Everything seems to have changed this year, but one thing hasn’t; another Christmas has come and you are struggling to find the perfect gifts for your mates. This gift guide isn’t an all in one, but if you have that one bookworm in your group (as I am myself) who seems to have read everything in the world (I promise we haven’t), I’ve got some tips for some books you could get them!
- Buy a highly anticipated new release like The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister
One of the best things about the book industry is the anticipation of new stories and new characters to love. So, what better way for a bookworm to celebrate Christmas than encountering a whole new world just as it is unfolding? There is a special type of excitement reserved for reading books as they are fresh in the public eye, the heat of the discussion, and with theories being at their absolute peak. My recommendation for this is The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister, a historically based thriller novel in which a dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition - and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of the women don’t come back. This nail biter is sure to turn your friend’s winter upside down and keep them on the edge of their seat.
- Introduce them to another genre and encourage them to read diversely e.g. Just Us by Claudia Rankine
This year, there has been much conversation in the literary, publishing, and academic community about the importance of decolonising the canon and widening the scope of the literature we consume. When bookworms search for what to read, much of the time “reading everything” can often translate into the normatively defined “classics”. This Christmas could be the perfect opportunity to show them how to look past the imposition of the canon. My recommendation for this is Just Us by Claudia Rankine. Subtitled ‘An American Conversation’, this book is an exceptional collection of poems, images and essays that as Penguin Books describes, invite us ‘to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, and to breach the silence, guilt and violence that surround whiteness.’ I’d certainly want this in my gift haul!
- Get them a literary-themed cookbook like A Literary Holiday Cookbook by Alison Walsh
You know you have to get a book for this friend… but they never specified what kind! A literary-themed cookbook is a lovely and thoughtful gift that combines two hobbies in one. Maybe you need the perfect gift to subtly hint to your flatmate that eating hash browns every day so they can spend more time reading isn’t perhaps the most nutritious thing to do. Maybe you just want to buy something quirky and fun – either way, this book fits the brief! My recommendation for this (though there are loads out there) is A Literary Holiday Cookbook by Alison Walsh which is full of festive and fictionally inspired recipes and is perfect to warm your friend’s heart over the festive season.
- Bring them over to the non-fiction side with a book like A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi
This year more than ever I’ve found myself becoming more and more compelled by the plethora of interesting works in the non-fiction realm and I’ve found my eyes opened by many of the personal memoirs that I have read in particular. In a time where we are navigating how to build a better future after a crazy and destabilising year, listening to some of the exceptional research, storytelling, and persuasion this genre does will be invaluable to us as readers and human beings. My recommendation for this genre is A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi which is a coming of age memoir that traces the experience of a gay Muslim boy who comes to reconcile with and accept his intersectional identities after a long battle with shame and fear. It is an intimate, moving, and incredibly important story to hear.
- Get them 1000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich.
Again, while many of us wish we have read everything, chances are we probably haven’t and the one symptom of being a bookworm is occasional periods where we are hunting for the perfect new book. If your friend has read all 1000, that’s impressive and with this book, they’ll benefit from both the smug satisfaction of ticking each one off in the checklist provided and some short essays on each of the texts to add to their reading experience. If not, they now have a bunch of new books to add to their ‘to be read’ (and you’ll have the smug satisfaction of knowing that they have not, in fact, read everything).
I hope this gift guide proves useful and that both the bookworms of our readership and our generous gift buyers have a very merry Christmas!