A book is a foolproof gift for most people at Christmas – if you love to read, you can never be disappointed when you received a thoughtfully chosen new book. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve rounded up our favoutite, exceedingly gift-able, books by local authors.
Dipping into Somerset and Wiltshire
IF you love Somerset, or know someone who does, Deepest Somerset, by journalists Gay Pirrie-Weir and Fanny Charles, would be the perfect Christmas present. It’s packed full of fascinating facts and gorgeous photographs. And your gift also helps local charities – the proceeds of Deepest Somerset will be shared between the Children’s Hospice South West, the Farming Community Network and Somerset Community Foundation. Somerset is the third and final book in the Deepest series, following Deepest Dorset, (published in 2016 and now sold out), and Deepest Wiltshire, which is supporting Wiltshire Community Foundation, with
donations also to Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the military charity SSAFA.
Scandals and innocents
The aim of the Deepest series is to go beyond the familiar features – whether it’s Lulworth Cove or the Cerne Giant in Dorset, Stonehenge in Wiltshire or Cheddar Gorge and the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset to reveal more about the history, culture, and lives of the people who live in these beautiful counties.
In Wiltshire, the authors discovered the stories of the real Winnie the Pooh, the scandalous Lady Meux and a 19 year old boy hung for a crime he didn’t commit, whose tomb at Trowbridge is a place of pilgrimage for anyone interested in the early history of trade unionism.
Prince Charles’ ’wonderful book’
Somerset has a rich food and drink heritage. Chef Philippa Davis from Shaftesbury, who has created recipes with local ingredients for all three Deepest books, went to Porlock to learn about – and taste – Porlock Oysters. Fanny Charles spent a day with one of the world’s great cheese-makers, George Keen, at Wincanton, to learn about cheddaring and how his family has been making this traditional, clothbound, unpasteurised, farmhouse Cheddar for more than 100 years. Gay Pirrie-Weir talked to Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis about his lifelong Methodism. They all tasted a range of artisan ciders and heard from cider-maker Julian Temperley about his historic victory over the EU to be allowed to call his great creation Somerset Cider Brandy.
In the introduction to what he calls “this wonderful book,” Prince Charles writes about the connection between people and the land, and “the profound cultural role” that farming plays. He contrasts it
with the “industrial production process which severs us, not just from the source of our food, but from the sacred and cultural aspects of a community’s precious sense of place.”
Contributors to Deepest Somerset include Sir Cameron Mackintosh and National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls, while Wiltshire contributors range from the president of the NFU to Time Team star, archaeologist Phil Harding.
Deepest Somerset and Deepest Wiltshire, both £25; for more information ring 01963 32525 or visit
Regular readers cannot fail to have noticed that in addition to his regular allotment column, Barry Cuff’s name frequently appears beside historical black and white images of Dorset. Barry is a collector, and has amassed the largest collection of historical Dorset postcards. David Burnett, the author, has worked with Barry to select the right images to illustrate the county’s towns.
Lost Dorset – the towns is a backwards glance at Dorset’s towns through the period covered by the postcards – on the coast, inland market towns, or the scattered heathland settlements that have since grown into some of the county’s largest communities. Few of the 375 postcards chosen for this book have been published before, many are extremely rare, and they combine to form a unique portrait of urban Dorset between the invention of the postcard in 1869 until just after the First World War, a period of extraordinary change.
Local towns included in the book:
Blandford • Dorchester • Gillingham • Shaftesbury • Sherborne • Stalbridge • Sturminster Newton • Verwood • Wimborne
In addition to being an utterly perfect gift for any gardener or plant lover, this bestseller and Waterstones Book of the Year Shortlist title made our round up because Jonathan Drori and his wife, novelist Tracy Chevalier, live in the Piddle Valley in North Dorset.
In his follow-up to the bestselling Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori has created an inspirational and beautifully illustrated book that tells the stories of 80 plants from around the globe. He skilfully brings to life the science of plants by revealing how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish ‘moss’ of Louisiana, each of these stories is full of surprises. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilizations to flourish.
With a colourful cast of characters all brought to life by illustrator Lucille Clerc, this is a botanical
journey of beauty and brilliance.
In this remarkable new collection of photographs, renowned portrait photographer Lucy Sewill turns her lens to man’s best friend and the bond that they have with some of the nation’s favourite celebrities.
Lucy lives near Dorchester with her family, and you can see one of the images from this book in this month’s Random19 – that of Hermione Norris with Ophelia, her Great Dane.
Lucy’s intimate portraits give the reader a glimpse of some remarkable, and previously unseen, relationships between some well-known faces and their favourite pets. Among the celebrities Lucy has photographed are
BBC Radio DJ Sara Cox and her dog Dolly; Spandau Ballet musician and actor Gary Kemp and his dog Piper and BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin and her dog Waffle.
“It’s not about the celebrities at all” says Lucy “you have squeaky toys, and it’s all about the dog.”
The result is a revealing series of photographs
Sturminster Newton resident Nahla Summers spent ten years having some remarkable adventures – and this is the book whoch chronicles her journey.
Have you ever wanted to know how to achieve your goals? Live your dream? Understand the meaning of it all? Do you want to change the inner chatter in your mind that stops you from your fullest living life?
Nahla Summers will take you on a journey of resilience, purpose, facing fears and taking the time to stop and stare. From a place of deep sorrow, Nahla transformed her life by travelling 8,000 miles raising nearly 250,000 of kindness.
Nahla has cycled 3000 miles across America, walked 500 miles from South to North England, and completed a World Record breaking, 5000-mile journey on a stand-up bike through every city in the UK. Why? Because she is driven by a message and a community that is so much bigger than her. The message is simple, if happiness is the goal we seek, then kindness is the action that will get us there.