Discovering Persephone Books was like stumbling upon a small local boutique full of clothes that were screaming my name. The independent publisher’s concept immediately appealed to me:

We print mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial. The books are guaranteed to be readable, thought-provoking and impossible to forget. 

The fact that the books are beautifully designed didn’t hurt either: they all come with a minimalist dove grey jacket with cream label and a colourful “fabric” endpaper. Right up my style alley!

Over the holidays I like to reread old favourites, and this year I’ve decided on Winifred Watson’s Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. In this whimsical feel-good novel – Persephone’s best-selling title – a middle-aged governess accidentally ends up at the house of glamorous nightclub singer Miss LaFosse. A serendipitous event that will change her live forever. If there’s time I’ll also throw in the delightful film adaptation, with the always excellent Frances McDormand.

Because of their gorgeous design and smart approach Persephone books make stylish and meaningful presents. Here are five more gift suggestions:

For the cookKitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll: A collection of culinary essays about post-World War I social occasions and the recipes to go with them, conjuring up a bygone era.

For the gardenerGardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart: An illustrated series of poetic musings on all aspects of gardening.

For the historianFew Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson: Everyday life in London during the Blitz seen through the eyes of a social worker.

For the time travel fanThe Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski: A young woman lies down on a chaise longue and wakes to find herself imprisoned in the body of her alter ego ninety years before.

For the entrepreneurial fashionistaHigh Wages by Dorothy Whipple: The story of Jane who goes from working a badly paid job in a draper’s shop to opening her own dress shop

Are you planning to revisit any favourite books or movies over the holidays? And were you also won over by the screwball-esque pace, fab period costumes and Cinderella transformation of Miss Pettigrew?

As this is the last Book Nook post for 2012, I want to wish everyone at YLF a very festive holiday week and a new year filled with hope, happiness and smiles.