The best books aren’t always fiction or non-fiction, nor are they highly image oriented or focused on short bullet points. Sometimes the best books are a mix of all of this or none of this. Here are a number of books I’ve put together that aren’t your typical holiday read but will be perfect to get wrapped up in for the New Year.  

They’re the kind to keep on your coffee table and be admired but with a twist. These aren’t any normal coffee table reads, they’re creative works that demand to be read. I’ve written reviews for Brick Lane People, The Comptoir Libanais Express, Weaven’s World A Journey With Fantasy Hair, and The Angkor Guidebook. Read on and get lost in beautiful photographs, creative recipes, high-fashion hair images and an in-depth guide to the Angkor temples in Cambodia.

Brick Lane People by Syl Ojalla

brick lane people

There aren’t many books that are image heavy which I’d say grab my attention, but Brick Lane People seems to do exactly that. Syl Ojalla’s camera has captured things that we can miss in most. From the creases of facial expressions, vibrant colours and different cultures to the subtle beauty our eyes miss in everyday life.

It’s a reminder that one area can be full to the brim of a thousand faces, emotions and desires. Syl describes Brick Lane as a ‘human kaleidoscope; a shifting, constantly mutating place.’ There is deep culture and history to be found on one of London’s most popular areas. Brick Lane isn’t just a street, it’s a world in its own and this is captured through the lens of his camera.

The images stand out in all of their glory- whether it’s a man sitting on the floor, people leaning against a wall, crazy hair colour and eccentric dress sense, or older people in their most definitive state; genuine, full of expression and not always smiling. On some pages throughout the book you will find quotes from various people. For example, ‘It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.’ This quote from Audre Lorde, among many other quotes, emphasises one of the reasons behind this book.

The world is a big and beautiful place, and we’ve been gifted a huge slice of that in the form of Brick Lane People.

Brick Lane People is available on Amazon, Brick Lane Bookshop, Rough Trade East and Whitechapel Gallery Bookshop for £9.95.

BOE Magazine