Which are the best books about Sussex to give this Christmas?
21st November 2013
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A good quality book is a present that can make a lasting impression on the lucky recipient but you have to buy the right book for the right person.

Thank you to Waterstones in Brighton who shared with me their in-depth knowledge of the latest Sussex titles and allowed me the pleasure of browsing a selection of beautiful books.

I have chosen the ones that I believe could make excellent presents for a variety of people.

I unashamedly include some of my own books in the list. Like most authors, my motivation for getting everything just right in a book is to improve the quality of my readers’ experience. I want people to enjoy my books! 

Books are not only pleasurable to read, they can lead us to new experiences, widen our enjoyment of hobbies and provide us with a depth of thought and creative involvement which is all too often missing in these days of quick fixes and screen browsing. 

Take a look at the recommendations below and see if anybody you know would be pleased to receive a Sussex book as a gift.

The Discovery of Sussex by Peter Brandon

Who's it for? Local history and culture-lovers.
In a sentence? It takes a detailed look at the social, cultural & environmental changes which have shaped modern Sussex since the end of the 18th Century.
Why buy it? It will make you think about things you come across every day.
Illustrations? Colour and b&w plates interspersed & in central section.
Best bit?  Chapter 3 Changing Ways of Seeing & Experiencing Landscape.
Published 2010 at £25

Sussex Folk Tales by Michael O'Leary

Who's it for? Local folk tale fans
In a sentence? Detailed folk tales from around Sussex linked to the landscape
Why buy it? You can't beat a good folk tale
Best bit? The stories
Illustrations? Whimsical and narrative b&w illustrations by Su Eaton
Published 2013 at £9.99

Sussex Walks by Deirdre Huston

Who’s it for? People who enjoy a good walk.
In a sentence? A collection of 20 well-researched circular walks to guide you through varied Sussex landscape
Why buy it? Because of all the fun the reader will have doing the walks.
Illustrations? Plenty of evocative photography & Ordnance Survey mappping.   
The best bit? It links walks to literary and Sussex history and highlights wildlife habitats, flags up quality pubs and includes “Creative Starting Points” for writers and photographers.
Published 2013 at £12.00
Also see Day Walks on the South Downs by Deirdre Huston, 2011

South Downs A Painted Year by Antonia Dundas

Who's it for? Those who love watercolour paintings or downland nature.
In a sentence? The author guides you month by month through downland nature species with carefully annotated paintings of flowers, trees, birds and invertebrates.
Why buy it? It’s bound to improve your species identification skills.
Best Bit? The author’s love of South Downs nature shines through in this thorough piece of work developed over 20 years.
Illustrations? Detailed, accurate and pleasing on the eye.
Published 2011 at £18.99

Collected Memories of Sussex (Pub by the Francis Frith Collection)  

Who's it for?  Anyone interested in the oral history archives of Sussex
In a sentence? A selection of personal memories originally shared by Sussex residents on the Francis Frith archive website.
Why buy it? It might make you smile
The best bit? It's all about ordinary people and how important the unremarkable but unique stories of our lives are. A legacy from pioneering Victorian photographer Francis Frith, who documented the minutiae of everyday life.
Illustrations? It’s interspersed with old post cards from the collection.
Published 2013 at £14

Ravilious in Pictures Sussex and the Downs

Who's it for? Ravilious fans, downland landscape/ watercolour enthusiasts, and people who wonder about how others create art.
In a sentence? Learn how and why Eric Ravilious was inspired most by the chalk downland of southern England.
Why buy it? Pure enjoyment.
Illustrations? Beautiful watercolours with character that make you want to see the landscape for yourself.
The best bit? The stories about how each picture was created are the icing on the cake.
Also see Eric Ravilious Artist & Designer new out in 2013 - for a wider analysis of  place in the history of early twentieth century British art.
Published 2009 at £25

Cycling in Sussex by Deirdre Huston & Marina Bullivant

Who’s it for? Cyclists of all shapes, ages and sizes.
In a sentence? The 2nd edition of this popular guide to 20 cycle routes using quiet country lanes, dedicated cycle paths and ‘gentle’ off-road riding.
Why buy it? To get out on your bike and explore new areas of Sussex. Illustrations? Atmospheric photography showing ‘normal’ people enjoying a variety of terrain plus clear, original route maps showing pubs.
The best bit? Why the routes of course!
Published 2008 at £12.99
Also see Cycling Days Out South East England by Deirdre Huston for traffic-free bicycle adventures and ideas galore. £14.95

Jane Austen's Worthing The Real Sanditon by Antony Edmunds

Who's it for? Jane Austen fans - and those interested in the history of coastal town, Worthing
In a sentence? Gives a detailed account of the town Jane knew in 1805 and explores the links between her final unfinished novel Sanditon and early Worthing
Why buy it? It can be fascinating to link real places to fictional settings.
Illustrations?  A nicely reproduced selection of paintings, maps, posters and photographs help bring it to life.
The best bit? It puts Worthing in its rightful place on the cultural map of Sussex.
Published 2013 at £16.99

South-East Mountain Biking - North & South Downs by Nick Cotton

Who’s it for? Mountain-bikers
In a sentence? The 2nd edition of this popular guide contains 24 routes between 16 and 35km in length that are suitable for all levels of mountain bikers
Why buy it? To cycle further exploring better trails in a faster time.
The best bit? Top Ten descents, climbs and mountain bike playgrounds.
2nd Edition 2013 at £15.95

About the Author

Deirdre Huston

Member since: 12th November 2013

Deirdre Huston is a guidebook author and outdoors photographer with an interest in history and ecology. Married with 3 children, she has lived in Sussex all her life. She also makes short films about the...

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