If you're thinking of buying the 2009 Guinness Book of Records for someone this Christmas, don't. It's rubbish.
Okay, it's actually a great book and is a perfect Chrimbo gift but, as it comes out every year, why not try something different and buy a copy of Ripley's Believe it or not!
It is in the same format but looks at things that the Guinness tome leaves out, such as what happened to Einstein's brain when he died; the 42-year-old man in Canada with green blood; the guy who holds the world record for breaking wooden toilet seats with his head; the woman with a 93lb cyst; and how young gannets are fed so much fish and become so heavy that they have to fast for several days before they can leave the nest.
It tells you everything you could ever want to know about things you didn't even know existed (such as tortilla painting, swimming he Amazon, and the human Slinky) and has amazing photos from all over the world.
It will amuse, baffle and generate plenty of conversation!
Now that I have a degree of control over what books we stock in the shop, I have just received a copy of Pride of Baghdad, written by Brian K Vaughan and illustrated by Niko Henrichon.
I should point out that this is a graphic novel; comics aren't just for kids! I can give you a list of suggested titles, if you like, to prove this very point.
I first read it a while ago but thought I'd mention it here since it is one of the best examples of the genre.
I've always loved Vaughan's work and the artwork is superb;
Henrichon really brings to life the characters and their surroundings in a lavish style.
The story will touch both your heart and mind. It's based on the true story of some lions who escaped from a zoo in Iraq during the first Gulf War and, with echoes of Orwell's Animal Farm and Richard Adam's Watership Down (imagine The Lion King directed by Ridley Scott), is the book I would recommend to anyone looking for something a little different.