- What's Christmas without curling up with a good book after dinner? From stocking stuffers to beautiful coffee table creations, we've narrowed down this season's picks to find everyone a fabulous festive read. (All books available at Indigo and Chapters stores)
Ever attempted to make craft cake pops, but created a gooey mess on a stick? Enter Cake Pop supremacy Bakerella, turning cake catastrophes into tasty and edible wreaths, stockings, gingerbread houses and much more. As well as sharing the skills to make and decorate them like a professional, she's also got tips for displaying, gifting, boxing and shipping them too. Go forth and create!
Cake Pops Holiday, Angie Bakerella, Chronicle Books, $16.95. (Courtesy of Indigo)
Heroine Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City. Falling in love with its sassiness, shopping and movie palaces, her dreams are soured when she moves in with Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of Creepy Crawlies. Soon she's in the thick of a murder investigation and harbouring a mysterious secret.
The Diviners, Libba Bray; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $21.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- HIGH ACHIEVER
Gain control of your life and destiny by mining the biographies of great historical figures for clues as to how they became successful. From how middling schoolboy and underachieving second son Charles Darwin became one of the greatest naturalists in the world, to the choices that helped Mozart become one of the greatest composers ever known, we'll discover the secret to success is already within us.
Mastery, Robert Greene, Viking Adult, $31. (Courtesy of Indigo)
One of the best things about being on the road is getting a bellyful of tasty, local cuisine. In this book, star of Food Network show You Gotta Eat Here! John Catucci battles to find the most delicious, mouth-watering and over-the-top comfort food in Canada. From greasy joints to legendary eateries, he tries them all and shares fascinating stories, colour photographs and 125 recipes. Perhaps not one for straight after Christmas dinner!
You Gotta Eat Here, John Catucci, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, $29.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
Much as we love receiving Christmas sweaters and socks, we'd have preferred a private island and our own fleet of airplanes, right? Dream on with Richard Branson, one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world, who's handing out his advice, experiences and insights. He'll teach you to be more innovative, to lead by listening, to enjoy your work and much more. For the record, Branson never went to business school â€“ swearing by breaking the rules and rewriting them himself.
Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School, Richard Branson, Portfolio Trade, $17. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- YOUNG CHILD (3-5)
Curious Julie is an expert at finding hidden Christmas presents, but this year, her efforts have come to nothing. Worried she's getting nothing at all, her Christmas Eve investigation takes her to a mysterious box on the rooftop, which she gets trapped inside to give her family a huge surprise on Christmas day.
Finding Christmas, Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Scholastic Canada Ltd, $19.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
What ticked Rick Mercer off as he journeyed across Canada? Find out in his latest publication of funny rants with photos, snatched dialogue, plus three of his brilliantly written, previously unpublished pieces. Expect political satire and attacks on Canadian drivers that will make you almost as angry as Rick and, hopefully, doubled up in laughter.
A Nation Worth Ranting About: Ricker Mercer Report From Across Canada, Rick Mercer, Doubleday Canada, $29.95. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- KIDS (6-12)
When a mysterious boy with blue skin is washed up on the shore, Thea Stilton makes an instant friend and tries to work out who he is. Thus follows an exciting journey across the world to hunt for clues about his origin, where it's discovered he's the prince of the underworld of Atlantis. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to get home, not to mention the small problem of an evil rodent on his heels. Let's hope Thea can get him home safely.
Thea Stilton Special Edition: The Journey to Atlantis, Thea Stilton, Scholastic Inc, $16.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
This isn't so much a festive tale, as one of rock 'n roll, drugs and craziness. Townshend's journey begins in west London with his eccentric guardian/grandmother. From suffering displacement and abuse while his parents lived the early post-war rock 'n roll lifestyle, he formed a high school band, travelled the world and earned fame and fortune, while experiencing drug-ridden hotel rooms, amazing tours and an arrest and acquittal on child pornography charges and forming an amazing musical catalogue.
Who I Am: A Memoir, Peter Townshend, Harpercollins Publishers, $33.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
You might not be able to afford anything for yourself or have sex ever again â€“ according to the authors â€“ but you'll still be able to raise an awesome kid, thanks to the 'Bro Code'. From choosing a baby name that won't get your kid stuffed into a high school locker to hiring a smokin' hot nanny, Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn have got you covered.
Bro Code for Parents: What to Expect When You're Awesome, Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn, Touchstone, $16.99. (Courtesy of Indigo)
Long beloved by followers of her food blog, mom and photographer Deb Perelman has appeared from cyber space to help home cooks everywhere spice up their cuisine. Specializing in stepped-up comfort foods, Perelman shares winter stews, apple cakes and more than 100 recipes for accessible yet scrumptious success.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman, Random House, $35. (Courtesy of Indigo)
Fabulous for relatives with an interest in war and world leaders, The Last Lion picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister. It explores how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defence, compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins and personified the â€śnever surrenderâ€ť ethos that helped win the war. This book was 20 years in the making and introduces us to a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect and an irresistible will to action.
The Last Lion, William Manchester and Paul Reid, Little, Brown and Company, $44. (Courtesy of Indigo)
In her own words, she's famous for her brother-in-law and her bottom. Yet Pippa Middleton â€“ sister of the Duchess of Cambridge and she of much photographed social life â€“ has found a talent in party planning. Her experience with the family's Party Pieces business, as well as recent work for London-based events company Table Talk, led to her penning top tips for entertaining, seasonal recipes and anecdotes from her childhood. Expect creations for Halloween and autumn, savoury treats and creative outdoor games.
Celebrate, Pippa Middleton, Michael Joseph, $40. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- BOOK CLUB JUNKIE
To avoid boredom during chemotherapy, cancer patient Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will make a pact to read books and share their thoughts through her treatments. From The Painted Veil to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Father's Tears to Daily Strength for Daily Needs, dissecting the books creates a touching connection between a remarkable woman whose life is coming to a close and a young man growing closer to his mother.
The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe, Knopf Canada, $29.95. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- SPORTS FAN
It was the series of a century, spawned the greatest goal ever scored and fuelled the passion of hockey in our hearts and minds. Though it happened more than 40 years ago, the hockey showdown between Canada and the Soviet Union is still etched in our memories. Now, there's a book with in-depth interviews of every surviving player, a cache of colour photographs and the most detailed and exciting picture of the series yet.
Team Canada 1972: The Official 40th Anniversary Celebration Of The Summit Series, Andrew Podnieks, McClelland & Stewart, $45. (Courtesy of Indigo)
His death in 2010 left a gaping hole in the fashion world, yet the vision of Lee Alexander McQueen will live on for decades to come. Anne Deniau was the only photographer allowed backstage by McQueen for 13 years, and captured his legacy of visionary aesthetics, emotional power, extraordinary craft and provocative catwalk shows. Her pictures capture his collaborations with fashion stars such as Sarah Burton â€“ who designed Kate Middleton's wedding dress -- milliner Philip Treacy, who created 'that' hat for Princess Beatrice, jewelry designer Shaun Leane and model Kate Moss.
Love Looks Not With The Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen, Anne Deniau, Abrams, $86. (Courtesy of Indigo)
- FICTION LOVER
There's been much ado about Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling's first foray into adult fiction. The result, The Casual Vacancy, is a big novel featuring a small town. There's lots of fighting, with the rich at war with the poor, teenagers spatting with parents, wives warring with husbands and teachers bickering with pupils. But you ain't seen nothing yet! When a popular parish councillor passes away, the empty seat becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has seen.
The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling, Little, Brown And Company, $36.99 (Courtesy of Indigo)
- FILM BUFF
You won't see Daniel Craig parachuting out of a helicopter with the Queen, but this lavish film-by-film guide boasts a gallery of rare and sought-after posters, leaving us shaken not stirred. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Bond movies, plus the release of new film Skyfall, it's got unused concept artwork, unique teasers and lobby cards from virtually every country where the Bond movies have screened.
James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters, Dorling Kindersley, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, $55. (Courtesy of Indigo)