If you’ve been following our Christmas Gift Guides this year, then we really hope you’ve found something unique for someone in your life! With Christmas delivery dates passing, and only a week to go, we wanted to recommend some books we’ve read and reviewed that would make an awesome present for anyone!
From Tom Hanks turning his hand to fiction, through Alec Baldwin‘s remarkable biography, then there’s NASA Astronaut Terry Virts and his views from space plus use Little White Lies guide to get making your own films in 2019! Scroll down for all the goodness and click the link next to the title to order now or check out your local bookstore to pick it up from your nearest High Street.
by Tom Hanks (Click to order)
We all know who Tom Hanks is, and we all wish we knew him as well, so get a little bit closer inside the creative mind of Hanx with his very first collection of fictional short stories, Uncommon Type. With a penchant for all kinds of typewriters, that’s theme is scattered through each of the 17 individual tales and like the men and women play their parts with their own exits and entrances in his stories, so do the typewriters as take on both small and wider roles.
Everything from a fast-paced relationship that will only last until one or the other is tired out, then a WW2 veteran looking back through a past that still leaves scars, right through to a young surfer discovering his Father’s secret life, each of the stories take us to different places as much as you’d hope and expect any character that Hanks himself would play.
If there’s one thing Uncommon Type does, then it is the drifting in and out of different worlds quite effortlessly. He explores those little idiosyncrasies of everyday life and takes the reader to a variety of places, including the Moon, and so it’s clear that Hanks has been inspired by his own film projects and expands the ideas that must have sat with him, either during the filming, or investigation of characters and people around him. The book has a lot of warmth, reflection and heart, much like you’d expect from the actor, and that’s a wonderful thing indeed.
Nevertheless: A Memoir
by Alec Baldwin (Click to order)
While I’ve always been a fan of Alec Baldwin‘s acting, both serious and comic, I have to admit I never knew he’d had such an extraordinary life, nor that he was such an impressive wordsmith. Nevertheless: A Memoir is an absolutely exquisite read that both delights and informs in huge measures. His biography delves deeply into his childhood and memories of his Mother, their large family and the very real struggles both with money and estranged relationships with his father.
His book offers us his candid insight and how he eventually left home to seek out the beginnings of his remarkable career, and the people he’d met along the way. There’s no holds barred when exploring his infamous marriage with Kim Basinger and both their love and struggle with finding their own place in the world, which probably wasn’t as connected as they thought they were. There’s also no hiding from revealing personal details about all those moments, plus his fight with substance abuse, losing his ‘self’ and that unshakeable pull to the stage and screen, that he could never shake.
When talking about actors and ‘who’ we think they are, it’s often impossible for us to know who they ‘are’ in an every day sense. Sure, you can read articles and newspaper stories but if you know your own life, then you now that the truth and what people think of you are often very different things. Baldwin’s honesty in Nevertheless: A Memoir make this one of the most surprising and intimate books I’ve ever read for what could easily be considered just another biography.
This is far more than the everyday, it’s an in-depth history of a great actor who’s lived an unusual, unique life – like any of us – but his personal strength to strive on and be the best he can, whilst also being very humble, makes the book as charming as the man himself. It’s a very rewarding read, packed full of information which ends up being both a learning process and unexpectedly inspiring.
Little White Lies
Guide to Making your Own Movie in 39 Steps (Click to order)
Looking for a DIY guide on how to make your first indie movie? I think you’ll love this ‘Guide to Making Your Own Movie in 39 Steps from the excellent Little White Lies. While I’d love to avoid cliche, this book does exactly what it says on the front, therefore setting the bar to a simplistic, yet informative point-by-point process. Just after the book begins with the re-telling of a meeting between a 15-year-old Steven Spielberg and John Ford, I was instantly hooked.
Split into four major sections, 1: Prep; 2: Shoot; 3: Post, and 4: Resources, ‘Making Your Own Movie’ breaks down the basics and takes you through all the sequences of what to do to get the first snippets of film moving. In the beginning, you might think this is just ‘another’ one of those ‘How To’ guides but with the backing of a team like Little White Lies, you know they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t want to share something that’s both professional and enlightening.
If you know someone, or even have an itch to make your own film, then you’re in the right place here. So if you’ve spent most of your life just loving the exploration and escapism of the movies, this book pulls you in keeps you there with smart, to the point information that gets right to the jist of what you could do or make, if you just got on with it. So, what exactly are you waiting for?
View from Above – An Astronaut Photographs the World
by Terry Virts (Click to order)
I’ve had a fondness for all things space and, equally, photography for years now and so Commander Terry Virts’ View from Above: An Astronaut Photographs the World coffee-table book was a hopeful adventure into an amalgamation of both of these passions. Whilst it definitely captures the optimistic essence of everything I’d want from this type of book, Terry’s insight is quite distinctive given that his shots are from the International Space Station, and that’s interestingly not somewhere I’ve managed to get to…maybe yet?
View from Above is also not your standard collection of shots of the Earth from Space, this is a truly personal, inspiring, exciting and insightful assembly of information that’s exhibited with mountains of information and fascinating facts at that. These beautiful photographs, with that exclusive perspective, are backed up by so much info that it’s one of those you can come back to every now and then, or whenever you please, just I’ve been doing since I first flipped through the pages.
View from Above: An Astronaut Photographs the World is a stimulating and exciting book for Space lovers of any age that’s full of info, insight and superb shots of the Earth. Who knows, it might even inspire another soul somewhere to follow in his footsteps, and what a journey that would be.