We somehow made it into December without my mentioning the dreadful C-word. Do I get a prize?

Anyway, we can’t put it off any longer so here is my annual reminder that books make ideal Christmas presents.

Amazon has now introduced the option to send Kindle books as a gift in the UK. Look for the button on the right of the page for the book you are ordering.

That’s a convenient (and cheap!) way to buy gifts right up to Christmas Eve. I can see the Internet crashing on 24 December.

In the end, though, there is nothing quite like a paper book as a gift. For many people, including me, the convenience of e-books means that that’s where we do most of our reading these days, but paper is special. Paper books can be lent to friends or passed on when they’re finished with. They do, indeed, furnish a room.

Old textbooks remind us of our student years, an autographed volume of a special meeting. 

There is something personal about gifting a paper book. A paper book says that you want to share something you have enjoyed, or that you have thought about the interests and enthusiasms of your friend and sought out a book that matches them. The transfer of digital data from computer to computer does not, for some reason, carry the emotional resonance of the gift of a physical book. Paperback books make excellent Christmas presents and paperback books from less well known authors suggest you’ve given your gift more thought than just a quick check on the Best Sellers shelf.

All my novels are available in paperback as well as in e-book format, though Amazon can sometimes hide them away. If the paperback edition doesn’t show up, try adding “paperback” to your search. If all else fails, let me know about the problem (try mentioning it in the ‘Comments’ here) and I will track down the link.

There’s been a short burst of frenetic activity while I got the three John Williamson books republished over the summer. That didn’t involve much in the way of writing but there has been a lot of time spent trying to drum up interest in them. In fact, my latest effort came out today and if you are interested in my take on the importance of historical fiction in re-examining the Empire Project, can I point you to this article in Historia: https://www.historiamag.com/re-examining-history-of-empire/?

I’m delaying publication of the next in the James Burke series, Burke and the Pimpernel Affair, until January when everything might have calmed down a little. Until then, can I recommend The White Rajah as the ideal Christmas gift? It’s weighty enough to suggest that you are taking your literature seriously while still containing a fair quota of desperate battles and heroic deeds. And an orang-utan. It’s also the only one of my books to be available in hardback, so it will certainly look impressive when they open it.

If you want details of all my books (five about James Burke, three in the Williamson Papers and two contemporary urban fantasies) you can find them on this website: click on My books.

So there you are: your Christmas gift problems solved and still three weeks to go. Buy a book for yourself and give others to your friends. And keep a couple spare, for those last-minute gifts.  And remember, a book is for life, not just for Christmas.

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