The ultimate guide of new books to gift at Christmas

Looking for the perfect tome to give this Christmas? JENNIFER MCSHANE has one for everyone on your list.


Dark Beauty by Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen (Merrion Press, approx €35, out now) In Dark Beauty, which focuses on the minute detail in Harry Clarke’s extraordinary stained-glass windows, the authors spent many years photographing Clarke’s works in Ireland, England, America and Australia, and the resulting 500 photos mean all the obscured, beautiful, unnoticed details are there for readers to take in.

Paris: Fashion Flair by Marc- Antoine Coulon (Flammarion, approx €50, out now) Working for the biggest names in sewing and press around the world, the artist Marc-Antoine Coulon celebrates fashion and all things Parisian in this glamorous tome, the first devoted to his work. A perfect gift for those who adore the City of Lights.

Cats. Photographs 1942–2018 by Walter Chandoha (Taschen, approx €40, out now) Fashion has Helmut Newton, and cat photography has Walter Chandoha. In 1949, Chandoha’s encounter with a stray kitten blossomed into a career that elevated feline portraiture to an art form. This is a purr-fect tribute to a remarkable photographer, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 98.

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Selected Works by Vincent Peters (teNeues, approx €30, out now) One of the most sought-after portrait and fashion photographers, Vincent Peters’ photographs are defined by their precision and exquisite lighting – he captures details of even the most famous faces that others do not. And now, finally, a selection of his most remarkable prints are all gathered in one stunning collection.

Greco Disco: The Art and Design of Luke Edward Hall (teNeues, approx €50, out now) Artist and designer Luke Edward Hall has taken the design world by storm with his playful and nostalgic interiors, fabrics, furniture and stationery. This is a vibrant collection of his prints, drawings, and paintings that will brighten any winter coffee table.

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan (Pan, approx €9.99, out now) When Declan Lorne, the last knight in Ireland, dies, his two eldest daughters are dismayed to find that he has left the castle to youngest daughter Willow, who decides to sell it. Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, throws a party to celebrate, but it’s no ordinary gathering. A sparkling read.

Dark Enchantment by Dorothy Macardle (Tramp Press, approx €16, out now) When Juliet Firth finds herself in a small hotel in the French Alps, she quickly becomes immersed in local village life. But stories of superstition and sorcery become apparent as the townsfolk begin to focus on Terka – a woman who lives alone in the forest. Charming and immersive.

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum (HQ, approx €10.99, out now) In 1990 Birzeit, 17-year-old Isra prepares for an arranged marriage. She longs for romance and adventure despite her mother’s warning that there is no place for a woman but her house and home. Her family want her outside occupied Palestinian territories, but Isra sees only a life of servitude before her. Enthralling.

On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl (Fourth Estate, approx €14.99, out now) This is a striking book about the 1950s American West, gambling and two intertwining love stories. We follow newlyweds Muriel, Lee and Lee’s brother Julius, whose lover is Henry. Muriel, a waitress, secretly gambles and longs, as Lee does, for a life of freedom. A riveting debut.

Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer (Contraband, approx €8.99, out now) This is set in the 1960s, where an unnamed woman has arrived in a new city, calling herself Joan. She used to be someone else. She decides to be a smoker, this young woman who attempts to escape her demons by travelling to Las Vegas. An imaginative short story at 68 pages, this is a delight.

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This article originally appeared in the December issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now. 

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