Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher (paperback, £9.99). Out now.
A book originally published in 1941 about oysters does not sound like a immediate must-read, but to forego Consider the Oyster for that reason would be a mistake. Fisher is funny – seriously funny, sometimes meanly funny – and her voice is still fresh and vibrant, full of anecdote, advice, and gossip, imparting wisdom on life and oysters through a series of short chapters. It’s a delightful, indulgent slice of good, funny writing, with an excellent introduction from Felicity Cloake that frames and prepares Fisher for a modern reader. Worth picking up whether you are a seafood devotee or shudder at all things marine (like me) and an ideal Christmas gift for the book lover in your life who has read everything.
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (hardback, £20). Out now.
Marie Colvin reported from some of the most dangerous places on the planet – Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone – before she was killed in Syria in 2012. Her incredible career and turbulent personal life are skilfully and sensitively recorded by fellow war correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, drawing on interviews with Marie’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as diaries and correspondence. In Extremis is a fascinating read on many levels – as a personal biography, as a chronology of war and politics, as an inside look at the world of journalism. It is well summed up by Annie Lennox: ‘Writing a biography of Marie Colvin is like capturing lightning in a bottle, Lindsey Hilsum has the knowledge and personal experience to help us understand what drew Colvin to rush towards the eye of the storm at such great risk. It is a superbly fitting tribute.’