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Literary Gifts

Whether your idea of the perfect Christmas is being curled up next to a fire, deeply engrossed in a story, or you're looking for the perfect present for your favourite avid reader, 2020 is a year like no other to seek refuge in a book. And while Blackwell’s, Oxford’s bookshops, have been closed during lockdown, the booksellers have been busy getting books out to readers and helping Oxford residents with their Christmas shopping. The Christmas Books Hotline (01865 792792), Click and Collect and Blackwell’s free Book Bike Delivery services have kept book lovers reading all throughout lockdown. At the front door of Blackwell’s Broad Street bookshop, customers can collect orders between 10am and 4pm, seven days a week.

While the bookshops have been closed to browsers, Blackwell’s booksellers have really missed sharing their top tips about brilliant new books with customers. We're delighted that they have shared their recommendations with us, for the best new books to give (or put on your own wish list) this Christmas...

12 Days of Christmas by Lara Hawthorne

‘The warmth of Yuletide has never been more required and this is the perfect book to get you or a loved one into the spirit.’ - Dave

How Zoologists Organize Things by David Bainbridge

How Zoologists Organize Things is an excellent book, replete with an abundance of visually stunning taxonomic charts and drawings. I have pored over it for hours, as fascinated in the zoologists’ Herculean task of classification, as they have been down the centuries in the huge variety of animal life on our planet.' - Charlie

Secret Britain by Mary-Ann Ochota

'A scintillating exploration of Britain's heritage, enhanced by stunning photographs of the fascinating archaeology on our doorstep. In a time of restricted travel, this book is the epitome of arm-chair escapism.' - Hannah

The Shortest History of England by J M Hawes

‘A whirlwind tour through England’s past and its eternal issues with its neighbours. Incisive enough for the history boffins or a perfect introduction for those that should know more.’ - Dave

The Book Lover’s Quiz Book by Gary Wigglesworth

‘Gary is the king of the literary quiz masters and was once a Blackwell’s bookseller. He has been posing header-scratchers for years and we’re delighted that this book will give you the chance to show off your bookish knowledge to friends and family. It is the perfect after-Christmas Lunch book this year.’ - Charlie

Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland

‘Lockdown is making things tough for the many wonderful bookshops around the country this Christmas. A beautifully illustrated travel book that will take you on a trip of discovery of some of the loveliest bookshops in Britain. Naturally, Blackwell’s features prominently!’ - Dave

Burning the Books by Richard Ovenden

‘The Librarian of the Bodleian has written this vital book about the erosion of knowledge and how information is being lost and destroyed even in this most data-driven age. If you weren’t already a huge admirer of librarians and they work they do, you will be after reading this fascinating book.’ - Charlie

The Book of Hopes edited by Katherine Rundell

‘Intended for children, the author and Oxford fellow Katherine Rundell called on fellow writers to pen contributions that had a sense of possibility. She was inundated with responses and this collection gives us all hope and wonder for the future. An escape from the gloom for everyone.’ - Charlie

Reynard the Fox by Anne Louise Avery

‘A handsome and fantastic new book written by Anne Louise Avery. A lively retelling of the Reynard stories first written down in the Thirteenth Century. There have been many treatments of this story since then, Anne Louise Avery’s version is based on Caxton’s own translation from Flemish, which she has augmented and expanded in her own wry style.’ - Lat

Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien

‘This stunning edition of the letters that Tolkien wrote to his own children as Father Christmas is really something rather special. Nothing can rival the spirit of Christmas like a letter from Father Christmas himself, especially when penned by an author with all the erudition and character of Tolkien. The letters are beautifully reproduced and wonderfully presented in this slipcase edition: a book of festive magic.’ - Charlie

Head to the Blackwell's website this Friday (27th November) for a 12-hour sale. They'll be announcing a new discount, on the hour every hour from 8am to 7pm - a great way to discover new authors! You can also find out more about Oxford's rich literary heritage in our Literary Oxford guide. Or venture outside and take Daily Info's own Literary Oxford walking Tour!

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