasting impression on your loved ones.
1) Hate Mail by Mr Bingo
Mr Bingo sends elaborate abusive postcards to anyone who tweest him an address. You can expect a vintage view of Blackpool, which on the reverse reads ‘Dear Jude, you have a tiny brain’, or the Margate Harbour Arm accompanied with ‘Dear Jeremy, you are the Quality Street nobody wants.’ We long to be insulted by Mr Bingo and recommend for the stocking of someone who has a thick skin, too.
2) The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
We have a rainbow of novellas in the shop, brought out from Melville House publishers. Nikolai Leskov appears in lime green, Baudelaire in rosy pink and Gogol comes in lovely apricot. For great literature to jolly up a stocking, look no further. The only difficulty is choosing which…
3) Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig
Think of Soviet Union architecture and what might come to mind are brutalist edifices that adhere to strict form and design. Would you expect a bus stop to look more like a mosaiced curling snake or the scalloped edge of a concrete seashell? This lovely compact photographic essay exposes the human expression that defied totalitarian regimes and governments. The foreword is written by Jonathan Meades; you’ll be coming away from this book wiser and more enlightened.
4) Purple Hibicus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies
4th Estate have released a limited run of the Nigerian novelist’s collection in fantastically bright patterns. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies’ writing shines through the pages. If you’ve not read her before, start with Half a Yellow Sun, an epic of interwoven lives set against a backdrop of 60s Nigeria. It’s atmospheric, warm, difficult and uplifting; you’ll be recommending it for years. You will want to give this collection its own bookshelf.
5) Flappers and Philosophers by F.Scott Fitzgerald
These lush reprints of Fitzgerald’s writings will transport you back to the decadent jazz age. Not only are his most popular classics here, like ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Tender is the Night’, you can also find brilliant essays and short stories in ‘Flappers and Philosophers’. The book jackets by Coraline Bickford-Smith’s make these even more titles collectable.
6) Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Visual arts and writing are closely related in the work and life of Woolf. She was central to the Modernist art movement in London, her sister designed her first book jackets and the structure of her novels take on a movement and texture of abstract and impressionist art far more than the rules of literature. Fitting, then, that Woolf here is reprinted with these expressive covers. They are in square format, making you feel more engaged with the contents within. Small enough to be stocking-fillers, come in and see what titles we have in stock.
7) Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest novel is an epic coming of age story exploring contemporary Jewish-American identity and masculinity. It also questions how we think about home, homeland and home-going: what these terms really mean in a world full of uprooted people. Funny, clever, laconic and surprisingly kind, you will no doubt want your edition with the author’s signature — the man himself kindly dropped in to sign copies, leaving us all a little star-struck.
8) Iggy Pop Life Class by Jeremy Deller
The singer Iggy Pop posed for a life-drawing class organised by artist Jeremy Deller, this book is the result. Iggy appears here, beautiful and vulnerable, alongside a collection of essays which focus on the study of the human form throughout history. This book is fascinating and sincere, a beautiful object to own. We also have signed copies by Mr Deller.
9) 70s dinner Party by Anna Pallai
Anna Pallai delves through the archives of the cookbooks of the 70s. Something is vaguely touching about the persistent belief in aspic and the insistence of hollandaise sauce with every meal. After wincing at the photos and chuckling at comments, there are recipes for you to attempt at home. Buy for a parent who still talks fondly of prawn cocktails.
10) Grief is a Thing With Feathers by Max Porter
The ever obliging Max Porter, who has also guest curated a shelf for Libreria, kindly signed a stack of his beguiling debut. The story is of a father and two boys who struggle to get on with life after the tragic passing of the boys’ mother. Crow is a figure who watches, bullies and blesses them. Strange and sad, come get copies before they fly away.