I am just back from visiting my mother in New Zealand. I would say I was revitalised and totally ready for the Christmas rush (hand me that tinsel)Â but, although I had a fabulous time, two round the world flights and a fortnight with the siblings can leave one feeling slightly less than refreshed. Why is it that the minute you are inÂ aÂ room with aÂ brother,Â you revert to personality traits you thought you had left behind when you turned six?
The trip itself was especially tedious. Due to a mixture of parsimony and poor scheduling I was compelled to use a particularly circuitous route (three stops and long layovers). During those sky bound hoursÂ I did get an opportunity to catch up on my reading, and to look for some gift ideas guaranteed to bring Christmas cheer to shoppers at The National Archives.
First up, there are some absolutely beautiful big ticket items for yourÂ nearest and dearest. Buy the best for those who truly deserve. Maps are always fascinating and in Map: Exploring the WorldÂ Phaidon has put together a collection of over 300 maps from the very beginning of cartography up to contemporary digital mapping. Phaidon are known for their art books, and the quality of illustration makes this a desirable, beautiful to beholdÂ item. The Mapmakers’ World is another such book, a richly illustrated cultural history of European maps of the world. Medieval maps are just amazing,Â so much more than a guide fromÂ AÂ toÂ B: they tell a story in themselves.
They are a little expensive, but remember you get what you pay for. Hold this thought when doing your shopping, and think about what has gone into the presents you buy. Take a book. Someone has devoted hours and hours, in some cases years, to researching and writing this tome. The paper is thick and creamy, the illustrations carefully sourced and richly coloured. It has been printed, dispatched to the shop, displayed and advertised – and if you talk to the bookseller they will draw on their experience to help you find the perfect match for your friend or relation. That’s surely worth a little extra cost! Continue reading »