As gifts go, books entertain, amuse and educate and last way longer than chocolate.  If you’re not skilled with the scissors and sticky tape – you know who you are – they also offer the advantage of being really easy to wrap.  Here are our favourite new releases…

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For the cooks and foodies

Mark Greenaway is recognised as one of Scotland’s foremost chefs, so it’s not surprising that his cookery book, Perceptions, is beautifully presented.  It’s a great gift choice for aspirational cooks, with mouthwatering photography interspersed with Mark’s pithy tales of starting out in the kitchen, supplier details and even a guide to what Mark calls, ‘Terms, meanings and fancy words’. There are some seriously impressive recipes, from elegant canapes all the way through to divine desserts, which actually tempt you to lick the page. Priced at £30, but can be found cheaper online. If you really want to impress, you’ll have to take the recipient out to dinner too.

For the gardeners

The horticulturally minded and armchair gardeners will drool over Florelegium, which is a facsimile edition of the Hortus Eystettensis. The beautiful full-colour botanical engravings by Basilius Besler show the flowers which adorned the palatial gardens of Prince-Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen around 1600. At £12.99 from Taschen, this edition is a bit of a bargain, given that a first edition will set you back over £400,000.

For the explorers

The Atlas Obscura is a brilliant choice for those who like to wander and explore the stranger corners of the world. From Antarctica’s Trinity Church via Cuba’s valley of concrete dinosaurs, to the granaries of Great Zimbabwe, it’s utterly absorbing and brings back the joy of discovery and the unexpected. Perfect for anyone heading off on a gap year, or curious friends who love the quirkier side of life. Workman publishing £25.

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