#HallamBigRead19 – 9 Books to Gift this Holiday Season (Or Treat Yourself To)

Deck the halls and shelves this holiday season by buying a loved one (or yourself) a novel. As avid readers we know there is way too much choice of what novels to buy this December, so to make it easier for you our Hallam Library team and a couple of others have chosen 9 books that are sure to make the perfect gift for yourself or someone else. We’ve also included a few that are available to borrow from the library so you have plenty to binge read over your winter break.

Image result for my name is leon front cover

Photo Source: Amazon.co.uk

My Name is Leon

Author: Kit De Waal 

#HallamBigRead19’s book My Name is Leon is about a young boy in care in the 1980s. It is told from Leon’s perspective and follows him through foster homes and his day to day life after his mother becomes unable to help herself let alone her sons. It is heartwarming but not without a few tears.

This book is available for free on Adsetts level 4 as part of #HallamBigRead19. Click here to find out more about the book & the Big Read events in 2020. 

Everything I Know About Love

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Dolly Alderton’s award winning book. Photo Source: Ebay

Author: Dolly Alderton 

An award winning book about growing up and all the relationships and friendships that come with it along the way. In this intimate reflection on her life Dolly Alderton covers everything from Rod Stewart themed house parties and falling in love to getting drunk and getting fired along with so many more perils that come with venturing into adulthood.

‘I have read this book three, maybe four times since buying it earlier this year. Its so easy to read, entertaining and relatable for most twenty somethings. Dolly’s brutally honest approach to dating, friendships and general life is what drew me in to reading her columns for The Sunday Times prior to her releasing this book’. – Branwyn Harris, Library Research, Learning & Teaching Intern 






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Lowborn by Kerry Hudson. Photo Source: Amazon.co.uk


Author: Kerry Hudson

The Guardian said that Lowborn is‘one of the most important books of the year’. Kerry Hudson‘s first non fiction book explores living in poverty in working class Britain. Thought provoking and heat breaking, it will make you re examine how others live in modern Britain.

Recommended by: Jo Webb, Head of Library Learning and Teaching Support.

Click here to borrow it from Adsetts Library.








The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky by Jemisin, N. K.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. Photo Source: BookRags

Author: N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky is the third fantasy novel in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series. It is based in a magical, dystopian world where humanity is segregated into different cities depending on what those above them believe that they are worth. This multi award winning novel could be described as a social commentary of the modern world with a mix of magic and the twist and turns of dystopian fiction.

Recommended by: Rupert Khan, Librarian

Book one of the Broken Earth series is available to borrow from Adsetts Library. Click here to reserve it.





Blood of Elves (GollanczF.): Sapkowski, Andrzej

Photo Source: AbeBooks.co.uk

Blood of Elves

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

The Blood Of Elves is the first novel in The Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. It is the fantasy sequel to The Witcher’s short story collection which includes; Sword of Destiny, The Last Wish and Time of Contempt. This New York Times best selling series also inspired international hit video game: The Witcher. The fantasy novel begins as war breaks out amongst humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves who have previously lived in peace for over a century. And the only good elf left is dead. Geralt of Rivia, known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the prophesied birth of a child who has the power to change the world: for good or evil.

Recommended by: Phillip Ashton, Librarian

All three comics are available from Adsetts Library. Reserve: Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3. 





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Photo Source: Penguin Random House

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Although it was published in 1991, it wasn’t until 2014 that Outlander premiered in America. Much like the TV Series that is available on Amazon Prime,  the fictional novel is focused on second world war era nurse Claire Rendall. After the ex combat nurse walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands, she disappears and finds herself in 1743 where she discovers adventure and romance with highland warrior Jamie Fraser. Outlander won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991 and is also one of the best selling book series of all time.

Recommended by: Julia King, Senior Librarian 

Click here to borrow it from Adsetts Library.



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Photo Source: Amazon.co.uk

The Iron Man

Author: Ted Hughes

A 1968 science fiction novel about a giant metal man who arrives in England and rains destruction on the countryside by eating farm equipment. He then befriends a small boy and together they defend the world from a dragon from outer space.

‘I had read books before this, but a big memory for me was the first book that I borrowed from the local library, took home and read. It was The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and, having reread it many times since, it is still one of the most important books in my life. I had picked it up for the cover art by Andrew Davidson. It is important to always judge a book by its cover. The story is incredibly powerful and it can be read as much more than a children’s book’ – Tom J Newell, Artist 

Borrow Iron Man by visiting the Library Gateway. 





Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

Werewolf of Fever Swamp.jpg

Photo Source: Wikipedia

Author: R.L. Stine 

At one point in time the Goosebumps’series sold 4 million books a month, so its no surprise that it was the best selling series of all time for several years. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp is the fourteenth book in the original Goosebumps’ series, The story follows Grady Tucker, a young boy who moves to Fever Swamp with his family. After multiple animals are killed, Grady’s father believes that his dog is the culprit. The suspense of this story is what got it featured on multiple bestseller lists including USA Today’s.

It really kickstarted my interest in horror stories, as well as sparking an obsession with reading the next book in the series, which has now led to a compulsion to constantly read books – Chris Sav, artist & illustrator. 

Click here to find out more about Chris Sav or click here to secure your free tickets to an Afternoon with Chris Sav on the 29th of January 2020.


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Photo Source: Amazon.co.uk

The Fry Chronicles

Author: Stephen Fry

The Fry Chronicles is the second autobiography by Stephen Fry, following on from his 1997 publication Moab is My Washpot. It begins after his 3 month prison stint for credit card fraud and covers his life story up to his 30th birthday in 1987, which he spends in his 6 bedroom house in Norfolk. In this time he went to university, rose to fame as a writer and performer as well as becoming a global success with his version of the musical Me and My Girl.

‘At times when I’ve not been feeling so good I’ve found other people to relate to in books and new ways of looking at things. When I was about 20 I read Stephen Fry’s autobiography and bought a scarf and a pipe’ – Brett Chapman, Filmmaker 






If you think we’re missing something from the library collection that you’re planning to read over the holidays you can suggest a purchase by clicking here!

Let us know what books you’d like to receive as a gift and your recommendations for #HallamBigRead20

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