Gift Books

Usually for illustrated hardback books for reference or pure pleasure,

Places of Pilgrimage

by Ian Scott Massie

A lovely coffee table style gift book that is both a memoir of places of pilgrimage visited by the author, as well as short highlights about the places.

The illustrations are beautiful watercolours that are highlighted by their simplicity of detail, being largely colour wash and block work and yet so deeply evocative for that.

Here is a book that with it's simplcity of detail and information encourages you to visit these places of pilgrimage.
What is also quite nice is that these are not just the obvious christian places of pilgrimage, but just places that may spark the heart... so Barter Books at Alnwick gets a deserved look in!


Review by Melanie Carroll  (29/01/16)
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: December 2015
ISBN: 978-0-281-07518-8
Price: £12.99

God's Promises for Your Every Need


Life is tough, and when you're faced with challenges or in need of encouragement, the best place to go is to God's Word. But sometimes it's difficult to know where to look. God's Promises for Your Every Need topically arranges crucial scriptures for every student of the Word to seek out in the ups and downs of life. Over 15 million copies have been sold in the God's Promises series.

Review by x  (17/09/14)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-404-18665-1
Imitation Leather

A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity

- Being A History of 2000 Years of Saints, Sinners, Idiots and Divinely-inspired Troublemakers

by Nick Page

Nick Page has done it again, another cracking book that professes to be humourous, silly and light-hearted whilst being intelligent, erudite and most of all an eminently readable treatise on church history. No really I'm not exaggerating, this book is the perfect starter for anyone that needs to know something about church history and actually wants to understand what they are reading and the reasons why it was so important - or perhaps ultimately wasn't but seemed so at the time! Add to this the great section headers, cartoons and other ephemera it contains and you have a cracking gift or enjoyable read for anyone that wants to know just a little more. Don't be put off by its size - it looks like a weighty tome, but you won't need fortitude to work through it - in fact it won't feel half as long as it looks! A brilliant Christmas gift or just a fun book to read.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/11/13)
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-75012-6
Price: £16.99

Everyday Matters Journal

This beautifully cloth bound and ribboned journal was originally done as a companion to the rather good Everyday Matters Bible for Women, and as such it has the same beautifully done aqua flowery print cover. On the inside it uses the same lovely little reflective icons to denote the subject under consideration, such as prayer, faith, confession, service, worship etc.. Each page is lined but it's not plain lined notepaper but rather beautifully toned sepia-esque pages with boxed quotes for thought and reflection. Different sections also have a one page consideration that takes you deeper e.g. into the meaning of what it is to be community. It's a beautiful journal and though designed as a companion for the Everyday Matters Bible it works perfectly on it's own too and would make a lovely gift.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (23/04/13)
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-619-70024-6
Price: £9.99

Calm the Soul

- A Book of Simple Wisdom and Prayer

by The Poor Clares, Galway

This is an incredibly beautiful book, lovely in its outlook, style and presence from dust cover to interior print and to the words and heart of the works on the page. The beautiful little illustrations and a repeating bindweed flower motif throughout just add to its gentle spirit.

A perfect gift book for a Catholic woman, though to be fair there are many not Catholic who would likely enjoy it just as much – think Women's Institute or Mothers Union and you are aiming at the right general market.

A lovely blend of prayers, backgrounds and insights abound in the book, many based around references to Ireland and St Clare, but these are gentle and indeed the book as a whole is calming in tone and style.

Covering Lectio Divina as well as prayers, it is a treasure and some of the prayers are not what you would expect as they cover a range of topical subjects as well as the traditional, for instance the "Prayer for People with Suicidal Thoughts" and "The Grace of Work and Dealing with Unemployment" are just two of the very excellent resources in this book.

The book has its own

Review by Melanie Carroll  (25/03/13)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton imprint of Hachette UK Ltd
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-444-74376-0
Price: £14.99

Gold - 100 Winning Thoughts

by Richard Daly

Gold in colour and in quality, this little book has a thought and a Bible quotation on each page relating in some way to running the race of life.
The Olympic creed stresses that the most important thing is ‘not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.’ A creed we would do well to remember in our daily lives and this little book is here to help you.
A book to dip into, a book to read and re-read. One I shall give to my granddaughter but one that is suitable for any age or circumstance.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (08/03/12)
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-853-45665-7
Price: £4.99

Wise Sayings From Proverbs

Compiled by Olivia Warburton

Sorted under the headings Wisdom, Integrity, Choices, Money and Security, this little book is a treasure trove of wisdom as are the others in the series. Published as you would expect with Lions excellent presentation, this is a book to keep by you and to give away. Each quotation has a page to itself of unique design: so much of what we would consider ‘common sense’ but written in a way to make us think again. Perhaps this title should be in ‘Lifestyle’ rather than in ‘Gift books’ if we lived by these precepts the world would be a different place.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (21/01/12)
Publisher: Lion
Published: 11 November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95553-7
Price: £4.99

Wise Sayings of Paul

Compiled by Olivia Warburton

A beautifully presented little book, tastefully illustrated and with quotations from Paul’s writings arranged in groups of the following themes: God’s Power; Relationships; A Good Life; Testing Times; God’s Love. However well you know your Bible reading these excerpts concentrates the mind powerfully, if you are unfamiliar with Paul’s wisdom this little book could be a life changing read.
A little treasure trove.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (11/01/12)
Publisher: Lion
Published: October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95554-4
Price: £4.99

TouchPoints For Women

- Words of Wisdom for Every Need

by various contributors

Using passages from the New Living Translation of the Bible this is the gift edition of a book previously published as a regular edition. Immediately you pick it up it feels good, which is always an invitation to look further.
If you look on the Contents page you will find what seems to be every subject under the sun that could be of interest to women, listed in alphabetical order and starting with Abandonment, Abilities, Abortion through Home, Hope, Hospitality and finishing with Worry, Worship, Worth, I make it 134 in all.
Each subject has several appropriate bible quotations with relevant comment to guide you on your way. A ribbon marker helps you to keep track of where you are and I have already spent hours reading through, and shall go back to it again and again I’m sure.
The card wrap-around is of course removable, leaving a plain red cover with the floral design in the top corner.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (03/11/11)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers from TMD
Published: May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-414-32020-5
Imitation Leather
Price: £8.99

Faces of Christ

by Jane Williams

Another gift book for the literati from Jane Williams. The perfect gift for those who love looking at works of the great masters with some intelligent discussion of the subject matter as well. Nothing too deep but by the same token nothing too vague either. This time dealing with the Faces of Christ though to be fair it's not necessarily dealing with the face of Christ but rather the representations of Christ from childhood to resurrection, the different images portrayed and the 'face' that presents to the world.
Quality is again very good as one would expect from a Lion gift book. It has a dust jacket, shiny paper, good reproduction and colours on the images, of which there is a good selection, and a decent print and styling which do make this a very nice gift/coffee table book.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (08/10/11)
Publisher: Lion
Published: 20 May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95522-3
Price: £9.99

A Christmas Anthology

Edited by Simon Danes

The description on the cover shows that this title contains short stories, poetry and seasonal customs and facts, and together they make for an entertaining read, highly suitable for a gift that can be dipped into at random.
I had never thought ‘Whatever Became of Tiny Tim?’ and the John Mortimer story was somewhat of a shock! Neither that nor the Dickens and Trollope stories were familiar to me although the authors are favourites of mine.
Many of the poems gave a warm feeling of familiarity, but not all, and the ‘customs and facts’ contained some real eye-openers. I enjoyed it and the fact that £1 from each copy sold goes to Traidcraft should be an extra incentive to buy it for yourself and for gifts.


Review by Mary Bartholomew  (24/08/11)
Publisher: St Mark's Press
Published: Summer 2011
ISBN: 978-1-907-06212-4
Price: £9.95

Celebrating 50 years of Songs of Praise

by Trevor Barnes

An excellent ‘biography’ of the programme so familiar to many of us. From its very beginning to the present day the changes in format and presentation are explained. Some changes are the result of new technology, others driven by the need to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. In order to keep the viewing figures high, to satisfy those who would like to see it moved to a less popular time, constant attention is given to viewing figures, not something that the individual viewer takes into consideration with their likes and dislikes! So much goes on behind the scenes that the majority of us are unaware of.
Through the years different presenters have become well loved ‘family friends’ and their stories are told with affection. Each has had their own style of talking to those who have shared incidents from their lives, many sad, all inspiring.
The photographs throughout help tell the story, and I learnt so much of interest, that I can heartily recommend this as an enjoyable book for anyone who watches Songs of Praise.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (24/08/11)
Publisher: Lion
Published: 19 August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95384-7
Price: £12.99

Wise Sayings from the Psalms

by Kate Kirkpatrick

This is an attractively illustrated collection of wisdom truths from the Psalms, clustered around alliterated chapter titles. The illustrations and styling are very much designed to underpin the swathes of scriptural excerpts. There is little other written input apart from the verses quoted from the Psalms in this compilation work.
An attractive, compact coffee table style book.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (27/04/11)
Publisher: Lion
Published: 18 March 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95534-6
Price: £4.99

Amish Proverbs

- Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

These sayings, proverbs, call them what you will, are collected into groups with an introduction by Suzanne Woods Fisher at the start of each section. In her acknowledgments at the start of the book, she explains that she has taken many from two previously published collections by Dr. Edwin Miller Fogel and C. Richard Beam, others are those she grew up hearing from her Grandfather and those around her. The Introduction tells more about the Amish and how these words are used among them.
These sayings are wise words indeed. Many have you nodding in agreement, others make you smile, all make you want to share them with others and to read over again and again. The photographs on each facing page are excellent and well chosen, but it is the introductions at the start of each section that makes this book special.
I can’t start quoting, I would never stop!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (24/12/10)
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-800-71953-1
Price: £8.99

With Wings Like Eagles

Paintings by the Hautman Brothers

Beautiful paintings of the American eagle and others of lake and mountain scenes, interspersed with passages from the Bible and many famous authors. A book for reflecting on the paintings, the words, or both together. However With Wings Like Eagles is looked at or read it will give enjoyment to the reader time and time again.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (05/10/10)
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Published: 01 February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-736-92634-8
Price: £10.99

The Work of His Hands

by Jeffrey N. Williams

During his six-month space mission at the International Space Station in 2006 Colonel Williams beheld the wonders of God’s creation through the portals of his temporary home and photographed amazing sights which he shares with us in this beautifully presented book. You do not need to have a special interest in space flight to be entranced with these pictures, though if you are interested in the details of space travel you will also be fascinated by the details of the mission he was taking part in. Some of the photos are of the crews and equipment but the ones that gripped my attention were spectacular sights from all around the world. Wave patterns, cloud patterns, man-made patterns, all show up clearly when viewed from outer space. A short eruption of a volcano only known about because it was photographed by Jeff Williams; views of cities and sand dunes, rivers and shipping channels, all help to show us what a wonderful world we live in and throughout the author gives God the glory.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (27/09/10)
Publisher: Concordia from Trust Media Distribution
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-758-61589-3
Price: £18.99

A Gospel of Wild Flowers

by Anthony Foottit, illustrated by Pat Albeck

I can imagine this book being looked at and read with great enjoyment by the giver, before being passed on to the intended recipient!
Anyone with eyes to see the flowers around them in the hedgerows will be familiar with the flowers portrayed so delightfully and realistically here, and the author’s musings on the flower’s appearance, properties and associated Bible and folk lore will remind you of things perhaps forgotten, or not even heard of before. A charming book, highly recommended.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/05/10)
Publisher: David & Charles from Redemptorist Publications
Published: 2006
ISBN: 978-0-715-32572-8
Price: £4.99

The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

- The Adventures, The Events, The Holy Sites

Text Editor Deborah Camiel, Translation Betsy Karpenkopf, Photography and Illustrations, various.

The UK Distributor website will show you the detail of this amazing book, but there is nothing like having it there before you to read through or dip into as you wish. It is a large ‘coffee table’ sized book that I read using my lap-tray for comfort. I was soon enthralled by the contents. Written deliberately in newspaper format, the items are eye catching and wonderfully illustrated. From Bible events told as if written by a reporter to recent times - the last date to appear is 2005. Through the centuries we are told and shown, ‘news items’ about Saints, Monks, Crusaders and Pilgrims and many other items of relevant history and archaeological finds. Truly a treasure trove of information brought together in this remarkable publication. I could rave on and on, but far better for you to see it for yourself, it is worth every penny.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (06/07/09)
Publisher: RMC Publishing
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 978-9-657-24000-7
Price: £39.75

Three Down None Across

- 80 Bible-based Crosswords

by John Capon

Originally published in the Baptist Times
The author writes ‘I hope these puzzles will provide you, the reader of this book, with some not-too-demanding mental activity, and if it sends you back to your Bible into the bargain , well, that can’t be bad!’
There are general knowledge questions and anagrams as well as Bible based questions, so sit down and enjoy and learn at the same time.
An ideal gift to buy for yourself or to give away.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (10/12/08)
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-841-01547-7
Price: £6.99

Embracing Change

- Spirituality and the Lindisfarne Gospels

by Ewan Clayton, photographs by Robert Cooper

This is a book to linger over and ponder upon. Glorious photographs alongside meditational text about the island of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) the life of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels all intermingled with the human journey. Not a book to glance through and enjoy superficially, but one to look at again and again as you are drawn deeper into the marvel and mystery of the Lindisfarne Gospels and their place of origin. The story revolves around St Cuthbert and the Gospels that came to be dedicated to his memory.
This lovely book can be purchased from

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (17/11/08)
Publisher: Ewan Clayton
Published: 2003
ISBN: 978-0-954-55070-7
Price: £13.99

River Diary

by Ronald Blythe

Another compilation of pieces previously published in the Church Times as ‘Word from Wormingford’ – always on the back page, yet the first part of the Church Times I turn to every week. Ronald Blythe’s gentle meditative style, his reminiscences and his descriptions of the countryside around his home - and further afield when he travels, make for very pleasurable reading and re-reading. An essential volume for fans, and as each title in the series ‘stands alone’ an excellent introduction to these pieces for newcomers.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (31/07/08)
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: February 2008
ISBN: 978-1-853-11862-3
Price: £12.99

The Life That I Have

by Leo Marks

Reprinted on 2002 &2006, this illustrated little book is of Leo Marks poem written to his fiancée Ruth after her death in a plane crash. He said that this was the message he had failed to deliver when he had the chance. The heartfelt sentiment has haunted the memories of many since that time when it was written during the war, 1943. Its lilting rhythms go round and round the brain even when the words are elusive. This is a book to treasure, a poem to use as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God or a gift to a loved one. Elena Gaussen Marks’ pencil illustrations, portray the mood perfectly.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (08/03/08)
Publisher: Souvenir Press
Published: 1999
ISBN: 978-0-285-63532-6
Price: £4.99

God’s Little Book of Calm

- Words of Peace and Refreshment for Weary Souls

by Richard Daly

Richard Daly says that the only source of true calm is Jesus Christ and has compiled this little book of thoughts taken from scripture to be a comfort support and yes, refreshment for all those in need. With one thought and accompanying Bible reference on each page and with the words printed over a feint image of flowers, a dove or butterflies, this little book could be of use to so many. If you know anyone in need of peace and refreshment, then this is the gift for them. Longer books would probably not get read, these few words to a page may be all someone in distress can absorb, and they may be just what they need.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (31/01/08)
Publisher: Collins
Published: 03 April 2006
ISBN: 978-0-007-23403-5
Price: £4.99

God’s Little Book of Peace

- Words of Comfort and Reassurance for Weary Souls

by Richard Daly

Following the success of God’s Little Book of Calm Richard Daly has addressed the needs of those seeking peace. With the same format as before, using the same feint outline illustrations, he has put together his thoughts to bring light to particular Bible references. The thought of opening a Bible to find these thoughts for ourselves can be daunting. Here they are brought together in an easily accessible little book, one that can be carried around and dipped into at any time of need, or in a quiet time of reflection.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (31/01/08)
Publisher: Collins
Published: 05 February 2007
ISBN: 978-0-007-24624-3
Price: £4.99

26 Steps to heaven

- A Simple Path to a Better Life

by J John

A glorious collection of wisdom in one sentence bites and other short pieces that are refreshing reading and inspirational. J John must have enjoyed putting this collection together. The chosen pieces are listed under the 26 letters of the alphabet ranging from A for ability: achievement: action: adversity: age: anger: anxiety: arguments and attitude to Z for Zeal. For the ones in between you will have to read the book for yourself, but I promise you that you will enjoy it and profit by doing so. – Then give it away!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (06/12/07)
Publisher: Hodder
Published: Autumn 2007
ISBN: 978-0-340-95436-2
Price: £10.99