More "If we bought a friend a book" for your delectation...
Kat, editor of The Bag Lady says: "The books I would recommend to anyone would be Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, and the sequel, More, Now, Again [follow those links to read extracts] - although both are not particularly well-written, it's more the subject matter which interests me, mainly mental illness and drug dependence.
They're a must-read for anyone who lives in the 21st century, when 1 in 3 are going to go through some form of mental illness in their lifetime. It really gives you a perspective on what it's like to be in that situation. And, for those affected by depression or drug dependence, it's a relief to know that other people of the same age are going through the same traumas, and that yes, you too can pull through as well. I'd also recommend Vice's 'Do's and Don'ts', a capsule of all their best do's and don'ts over the years - only for the young at heart and those who have a strong sense of humour. A real leave-in-the-toilet book that will have you bursting out laughing whilst on the job, to the worry of your housemates!"
Stuart writes for lots of Shiny's technology and pop culture sites, including the hugely popular Tech Digest. What does he recommend?
"Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography. It's an amazing warts'n'all (and there are LOTS of warts) biography of the capital, organised by themes rather than chronologically. The best thing I can say about it is that it makes you want to get out there and explore the streets and locations he talks about, from wandering along the route of the old London Wall looking for old bits of masonry, to poking around where Newgate used to be or wondering if you can get a whiff of the noxious River Fleet. As someone brought up on the edge of London, I never really had much interest in its history, but this book really brought it alive. And even though it's huge, the writing crackles along with real pace, so it's never dull."
Meanwhile, John of TV Scoop says.... "OK, you said it's a "generic friend" so I don't know whether they're a lover of sci-fi/fantasy or not, but I am, so maybe I'm trying to convert them;) In which case... I would have to pick something well written, well known, well loved (as in I've reread it many times) and epic in scope. It also helps that it's the first of a trilogy and the world it inhabits is explored in two further trilogies, one set after it in time and one before. Heck if I was feeling generous I might even BAFAT (Buy A Friend A Trilogy). It's The Many-Coloured Land by Julian May, the first book in the Saga of the Exiles series" (No, I'm not sure what's going on in that photo, either...)
Finally, Gemma, our lovely editor in chief and head honcho at Shoewawa and Catwalk Queen (for starters!), is on a business trip to Las Vegas all week (not for the first time- and she's off there again in January, lucky woman!) so it's not surprising that she suggested Divas Las Vegas by Belinda Jones...