I hope you were inspired by Part 1 of the Booklover's Christmas Guide for gift and humour books. Here is Part 2, which will hopefully provide a few more present ideas for your family and friends.
Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops and More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops, Jen Campbell
You don't have to work in a bookshop or library to appreciate the oddities that feature in these two books - I'm sure any retail job would have its fair share of these types of customers - but it definitely does make you feel better knowing that the experiences you have had at work are not just isolated to your shop, or indeed your country.
The author of these books works at an antiquarian bookshop in London, and has compiled a collection of some of the weird things she has heard come from the mouths of her customers over the years, regarding books, authors, and the industry in general. She has recorded some absolute shockers, including people who refuse to believe that they have a book title wrong, even though they have the evidence right in front of them, and people who complain because the bookshop doesn't also sell knitting needles, gardening supplies or kitchenware so that they can follow the patterns, weed their plants, or make the recipes that feature in the books they are perusing. She even had someone ask if Hugh Grant was hiding in the back room because they thought the shop was the same one from the film Notting Hill.
But she's also had some cute kid experiences, like one little boy who told her he wanted to be a book ninja, and a little girl who was looking for the cupboard door to Narnia as she wandered through the bookshop. These books are very funny. You will be absolutely amazed at some of the things that people have said, and you're guaranteed to either laugh out loud or exclaim, 'oh, what?!' as you read through them.
Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves, Jennifer S. Holland
Sometimes when you watch the nightly news they'll feature a feel-good story about a couple of unlikely animals pairing up to tough out the world. These pairings are usually made up of a domestic animal (such as a cat or dog) with a creature from the wild, or a predator with what would ordinarily be its prey. Now imagine all these curious stories in a book format and you'll have Unlikely Friendships, a collaboration of 47 animal stories from all over the world.
Collected and put together by Jennifer S. Holland, a senior writer for National Geographic magazine, this book features remarkable tales of animal 'friendship' and camaraderie, and is the perfect gift for animal lovers or people who believe that friendships and mutual respect can transcend human boundaries and also be found in the animal kingdom.
In much the same vein as its predecessor, Unlikely Loves, the sequel to the first book also covers cute pairing stories of the animal persuasion. The book is split into three parts- 'Who loves you, baby?', 'Eat, play, love', and 'Modern family love', delving into the different types of love that can be shared. Of course there are bound to be animal behaviourists who disagree with the themes in these two books. They cite that animals are incapable of such human emotions and that we are merely trying to project our own views on the animals' behaviour, and the author understands this. But she is also adamant, as are the people who shared these stories, that some form of animal love does exist. If you, too, believe that, you'll very likely find proof of that in these pages.
Much Loved, photographs by Mark Nixon
We all have our favourite toy, one that has stood the test of time and lived in our hearts forever (almost since our births in some cases). They're unique, and old, and you can no longer buy their kin in the shops. They're not some fad or plastic bulk-manufactured toy; no, these are the real deal. And like many things that have been well-loved, it definitely shows.
Photographer Mark Nixon set out to find a collection of much-loved teddy bears and toys (hence the name of this book) and has shared them with a book-loving audience. Some of the toys that feature in this book are cringe-worthy - extremely mangled and dirty, missing limbs and fur - but you can tell that all are dearly loved. There is also a biography of each of the toys on the opposing page, so you can learn their histories.
Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) has even allowed Teddy's portrait to feature in the pages of this book, which only goes to prove that the enduring love for some soft toys transcends even the boundaries of fame and fortune.