Relax and unwind this Christmas with a great book! Check out these suggestions from Jo McColl and Chloe Blades at Unity Books that are perfect for the season. 


One More Croissant for the Road by Felicity Cloake (Mudlark, $28)

Felicity Cloake’s pièce de résistance, One More Croissant for the Road, is a 2,300km culinary pilgrimage across France on a bicycle. How delicious, I hear you whisper, and indeed it is. Author of six cookbooks and columnist for The Guardian’s ‘How to Cook the Perfect…’ section, Cloake’s expertise lies in the quotidian detail of day-to-day dining bringing the taste of escargot and jambon to you. Yotam Ottolenghi loved the wit, adventure and priceless information, and you will too.


Taste by Stanley Tucci (Fig Tree, $45)

Recipes interrupting the flow of a book are usually annoying, but if by Nora Ephron or Stanley Tucci they’re like a bonus dose of gin in an already perfect Negroni. Tucci peppers them through tales of tempano at Christmas with his first wife Kate and eating with Meryl while promoting Julie & Julia, who it should be added orders more wine because the first bottle “obviously evaporated in the afternoon heat”. His relationship to food and how immersed in it he is, in everything he does, makes Taste a read as wonderful as (I imagine) he is.



Bourdain in Stories by Laurie Woolever (Bloomsbury Publishing, $33)

Conversations with those closest to Anthony Bourdain, including his brother, daughter, childhood friends, costar Nigella Lawson and New Yorker profiler Patrick Radden Keefe, expose the genius and complexities behind the chef, writer and travel documentarian. By ruminating on their memories of him with Bourdain’s longtime confidante and collaborator Laurie Woolever, they’ve created a book that captures the very essence of what made Anthony Bourdain Anthony Bourdain.




Nina Simone’s Gum by Warren Ellis (Faber & Faber, $45)

You couldn’t predict the eccentricities within this unassuming book. Classically trained violinist and gifted multi-instrumentalist, Warren Ellis, peeled Nina Simone’s gum from under the piano she’d played on at her last London concert and kept it. 21 years on he bestowed it to Nick Cave for his Stranger Than Kindness exhibition where it sits on a marble pedestal in a velvet-lined, temperature controlled viewing box. Nina Simone’s Gum is an artistic, colour illustrated, exceptionally weird ode to the iconic singer of Feeling Good cum Warren Ellis’ memoir. It brings nothing but joy, even in the creaks of the books sturdy binding.




Recipes for a Kinder Life by Annie Smithers (Thames & Hudson, $38)

As I sit here and write this the Waitakere bush is in front and three out of nine seedlings that survived a transplant operation are behind. Reading the simple, contemplative instruction for tending to plants evokes a whole new appreciation for and delicacy of nature, and I wish I’d read this earlier (maybe then all seedlings would have made it). Smithers reiterates the love and care that need to go into the nurturing of plants, emphasising their delicacy and the rewards one can reap from the benefits of that and a paddock-to-plate ethos. A guide for a more gentle way of living sustainably and caring for our land, this book’s paired well with meditation or yoga.

Last updated: 07 December 2021