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Christmas Gift Ideas

From Souvenir Press

We firmly believe that a book is just about the best gift you can get someone for Christmas. It won’t leave you square-eyed from staring at a screen, it won’t make you look fat, it won’t make you fat, and, best of all, it’s not another pair of socks. Hurrah!

So to make things easy for you, we’ve put together a list of our top gift ideas, no matter who you’re buying for.

Books for all!

The Musical Gift

Whether they’re David Bowie’s biggest fan, or simply enjoy spending more time with their guitar than with you, treat them to a musical gift this Christmas…

More Musical Reads

The Sporty Gift

New year’s resolution to get fitter? Need inspiration from some of the world’s biggest sports stars? Then look no further…

More Sporty Reads

The Boozy Gift

Get them Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails now, and they’ll have plenty of time to get some practice in before NYE!

More Boozy Reads

The Nature Gift

Perfect for bird-lovers, animal fans and green-fingered folk.

More Nature Reads

The Little Gift

Something small to make them smile.

More Little Reads

Our Favourites

And, just in case you need any more inspiration, from history to self-help, here are some of our favourite reads…

Click to go to the Souvenir Press website

Wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!


5 Rainy Day Reads

It might be the start of the summer holidays, but the weatherman certainly doesn’t think so. *Glances out window, sighs*

So, instead of wading through all the crowds trying to fill their day rain-proof attractions, why not pick up a great book? Here’s five of our favourite rainy day reads…

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

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Find yourself dreaming of exotic shores or sunnier climes? Head abroad (via your imagination) with Roberto Ampuero’s thrilling The Neruda CaseIn 1970s Chile Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, is close to death and senses the end of an era in Chilean politics. But there is one final secret he must resolve…you never know, perhaps thinking about all that sunshine will bring the sun out?

Want to know more about Roberto Ampuero? Check out one of our latest blog posts detailing Roberto’s speech at the Cervantes Institute in London.

Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph

Warning coverWho doesn’t enjoy a few laughs on a rainy Sunday? Voted Britain’s favourite humour poem, this declaration of defiance, so vividly and cleverly expressed , appeals to the rebel in all of us.

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me”

Simply Gluten Free by Rita Greer

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So it might not exactly be a novel, but a little rain is perfect for some experimental time in the kitchen. Ever thought of trying gluten free food? Well now’s your chance! Rita Greer’s Simply Gluten Free contains recipes for every occasion, whether you’re planning an enormous family dinner or simply spending an afternoon baking with the kids (the gingersnaps are divine).

The Practice by Barb Schmidt

The Practice cover

Weekends are for lie ins, catching up on life and doing the washing, right? Well, why not try something different this weekend… mindfulness? The rain might even come in handy – lovely, relaxing background noise. Specifically designed for those who live and lead busy lives, The Practice guides you through a set of practical tools that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, and there’s no time like the present to get started! The three-steps are:

1. Waking Up: Meditation – to set a peaceful tone for the day
2. Living Present: Sacred Mantra, Focussed Attention, Reading for Inspiration – designed to focus your mind on the moment and provide comfort and support
3. Letting Go: Reflection – a wind-down period to put the events of the day to rest

And, last but not least, one for the kids…

Puppy Dogs’ Tales by Cecil Aldin

Puppy Dogs Tales cover

Few people can fail to be charmed and cheered by Cecil Aldin’s mischievous puppies which first came to life on the walls of his children’s nursery, no matter how miserable the weather is outside your window.

Scamp, the mongrel; Poppy, so-called because of her red colouring and Snowball, the white terrier, were lovable rascals always looking for adventure and a stolen snack. Then there was Bill, the bob-tailed pup, who tugged at the heartstrings as he sought friendship but was scorned because of his truncated rear end.

Happy reading all!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Need some inspiration for Father’s Day this week? Fear not! SP are here to help with some of our favourite titles, so no matter what he’s into, we’ve got it covered.

For sports-mad dads…

The Golf Swing of the Future by Mindy Blake


Does your dad still dream of being the next Rory McIlroy? Help him to perfect his swing with Mindy Blake’s Golf Swing of the Future. A bestseller all over the world on its first publication, Mindy Blake’s love of the game shines through as he offers a deeper understanding of what golf is about and how that can be used to improve any golfer’s game.

*we can’t guarantee that your dad will be a professional golfer.

“A revolutionary but completely convincing method… I highly recommend it to all serious students of the game.”
‘Financial Times’

Muhammad Ali: The Birth of a Legend by Flip Schulke and Matt Schudel

Muhammad Ali cover

A collector’s piece for all sporting dads, the photographs in Flip Schulke’s Muhammad Ali: The Birth of a Legend show Ali at the start of his journey. Flip Schulke was more than a silent observer, he was a witness to the transformation of Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, and Schulke’s commentary on his photographs provide a penetrating insight into, arguably, the greatest athlete of the century.

“One of those great iconic photos, regardless of whether you’re interested in boxing or Muhammad Ali… One of the top three sporting photographs ever taken.

For music fans…

Bowie on Bowie by Sean Egan

Bowie on Bowie cover

In the closest thing to an autobiography that Bowie has come, Sean Egan has compiled Bowie’s most revealing interviews into a riveting commentary on 50 years of personas and styles, tracing each step from Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane to The Thin White Duke and into the elder statesman that Bowie has become.

“Here is the ultimate introduction to Rock’s most distinctive voice.”
Bowie Wonderworld

Meet The Beatles by Tony Barrow

Meet the Beatles front cover

The first book to be published with the Beatles own involvement, Meet The Beatles introduced the Beatles, in their own words, to the world. This special collector’s edition features rare photographs of the Beatles, many of which have not been reproduced elsewhere and was compiled by Tony Barrow, the man who coined the phrase ‘the Fab Four’. Guaranteed to make your dad think of ‘Yesterday’…

“A uniquely first-hand introduction to the Beatles as they were in 1963…A terrific book, crammed with facts and figures and brilliant photographs – nostalgia at its very finest.”
‘Books Monthly’

For Fiction lovers…

Bhowani Junction by John Masters

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Set in the wake of the partition of India, as the British prepare to withdraw from the newly independent country, Bhowani Junction captures the tensions and conflicts that accompanied the birth of modern India. In the last hectic days of the British Raj, Victoria has to choose between marrying a British Army officer or a Sikh, Ranjit, as she struggles to find her place in the new, independent India.

“One of the most unjustly neglected writers… a remarkable and accurate picture of the Empire and its aftermath, as well as magnificent storytelling.”
‘Evening Gazette’

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

neruda case

In 1970’s Chile, Pablo Neruda, the Nobel-prize winning poet, is close to death and he senses the end of an era in Chilean politics. But there is one final secret he must resolve. He recruits Cayetano Brulé, a young Cuban rogue, as his “own private Maigret” and lends Brulé the novels of Simenon as a crash course in the role of private detective. Brulé must travel across the world, through Neruda’s past and the political faiths he has espoused, retracing the poet’s life from Fidel Castro’s Cuba to Berlin, Mexico City to Bolivia….

A must have for any crime fiction fan.

 “Forget Poirot, Holmes or Marlowe…Ampuero gives his readers some fascinating glimpses of both Neruda and the world he lived in.”
‘The Spectator’

The Warriors by Sol Yurick


We can pretty much guarantee that your dad will have heard of the cult movie ‘The Warriors’, directed by Walter Hill and released in 1979 (go on, we dare you to ask!). Published in our Independent Voices collection, Sol Yurick’s The Warriors follows the Family, a New York gang who have to fight their way home after being accused of killing Cyrus, the leader of the city’s most powerful gang.

“The best novel of its kind I’ve read. An altogether perfect achievement. I’m sure that to many it will sound like sacrilege but I have to say that I think it a better novel than Lord of the Flies.”
Warren Miller

And finally, something to make him laugh…

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

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For anyone brought up on sexist, racist, sizeist and ethnocentrist reading matter, James Finn Garner’s stories have been purged of the influence of an insensitive cultural past to become fables for our times. From Snow White’s relationship with seven vertically challenged men, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandma and the cross-dressing wolf who set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, to the Emperor who was not naked but was endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle, at last, here is bedtime reading free from prejudice and discrimination to witches, giants, dwarves, goblins and fairies everywhere.

“Hillary and I have been enjoying (it)… it’s hilarious.”
Bill Clinton

Bum Fodder by Richard Smyth

Bum Fodder by Richard Smyth

And for those dads that enjoy toilet humour (there’s always one!), Richard Smyth’s Bum Fodder charts the absorbing history of the humble toilet roll. From its origins in Medieval China to the invention of the hi-tech Washlet, a combined cleansing and drying system that removes the need for paper altogether, Smyth has delved deep into the annals of literature to chart humanity’s pursuit of gentleness for the behind.

“The ultimate accessory for the loo: Richard Smyth’s fascinating tome about toilet paper that flushes out reams of intriguing facts.”

Happy Father’s Day to all! For more ideas, visit our website at

Humour: the Enemy of Political Correctness?

“You couldn’t make it up” Eric Morecambe’s running gag in the ‘Morecambe and Wise’ TV series would have been seriously challenged last week with the latest media Political Correctness stories. The BBC announced that it was advertising for a weather forecaster who is disabled, which appears to be mirroring the plotline of a recent episode of their hilarious W1A series, thus strengthening the view of many of its employees that the series is not actually a parody of what might go on, but a documentary of what does. An even fiercer media battle arose about Transworld’s decision to tone down the cover of Jilly Cooper’s seminal blockbuster Riders 30 years after it was first published. The cover, ‘which originally had a man’s hand resting intimately on the seat of a woman’s “jodhpurs” (The Times), has now been moved an inch or two higher up to rest on the rider’s “hip”’. Alison Flood’s blog rightly notes that the man’s riding crop has however got bigger in the meantime. These latest examples of the timeless march onwards and upwards of Political Correctness since we first published James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories in 1994 cheered us no end as they have just coincided with two more reprints in the 21st year of its publication, confirming that laughter is the best medicine against its creeping invasion of daily life. Of course we were even more chuffed to find Laurie Penny, whose columns in the New Statesman so enliven its content, confessing that in 1994 when she was nine years old and sitting at the table of her small suburban kitchen in Sussex, slopping Frosties into her mouth, she was reading our book, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, having been given it by friends as a joke. At that time, she points out that Politically Correct Bedtime Stories was her favourite book, and you could tell from the milk stains! Already at nine she had the awareness that in these stories

“Cinderella organises against low paid labour. Snow White is an activist for the rights of people of restricted growth. And the wolves are gentle, misunderstood carnivores who sometimes get to win. As I’m nine, I’ve never heard of political correctness before but it sounds good to me.”

and that’s just the start of a two-page essay that gives a very prescient account of the dangers and benefits of political awareness as practiced today, some of which are not funny at all! Her comments made us recall the difficult birth of book. In the USA where it originated, it was rescued from the slush pile of Macmillan by a young editor who not surprisingly has since become a powerful publisher and by now has sold 1 million copies there (we’re up to 400,000 with ours). Macmillan at the time were bought out by Simon & Schuster and in the changeover it was decided that book was a children’s book since the words ‘Bedtime Stories’ figured in the title. Though we don’t do children’s books, I couldn’t stop laughing reading it, and bought it immediately for our list. Though very popular with school kids, it is of course an adult book that is timeless. On its first publication, though it had some sniffy reviews from people such as David Baddiel and the ex-MP Austin Mitchell, who didn’t find it funny, but once Libby Purves headlined, ‘Witches have human feelings too’ for a long feature on it in The Times, commended it as

“…One of those works which cleave an author instantly to your heart…It is beautiful. It demolishes, in few but elegant words, a dozen kinds of silliness. It is better than I can possibly convey.”

it found its very large and receptive audience, which continues to grow as Political Correctness does. At the 20th anniversary of the publication the author added a new story about the ugly duckling that was judged on its personal merits and not physical appearance and at the present rate he will probably have to add another couple to the book on its 25th anniversary now that so many more will have qualified for Eric Morecambe’s immortal words.

from Souvenir’s Ernest Hecht

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2014 cover of James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (ISBN:9780285640412).

#SPgiveaway – Souvenir Press Celebrates World Book Day 2015

As we all know, it was World Book Day yesterday, and to live up to our independent name, we decided to do something a little bit different…


Lucky visitors to SP HQ were treated to free books of their own choice in our World Book Day giveaway on Thursday.

Our marketing team, Amy and Claire, curated the list of books from a variety of different genres, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

A wide range of readers expressed their pleasure in receiving a book gift, either for themselves or their family. See below for some of the lucky readers!


Marco, Roberta and Thomas chose Cecil Aldin’s Puppy Dogs’ Tales for Marco’s daughter.


Jay opted for Sol Yurick’s The Warriors, after recognising the title from the 1979 cult movie.


Mike chose Jess Thom’s Welcome to Biscuitland for his teenage daughter.


As a visitor to the UK, Luca chose cartoonist Rupert Besley’s Terribly English.

See the full list of recipents on our Pinterest page

And Happy World Book Day!

Go gluten-free in 2015

Let’s face it, the gluten-free trend of 2014 isn’t going anywhere in 2015. Last year, “Free-From” foods started to appear in the first aisle (you know, the one by the door), #glutenfree trended on Twitter and most importantly, Dunkin’ Donuts finally managed to produce a gluten-free doughnut.

According to The Telegraph, bread and pasta sales suffered a decline in sales throughout 2014 (-8.9% and -4.2% respectively), whilst “Free-From” sales reached £0.5bn for the first time. Despite less than 2% of the population suffering from a food allergy, millions of people are turning to gluten-free diets to lose weight and get healthier.

The trend is big in America too, thanks to the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and socialite Nicole Richie, who both stick to a gluten-free diet. Worth around $2.6 billion, the market has grown by 36% since 2006. According to the Mail, even Girl Scouts are now making gluten-free cookies.

So, can eliminating gluten from your diet help you to a new feeling of health and well-being?

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Rita Greer, one of Britain’s leading health writers, has decades of practical experience in special diet cookery. Her book, Simply Gluten Free, offers groundbreaking ideas and exciting recipes, including 100% gluten-free flour blend bread, for anyone who is seeking a gluten-free diet.

Try a free sample recipe here.

Buy a copy of Simply Gluten Free here.

Prayers For 2014’s Top Baby Names

So England and Wales’ top baby names for 2014 were revealed this week…

For the second year running, ‘Oliver’ has topped the boy’s chart, whilst ‘Emily’ has taken the number one spot from ‘Olivia’ (from

After reporting that ‘Muhammad’ was the number one boy’s name in the country on Monday, confirmed that without its different variations, the name was actually 15th in the table. Sure enough, if the same was done for ‘Oliver’ (Ollie, Oli), or ‘Harry’ (Henry), then they would place above ‘Muhammad’.

As usual, cultural influences are playing a huge part in parents’ choices. ‘Eric’, the name of Simon Cowell’s son, is up by 284 points whilst ‘Elsa’, from the Disney movie ‘Frozen’ has entered the top 100 for the first time.

Naming and Blessing: A Book of Name Prayers by Reverend Andrew Tawn is a collection of personalised name prayers for more than 500 baby names, perfect for christening readings or for parents wanting to pray for their child at any stage in their life.

Naming And Blessing cover

In acknowledgement of 2014’s most popular baby names, we’ve posted the top two names in each category below, taken from Andrew Tawn’s Naming and Blessing: A Book of Name Prayers.

Emily (f) comes from the Latin for ‘eager’

Embrace Emily in your love and protection,

Maker, mender and miracle-worker God;

In all her learning, loving, living and giving

Let her be eager to know and do

Your will and your work.

Oliver is from the Scandinavian Olaf meaning ‘ancestor’

On all that Oliver is and does,

Lord, grant your love and blessing.

In all the challenges he undertakes

Various gifts bestow upon him.

Everyone he loves and all who love him,

Reach out, Lord, to bless them through him.

Buy a copy here.

Some reviews for Naming and Blessing: A Book of Name Prayers…

“A collection of prayers which can be used so very easily and readily by a much wider range of people than simply the committed Christian.”
Bishop David Hope, former Archbishop of York

“Throughout life we receive many gifts but our name is one of the first and most precious gifts we receive…The author uses the ancient device of the acrostic to create unique and thoughtful meditations on the names of the children he has baptised.”
Anthony Russell, former Bishop of Ely

“This is a gift with many layers, unpacking the meaning of individual names and weaving into each prayer a gentle yet profound affirmation of the connection of each unique individual to God.”
Angela Ashwin, author of ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’