Struggling with some last-minute Christmas shopping? We've found the perfect reads for every bookworm in your life. You're welcome.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or at least, it soon will be and there’s going to be some present sized holes in your bank account. While you may have already found a few things to buy for your friends with our Christmas gifts for him and for her guides, there’s always a few people who slip through the cracks. Luckily, a good novel is always a great shout and we’ve compiled a list of the best books to read this 2017 for your literary-minded friends.
From masterful spy thrillers to nostalgia-inducing epics, here’s a few we’ve got our eye on. All you have to do now is worry about how to wrap the present.
Best Books To Read
1. For the thriller seeker
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
World War Two might seem like an unlikely setting for a noir thriller, but Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan somehow manages it. Manhattan Beach revolves around Anna Kerrigan, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s first ever female diver, and the mystery of her father’s disappearance which slowly unravels once his friend, Dexter Styles, comes into the picture. If your friend loved Egan’s previous work A Visit from the Goon Squad, they’ll be on the edge of their seats for this.
2. For the feminist
200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World edited by Ruth Hobday
This meticulously curated book is filled with interviews from women who’ve made their mark on the world in some way and asks them five crucial questions about happiness, sorrow and meaning. Quizzing the likes of Gillian Anderson, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Goodall, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Roxane Gay (just to name a few), it’s an inspiring book that’ll change the way you see the world. Plus, the best part is that a fraction of the proceeds go towards organisations that empower women around the world.
3. For the fashion lover
Calvin Klein by Calvin Klein
As one of the most recognisable names in fashion, Calvin Klein is finally baring it all and taking us behind the scenes for the very first time. True to the brand’s minimalist style, the book is filled with gorgeous photographs of everyone from Kate Moss to Brooke Shields and is a deep dive into the method behind the madness. It’ll also make a damn chic coffee table book once you’re done flicking through it.
4. For the Netflix obsessive
The Book of Barb: A Celebration of Stranger Things’ Iconic Wing Woman by Nadia Bailey
Netflix’s sci-fi series instantly became a cult favourite when it dropped on the streaming service and Stranger Things has provided fancy dress fodder since, with Eleven, Will, Mike and more running around parties. However it was off-kilter Barb and her strings of rainbow fairy lights that won the hearts of many and this book is a guide to Barb-ing your way through life – complete with coloured illustrations, Barb style tips and invaluable advice for your visit to the Upside Down.
5. For the new homeowner
The House That Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton
Besides the fact that the eternally chic Diane Keaton penned this book, it’s a must-have for any budding interior designer. Diana takes you through the process of designing her dream house from her first Pinterest board through to the final reveal, all with a dose of her trademark wit and gorgeous imagery every step of the way. Perfect for those keeping an eye on Pinterest interior trends and currently designing their dream home (or hoping to in the future), it’s an inspiring read to start you off on your journey.
6. For the politically minded
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
We’re still asking ourselves the same question. Hillary’s latest memoir is a look behind the scenes of the tumultuous election that shocked the world, covering everything from the early days of her campaign through to that awkward final debate against Donald Trump. If you’ve been wondering what Hillary Clinton has been doing since she left the public eye, she’s been penning this and it’s well worth a read – in fact, it’s broken sales records as the biggest nonfiction release in five years.
6. For those who like their martinis shaken, not stirred
A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre
It’s been a bit of a wait, but we’re finally getting a sequel to The Spy Who Came in From The Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The master of the espionage thriller is on top form with his newest book A Legacy of Spies (his first in over 25 years!), which focuses on a group of older British Secret Service members whose Cold War missions are forced into the light. It’s a fascinating take on the genre as it all boils down to a terrifying clash between generations and raises questions about morality and service.
7. For the spirtualist
The Enchanted Tarot: 25th Anniversary by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner
It’s been 25 years since the Enchanted Tarot deck hit the shelves and they’re still going strong, continuing to capture people’s imaginations with their gorgeous fantasy illustrations. To celebrate their anniversary, they’ve launched a special edition package which includes a full deck of tarot cards, an amethyst drawstring pouch and a 192 page book full of tips and spiritual guidance by Monte Farber. Whether your friend is new to tarot or an experienced reader, it’s a great way to support them along their journey.
8. For those who will never look at baked Alaska the same way again
The Story of the Great British Bake Off by Anita Singh
There’s no denying that The Great British Bake Off is basically a part of the country’s DNA at this point. We all know one person secretly dreaming of competing on the baking show and this book delves into the story of Bake Off, from soggy bottoms to bread lions. Packed with interviews, behind the scenes and highlights from the most wholesome reality show on television, it’s a fun read for any Bake Off fan and will tide you over till the next season.
9. For the woke queen
The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is one of the most prolific and celebrated writers in American literature, using her voice to delve deep into the country’s complex racial politics in politically charged novels like The Bluest Eye, Beloved and more. Unsurprisingly, she lectured at Harvard University and The Origin of Others uses them as a stepping off point to explore the power of literature to shape American’s racial identity.
10. For the childhood friend
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy was a defining moment in many bookworm’s childhoods and he’s finally returning to the universe – and to bad ass Lyra Belacqua. Unfortunately, we don’t actually get to find out if Lyra and Will ever found their way back to each other (we’re still not over it) as La Belle Sauvage actually a prequel that explores her early life. Revolving around both baby Lyra and a curious eleven year old named Malcolm Polstead, it’s exactly the dose of nostalgia that the doctor ordered.
11. For the constant wanderluster
Epic Drives of the World by The Lonely Planet
Get in loser, we’re going on an adventure. The Lonely Planet has put together this gorgeous guide of the best road trips across the world, from bustling Ho Chi Minh Road in Vietnam to the serene Black Forest in Germany. The best part about it is that people who’ve actually been on each ride break it down for you, complete with photographs, tips, map illustrations as well as a guide to pit stops along the way.
12. For the Mad Hatter
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 150th Anniversary Edition by Lewis Caroll
While there’s a strong chance your friend has probably already read this classic, they’ll never have seen it like this before. The incredible designers over at Rifle Paper Co have put together this special 150th anniversary edition of Caroll’s masterpiece, complete with dreamy illustrations and gold-foil stamping to add a dash of magic to your reading experience. It also comes with a matching bookmark, if you’re still not convinced.
13. For the pal who needs to stop ordering takeaway
At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking by Nigella Lawson
We can always count on our girl Nigella Lawson to bring easy yet delicious dishes to the table. Her newest book At My Table is an intensely personal one, filled with her favourite home cooked meals she had growing up and that she continues to cook today. With recipes like mouthwatering flash fried quid with tomato and tequila salsa to an unusual victoria sponge with cardamom and creme fraiche, she’ll have your pals sorted from breakfast to dinner.
14. For the nieces and nephews coming of age
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
The writer of The Fault In Our Stars is back with another young adult novel and it’s set to be another hard-hitting tale. This time, John’s book revolves around Aza Holmes, a sixteen year old girl battling mental health issues as she unravels the mysterious disappearance of a billionaire. Expect all the hallmarks of a typical John Green outing: sassy teenagers, kooky situations, heartbreak and poetic throwaway lines that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
15. For the avid photographer
#girlgaze by Amanda de Cadenet
Forget the male gaze – female photographers all over the world are taking representation into their own hands in this empowering collection. You won’t find low-lit selfies here, as the book features 300 gorgeous and honest portraits of women in places and situations as diverse as a countryside picnic through to a devastating warzone. With the likes of OBE Sam Taylor-Johnson, Amber Valetta and more contributing, it’s a powerful celebration of female creative excellence and redefines what it means to be a modern woman.
For the fashionable bookworm
Psycho Book Clutch, £983, Olympia le Tan
Ever since Natalie Portman was spotted toting one of Olympia le Tan’s Lolita embroidered book clutches, we’ve had our beady eyes on every new collection since. This handmade clutch above is a double for Robert Bloch’s Psycho, which inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s film of the same name (so if your friend’s a film and movie buff, it’s the perfect crossover). That said though, they’re going to have to be a very good friend with that steep price tag.
For the Austen fanatic
Pride and Prejudice Book Text Poster, £34.99, Spineless Classics
If your friend is basically a real life Lizzie Bennett and can’t get enough of Mr Darcy, this Pride and Prejudice poster is a great shout. The entire text of the Jane Austen epic is featured on this A0 print along with the silhouettes of the literary world’s favourite couple, which spans nearly 40 by 28 inches. You can grab it either as a print or have it sent over framed (which tacks over £100 onto your price tag, so it might be better to just buy the print and let your friend sort it out themselves).
For the Christmas obsessive
Retro Typewriter Christmas Decoration for £13 from the National Gallery
If your friend’s a budding Bronte, this typewriter ornament is the perfect addition to their tree. With a cute Christmas greeting typed out on a slip of paper, it’ll be all the motivation they need to wrap up that novel they’ve been working on all year long. It’s available at the National Gallery gift shop and online.
For the friend who really needs Hermione’s bag
Slouchy Tote Bag for £59 from Charles & Keith
If you’ve got a friend who needs to be able to carry the latest tome she’s reading, a writer’s notebook and whatever new bestseller’s on her mind just in case, she’s going to need a solid bag to lug it all around in. This velvet tote will do the job without treading into dowdy bag lady territory and keep an book worm’s essentials all in one place.
Hopefully that’s one at least one friend crossed off your Christmas list – all you have to worry about now is the wrapping. And if you wind up grabbing a few of the things above for yourself, we’ll never tell…