Independent booksellers have chosen the 10 "less ordinary" books they think will become Christmas hits for 2013, with England’s 100 Best Views by Simon Jenkins (Profile) their top choice.
Over 200 independent booksellers nominated titles they think will have enduring appeal and make good Christmas presents, in a vote organised by the Booksellers Association.
Jenkins’ title, a £25 hardback, features photographs of the most stunning views in England, from the white cliffs of Dover to Hadrian’s Wall, while telling the stories and histories behind them.
Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (Little Brown) was selected to the second spot; meanwhile a book about the “rich cultural history” of badgers, entitled Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal by Patrick Barkham (Granta) was the third most popular title.
Also nominated as Christmas indie hits were several memoirs: Allan Ahlberg’s “enthralling childhood story” The Bucket: Memories of an Inattentive Childhood (Viking); Penelope Lively’s Ammonites & Leaping Fish (Fig Tree); Patrick Leigh Fermor's third volume of travel memoir Broken Road (Hodder); and An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield (Macmillan).
The Great War, a graphic novel about the First World War by Joe Sacco (Random House), Neil Gaiman's inventive tale of time travel for younger readers, Fortunately, the Milk… (Bloomsbury), and The Prime Minister’s Ironing Board and Other State Secrets, a trawl of declassified Whitehall documents by Adam McQueen (Little Brown), complete the list.
Alan Staton, head of marketing at the Booksellers Association, said: “Ammonites, goldfinches and badgers – where else you would find these quirky topics than at your local independent bookshop? Many people may not have heard to some of these choices - for example, The Bucket, The Prime Minister’s Ironing Board, Badgerlands and The Great War, which is an astonishing work of comic journalism – as they have not made it to the top of the bestseller lists.
"But hopefully they will give some inspiration to shoppers looking for intelligent Christmas gifts and something a little different and less predictable this year."
Staton added: "The books on this list are just some of the gems that bookshops are so brilliant at finding and championing.”