Tag Archives: #bookolists

The Best Holiday Books for Christmas

It’s time to crank up the Buble, pop the Christmas mince pies in the oven and settle down with a great book to get you into the Christmas mood.

We have scoured the bookstores to bring you the ultimate Christmas Holiday Reading List to get those festive feelings flowing…sit back and enjoy!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

It’s a classic and it’s amazing! In this beautiful story Charles Dickens invents the modern concept of Christmas Spirit and offers one of the world’s most adapted and imitated stories. We know Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, not only as fictional characters, but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.







The Life Adventures of Santa Claus by L Frank Baum

Written by the author of The Wizard of Oz, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus tells the captivating story of Neclaus, a child found and raised in the magical Forest of Burzee by a wood-nymph. Among the imortals, Neclaus grows an innocent youth, until the day when he discovers the misery that rules the human world and hovers, like a shadow, above the heads of the children. Now, in the attempt of easing human suffering, he, with the help of his imortal friends, will have to face the forces of evil and of resignation, in order to bring joy to the children and teach them, for the sake of humanity, the importance of sharing and caring for each other.


Christmas Days:  12 stories and 12 Recipes for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson

The tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas is a tradition of celebration, sharing and giving. And what better way to do that than with a story? Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic. There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There is a Christmas Tree with mysterious powers. There’s a donkey with a golden nose and a tinsel baby that talks.There’s a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There’s a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside.There’s a haunted house and a disappearing train. There are Yule-tides and holly wreaths. Three Kings. And a merry little Christmas time.


Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkin

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place, How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room, How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden, How there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house! Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.


Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”).



The Gift by Cecelia Ahem

The Gift is a magical, fable-like Christmas story from Cecelia Ahern, the celebrated New York Times bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Thanks for the Memories. The story of Lou Suffern, a successful executive frustrated by the fact that he spends more time in the office than with his doting wife and two young children, The Gift is a tantalizing tale.








Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons visit the family home for Christmas. But the cantankerous patriarch has anything but a heartwarming family holiday in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults, while at the same time lavishing attention on his very attractive, long-lost granddaughter. Finally he announces that he is cutting off his sons’ allowances and changing his will to boot. So when the old man is found lying in a pool of blood on Christmas Eve, there is no lack of suspects. Intrepid Belgian detective Hercule Poirot suspends his holiday sorting through the myriad suspects and motives to find the truth behind the old man’s death.




The Christmas Card by Dilly Court

The perfect heartwarming romance for Christmas, rich in historical detail. She turned the picture of the Christmas card over with her frozen hands, a pretty picture of a family gathering at Yuletide. How different from her own life; stiff with cold on the icy cobbles, aching for shelter . . .

When her father dies leaving Alice and her ailing mother with only his debts, the two grieving women are forced to rely on the begrudging charity of cruel Aunt Jane. Determined to rid herself of an expensive responsibility, Jane tries forcing Alice into a monstrous marriage. And when Alice refuses, she is sent to work in a grand house to earn her keep. Finding herself in sole charge of the untameable and spoilt young miss of the house, Alice’s only ally is handsome Uncle Rory, who discovers that Alice has talents beyond those of a mere servant. But when someone sets out to destroy her reputation, Alice can only pray for a little of that Christmas spirit to save her from ruin . . .

Phew…that should rid you of any grinchy feelings! Happy Reading!

Ten Books that sum up 2015

It’s been another big and eventful year in publishing, as the wide array of year-end “Best of” lists reminds us (Publishers Weekly magazine alone offers 15 different Top 10 lists!)  Here at Booko, we have enjoyed so many wonderful, varied, worthy, thought-provoking books that we can’t decide on ten “best” books.  Instead, we present to you 10 books that we feel represent the year that was 2015…

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman is probably the most highly anticipated book of 2015.  Billed as a recently-discovered companion to To Kill a Mockingbird – one of the best-loved and most respected novels in English – its mere existence seems astonishing and adds to its mystique.  As more details emerge ahead of publication, controversy grows – about the quality of the writing, the surprisingly racist attitudes within, and about whether it should have been published at all. Go Set a Watchman is now considered an earlier version of To Kill a Mockingbird rather than a sequel, offering fascinating glimpses of the development process for To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as Harper Lee’s emerging talent.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Perhaps it’s the ongoing popularity of minimalist home decor; or perhaps it’s the promise of orderliness and calm in an increasingly messed-up world – whatever the reason, Marie Kondo’s guide to tidying-up and decluttering really hit a nerve with readers worldwide.  What makes her philosophy so alluring is the idea that we should only keep items that “spark joy” – and that sparking joy is a criterion applicable to other aspects of our lives.




The Official A Game of Thrones Colouring Book by George R. R. Martin

Adult colouring books are arguably THE publishing phenomenon of 2015.  Since Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden brought adult colouring into the mainstream, the genre has evolved and diversified. There are now, coming full-circle, mindful colouring for children, and even a colouring parody.  This Game of Thrones Colouring Book exemplifies new wave colouring-in that entices customers with pop cultural themes, including Harry Potter and Star Wars.


The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

2015 was a bittersweet year for Sir Terry Pratchett’s fans – he died, too soon, in March this year; but he also left one last treat – a manuscript, now published as The Shepherd’s Crown.  This 41st and final book in the Discworld series follows young Tiffany Aching (first appearing in The Wee Free Men) when she has to step-up and take on the big responsibility of defending her homeland.  The Shepherd’s Crown is a gentle novel, with underlying themes of kindness and tolerance, and has been highly praised as a “magnificent sign-off”.




A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Marlon James became the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker Prize, when A Brief History of Seven Killings was the unexpected but apparently unanimous choice amongst the Booker’s judges.  A visceral and ambitious work, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictional history about the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976, seen through the eyes of a large cast – gangsters, journalists, politicians, the CIA.  Marlon James’ win is a perfect example of the value of perseverance and self-belief, as he almost gave up writing after his first novel was rejected 78 times before eventual publication.




Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Another beloved author that we lost this year was Oliver Sacks, the neurologist best known for his collections of case studies including Awakenings  and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.  Gratitude is a posthumous book that brings together four essays first published in the New York Times.  In these bittersweet but ultimately uplifting essays, Oliver Sacks reflects upon old age, gratitude, his enduring sense of wonder about the natural world, and his impending death.  A fitting commemoration of a life well lived.



The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott by Andrew P Street

In September, Australia gained worldwide notoriety as the “Coup capital of the democratic world”.  With five prime ministers in as many years (three ousted by their own parties), it’s a case of “with colleagues like these, who needs enemies”.  Andrew P Street has documented the litany of gaffes, goofs and questionable captain’s calls that characterised the leadership of Australia’s most recent ex-prime minister, Tony Abbott.  It is funny, irreverent, and even a tad insightful about this turbulent time in Australian politics.



Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward

Deliciously Ella is zeitgeist-y on many fronts – it originates from a highly popular blog, it focusses on clean eating (plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, no refined sugars), and it has recipes featuring “superfoods” such as kale, coconut oil and quinoa.  What makes Ella Woodward’s book approachable is her enthusiastic, chatty tone, the simplicity of her recipes (she could barely cook when she started her blog three years ago), and how her philosophy arises from her experience in using dietary changes to manage a rare illness.  See for yourself why this book made history as the fastest-selling debut cookbook of all time in the UK.



After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

After Tomorrow is from 2013, but I have included it to illustrate the difficulties faced by Syrian refugees.  In After Tomorrow, award-winning author Gillian Cross weaves alternate history with dystopic themes into a frighteningly-real scenario.  Five major banks crash on “Armageddon Monday”, destroying the British economy.  Society quickly disintegrates, with food shortages and breakdown of law and order.  As teenage Matt’s family falls apart, his mother smuggles him, his brother and stepfather into France, where they are interned as refugees.  The fiction form of After Tomorrow encourages us to empathise with the plight of refugees by seeing their challenges through our eyes.



Trans by Juliet Jacques

Transgender awareness has been a hot topic of mainstream media this year, particularly surrounding Caitlyn Jenner’s coming-out as a trans woman.  Trans is one of several recent memoirs documenting the transgender experience.  It traces Juliet Jacques’ journey from her teenage and university years, to her social, medical and surgical transitions to become female in later adulthood.  Trans also offers cultural critique as Juliet Jacques considers her experience within the context of how the media portrays transgender narratives.  An honest, thoughtful and insightful book.

Making the most of Black Friday

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 8.15.09 amThe name Black Friday was first used over 50 years ago by Philadelphia police offers to describe the crazy shopping day after Thanksgiving when the city was overrun with traffic flocking to Christmas sales.   This year, Black Friday is predicted to generate sales of $50b in the US (matching last years sales). While it’s the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK, sales are expected to top £1b.

Black Friday is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 27 and a number of retailers have already started promoting their offers in preparation. If you want to do some research prior to the sale, visit this site.  (It’s a US site but can give you a comprehensive overview of who is selling what).

While it can be a great time to purchase a new TV or laptop, it’s also a smart way to do some of your Christmas shopping early. If you are thinking about purchasing books or DVD’s for gifts, take advantage of the special offers available during the Black Friday sale. Here’s how to make the most of the sale:

  1. Make a list of all the books and DVD’s you want to purchase using the Booko Lists functionality. Booko Lists is a great tool that can help you to plan and manage your purchases for a one off event (like Black Friday) or ongoing. We’ve written a handy blog on how to use Booko Lists or you can visit the page on our website.
  1. If you’ve ever missed a sale on an item you really want, you’ll know that it’s not a great feeling! The Booko Alerts feature can help you avoid that happening to your book purchases.  When the price drops on a nominated title, Booko will email you with the new best price.  Booko Alerts work for DVDs and eBooks as well as printed books.  It is easy to use, and will help you get more out of your money! We’ve written a blog on how to use Booko Alerts or you can visit our website.

Here’s to savvy shopping!


Using Booko Lists to plan your shopping

Last week we looked at how the Booko Alerts feature keeps you up-to-date on any sales or discounts.  This week we will look at the Lists function that Booko also offers.  Booko Lists is a great tool that can help you to plan and manage your purchases, whether it is for a one-off event (such as Christmas or a birthday), or for a longer period (such as managing an annual book budget for work).

1.  The Lists feature is available to registered Booko users.  To Sign In (or to Register), click on the “Sign In” button at the top left corner of the Booko Homepage
Lists Fig1


2.  At the next screen, Registered users can Log In by either entering their Booko password on the left hand side; or by connecting through a social network using an icon from the right hand side.  New users can also use the social network icons to login; or they can create a separate Booko account using the link on the bottom right.Lists Fig2


3. Booko takes you back to its homepage once you are signed in.  Click on “My Lists” at the top left corner of the page, which brings up a new box.  Click on “Manage Lists” at the bottom right of the box.
Lists Fig3


4.  At the Manage List screen, you can start to create your lists.  Simply enter a name into the box on the left, and click “Create new list”.  Name them as specifically or as generally as you like, such as “My wish list”, “Christmas gifts”, “Milly’s birthday”, “FY 15/16 professional development” etc.
Lists Fig4


5.  Once you have created your lists, they will appear under the My Lists heading on the left.  Now you can start populating those lists using the search box at the top of the page.
LIsts Fig5


6.  At the Results List, click on the Book Title or its Cover Image to go to its detailed record.
Lists Fig6


7.  At the detailed record, click on the “Add to a list” button directly below the Cover Image.  This brings up a box with a drop-down box showing all of your personal lists.  Select the preferred list, then click “Add”
LIsts Fig7


8.  Keep browsing and adding to your lists as required.
Lists Fig8aLists Fig8bLists Fig8c


9.  To see the items in each of your lists, click on “My Lists”, then click the “Manage Lists” button at the bottom right.  This box also shows the contents of the last list you have used.Lists Fig9


10.  At the Manage List screen, click on one of the lists on the left to see its contents.  You can change the quantity for each title using the “+” and “-“ buttons (changing a quantity from 1 to 0 deletes that item). To see detailed price comparisons for each item, click on the “View” button.  Booko also helps you find retailers that can supply all the books on a list – and compare their prices.
Other functions on this page include: click the “Export” button to download list data in a spreadsheet format; and click the “Delete” button at the top to remove an entire list.
Lists Fig10