Independent Booksellers Reveal their Alternative Christmas Hits

Author Adrian Searle’s 101 Uses for a Dead Kindle published by Freight books is among the top five books to feature in a list of alternative Christmas book hits, as voted for by high-street booksellers across the UK. The dark and witty book breaks down what to do with your kindle when it reaches the end of its ‘all-too-finite’ life.

High-street booksellers, particularly independent bookshops, were asked to vote for titles which offer imaginative book-buyers an alternative to those already familiar to the bestseller list. 

The top pick, receiving the most votes, is the cleverly written Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language by Mark Forsyth. The bizarre and intriguing book takes extraordinary words from the English language arranged by the hour of the day. This title follows on from previous quirky surprise Christmas hits such as Schott’s Miscellany in 2002 and the more recent Am I Alone in Thinking? in 2009.

The non-fiction favourite and second most voted for title is the wise and insightful biography of the remarkable war hero and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor: An adventure carefully crafted by Artemis Cooper.

For a light-hearted and informative read, booksellers recommend Fi Cotter Craig and Zebedee Helm’s The Middle Class ABC, packed with brilliant jokes and whacky illustrations about contemporary British middle class life.

The list doesn’t fall short of some festive cheer and merriment with Carol-Ann Duffy’s re-imagining of the classic Christmas Carol by the Poet Laureate, Wenceslas: A Christmas Poem, featuring in fourth place.

President of The Booksellers Association and Co-owner of Jaffe & Neale, Patrick Neale, said: “These out of the ordinary off beat titles were nominated during the Bookseller Association’s annual conference in September, which brought together around 200 booksellers. These were carefully selected with the imaginative book buyer in mind, who may be looking for something a little different to bestseller books. From the most bizarre and obscure titles to festive poems and biographical treats, these otherwise undiscovered titles offer a great selection of Christmas gifts for the whole family.”

Other off-the-wall books on stamps, maps and paper also feature in the top ten. These include, First Class, by Chris West, a quirky history of Britain told through iconic postage stamps, On the Map by Simon Garfield, a must for map-lovers which explains why the world looks the way it does, and the much talked about Paper:An Elegy by Ian Sansom which celebrates paper in all its glory.

The Hans Christian Andersen classic, Fir Tree, stunningly packaged by the acclaimed Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka makes the cut for its visually captivating and intricate drawings. Rounding off the top ten is the windswept, rain-soaked, sun-kissed, snow-capped guide to the British weather, Bring Me Sunshine by Charlie Connelly.

Independent Booksellers Alternative Christmas Hits

  • Horologicon, Mark Forsyth (Icon)
  • Patrick Leigh Fermor, Artemis Cooper (John Murray)
  • The Middle Class ABC Fi Cotter Craig and Zebedee Helm (John Murray)
  • Wenceslas, Carol-Ann Duffy (Picador)
  • 101 Uses for a Dead Kindle, Adrian Searle (Freight Books)
  • First Class, Chris West (Square Peg)
  • On the Map, Simon Garfield (Profile)
  • Paper: An Elegy, Ian Sansom (Fourth Estate)
  • Fir Tree, Sanna Annukka (Hutchinson)
  • Bring Me Sunshine, Charlie Connelly (Little Brown)