The Christmas Story: Inspiring Gifts For Bookish Types

Delight avid readers with these terrific tomes to devour this Christmas.

Books make the most wonderful gifts, and yet choosing the right volume can be tricky. Get it wrong and you may well elicit that slightly glazed smile from your unenthused recipient that says your thoughtfully chosen tome is going straight onto the shelf never to be read. But get it right, and books can be the very best present you can give, transporting readers to other worlds in which to get lost, firing imaginations and inspiring ideas.

Whether your beloveds are in the market for the latest literary fiction – think Evie Wyld’s devastatingly good The Bass Rock, or Jessie Burton’s The Confession, a triumphant follow-up to The Muse and The Miniaturist – or some cancel-all-other-plans type page-turning fiction (Nicola Rayner’s unsettling and excellent You And Me, or Harriet Tryce’s The Lies You Told), there is something in this list to provoke both thought and afternoons on the sofa with nothing but said book and endless cups of tea for company.

Our guide spans young children (a more beautiful picture book than Sophie Blackall’s Hello Lighthouse you will not find, nor a more inspiring one than the legendary Captain Tom Moore’s One Hundred Steps); to older kids, few of whom will not thank you for Hana Tooke’s marvellous The Unadoptables, or Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike swansong, Death Sets Sail; right through to the best in cookery, coffee table and design books. And then, of course, there is non-fiction, in the imperative form of both David Attenborough and Barack Obama’s latest releases, amongst others.

Why not grab a coffee, have a peruse and line up your literary Christmas purchases, whether for your friends and family – or just for you.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2020


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Death Sets Sails

Robin Stevens, £6.99

The Highland Falcon Thief

M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, £6.99

A Sprinkle of Sorcery

Michelle Harrison, £7.99

The Unadoptables

Hana Tooke, £12.99

Fox: A Circle Of Life Story

Isabel Thomas & Daniel Egnus, £12.99

How To Fly Like An Elephant

Kyoko Nemoto, £6.99

Avocado Asks: What Am I

Momoko Abe, £12.99

Hello Lighthouse

Sophie Blackall, £6.99

One Hundred Steps

Captain Tom Moore, £12.99

Pop Fiction


William Boyd, £18.99

Jeeves And The Leap Of Faith

Ben Schott, £18.99

Little Disasters

Sarah Vaughan, £14.99

You And Me

Nicola Rayner, £8.99

Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club, £14.99

The Lies You Told

Harriet Tryce, £12.99

Literary Fiction

Utopia Avenue

David Mitchell, £13.99

The Book Of Echoes

Rosanna Amaka, £9.99

The Confession

Jessie Burton, £10.99

The Doll Factory

Elizabeth MacNeal, £6.99

A Theatre For Dreamers

Polly Samson, £14.99

Inside Story

Martin Amis, £20

Girl, Woman, Other

Bernadine Evaristo, £16.99

The Bass Rock

Evie Wyld, £16.99

Non Fiction

Coffee Table Books

Once Upon A Time In America

Marc Walter & Sabine Arqué, £50

The Kinfolk Home

Nathan Williams, £30

Home For The Soul

Sara Bird & Dan Duchars, £19.99

Planting The Natural Garden

By Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen, £26.99

The World Aflame: The Long War, 1914-1945

Dan Jones and Marina Amaral, £15.99

Cookery Books

Cook, Eat, Repeat

Nigella Lawson, £26

Nadiya Bakes

Nadiya Hussain, £22

Ottolenghi Flavour

Yotam Ottolenghi, £27

A Table For Friends

Skye McAlpine, £26

In Bibi’s Kitchen

Hawa Hassan, £25


Sabrina Ghayour, £26

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.