Lena has been a music producer, writer and Personal Manager; a photographer and journalist and, over thirty years ago, got together with Caroline Scattergood to create the Caring & Sharing Trust to bring music, hope and love into the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families from throughout Northamptonshire.
Thinking of buying books as Christmas presents for kiddies? Well, tread carefully. Most children from the age of four onwards are only torn away from their phones by very personal favourites but these have probably already been ordered from Santa Claus via their nearest and dearest.
Tiny children might well appreciate an introduction to literature by enjoying the wonderful illustrations in much of the output of publishers Childs Play. Their series of board books (as there is the possibility that the delighted recipient might tear them up if made of paper) are beautiful introductions to shapes, numbers, etc.
(Wild! Concepts series by Courtney Dicmas. Published by Childs Play £4.99 each). For those who are non-tearers I can recommend “The Very Long Sleep” by Polly Noakes which is a lovely little story and visually stunning (Published by Childs Play £5.99).
For older, intelligent children of all ages (including you and me) I heartily recommend something really different. “Myth-Busting Your Body” by Dr Sarah Schenker (Published by Andre Deutsch £16.99) is full of intriguing facts presented in a truly beautiful format. In the same series they have “Unbelievable Science Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind” by Colin Barras (Published by Andre Deutsch £20.00). This is full of really fascinating questions and answers. For instance, could a parasite be manipulating you right now? Did the atom bomb help save the elephant? Have we found the secret to eternal youth? These two books are only heavy in the undeniable fact that they would cost a fortune to send through the post! I am sure Andre Deutsch have good reason for clothing the innards in such weighty outers. Perhaps they could do a book about the reasons.
I noticed that both books are printed in Dubai although I cannot think of any reason whatsoever why Dubai would have such large quantities of board to dispose of in Great Britain.
Now, for people of all ages who might be difficult to buy for – may I introduce Fox Chapel Publishers who have the most exquisite range of adult colouring books. In front of me is “Beautiful Dreamer” drawn by the talented Krisa Bousquet (Design Originals £5.99). In fact, I would suggest that you buy this or one of the other books in this series for yourself and settle down peacefully with some coloured pencils and a glass of wine.
Finally, before I head off to start work on my Christmas pudding, let me recommend “What the Luck?” (Duckworth-Publishers £16.99) by Gary Smith. If you like books such as “Freakonomics” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” then you will really enjoy “What the Luck?” Gary Smith explains how luck has a direct bearing on everything from medicine to business, politics, sport and education.
Yet we constantly underestimate its importance. An insufficient appreciation of chance can wreak all kinds of mischief. Just look around the world today at politics onwards from the false assumptions on which we base our everyday lives from choosing a soul mate to just what can happen on electing a President!
Hopefully, as you close the volume on its last page you will thank the lucky moment you read this review! Have a happy Christmas and may Santa bring you all you desire!