Gift books

Elephants walk on tiptoes — but can they dance? This year’s stocking-fillers explore such puzzles

It’s almost a shock to admit it, but this year’s gift books aren’t bad at all. It’s even possible that, should you be given one of these for Christmas by the aunt who hates you or the brother who merely despises you, you might actually enjoy it — more than the acrylic scarf or the comedy socks that I always get from my least favourite relatives, anyway. What with one thing and another, there are roughly four million new books by comedians, all written during lockdown when there was nothing else to do. The best I read was Bob Mortimer’s sweet, elegiac memoir And Away… (Gallery Books, £20), which tells

Gift books for Christmas — reviewed by Marcus Berkmann

We have a fine crop of Christmas gift books this year, so good that some of them actually qualify as real books. This is a rare and beautiful thing. What Cats Want (Bloomsbury, £12.99) is by Dr Yuki Hattori, billed here as ‘Japan’s leading cat doctor’, as though anyone is going to argue with that. It’s simply a guide to understanding your cat — clear, concise, very pleasingly designed and with some lovely, quintessentially Japanese illustrations, mainly of cats. Of course, if you don’t like cats it’s really not going to help you very much; but for those of us who are at least partially obsessed by these beautiful, mysterious,