Christmas gift guide: gifts for book lovers

Whether you're searching for a gift for a book lover, a sports fan, a history buff, or anyone on your Christmas list, we've got you covered with our selection of gift books for everyone this festive season. 

15/11/2021
10 minutes to read
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Whether you’re buying gifts for the book lovers in your life, your closest friend, or a colleague in the Secret Santa draw, you can never go wrong with a good book. A thoughtfully chosen book can show that you really know a person, while a beautifully bound festive story or poetry collection is a safe but still interesting alternative to that bottle of wine or box of biscuits. 

But where to start and what to choose? To give you a helping hand we’ve compiled a list of some of 2021’s most exciting new books as well as some classic Christmas gift books. And, if you’ve already done all your present wrapping this year, it could be time you treated yourself.

If you’re looking for gifts for the little ones in your life, don’t miss our Christmas gift guide for kids. ​

For more bookish gifts, discover our classic books Christmas gift guide. ​


For the crime and thriller fan

Riccardino

by Andrea Camilleri

Book cover for Riccardino

The twenty-eighth and final novel in the thrilling, wickedly funny Inspector Montalbano Mysteries series by bestselling author Andrea Camilleri, will be published 14 October 2021.

In the highly anticipated final instalment of Camilleri's bestselling series, Inspector Montalbano receives a strange phone call early in the morning, from a caller by the name of Riccardino who claims to be expecting Montalbano's imminent arrival. But later that day, Montalbano learns of a brutal slaying in broad daylight, and while the assassin is unknown the victim's name is Riccardino – and the Inspector's troubles are only just beginning . . . 

Exquisitely crafted by one of Europe's greatest crime fiction writers, Riccardino is a series finale that is not to be missed.


Left You Dead

by Peter James

Book cover for Left You Dead

Left You Dead is the latest installment in Peter James's award-winning crime fiction series starring DS Roy Grace, now a major TV series starring John Simm. Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home. But this Sunday ends differently – as while Niall waits in the car park for Eden to finish shopping, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her. Eden is gone without a trace.

Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder, but when DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . . Discover the other Roy Grace books in order.

State of Terror

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Book cover for State of Terror

From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise - State of Terror.

State of Terror follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.

The Heron's Cry

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for The Heron's Cry

It's an idyllic hot summer in North Devon when Detective Matthew Venn gets the call to come to the home of a group of artists – there has been a murder. Dr Nigel Yeo has been stabbed, and the weapon is one of his glassblower daughter's vases. As Matthew attempts to solve the killing of a good man, someone else in the community is slain in a similar way. The key to murders lies disturbingly close to home, in a web of lies which Matthew must attempt to untangle. The latest in the bestselling series featuring Detective Matthew Venn.

For more inspiration, don't miss our edit of the best crime books and the best thriller books. 


For the sci-fi buff

A Desolation Called Peace

by Arkady Martine

Book cover for A Desolation Called Peace

An alien threat lurks at the outer edges of Teixcalaanli space. Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is tasked with commanding her unruly subordinates and destroying the mysterious invaders, who nobody can communicate with. The captain's envoys – outsider Mahit Dzmare and Information Ministry Agent Three Seagrass – have a seemingly impossible task ahead: to negotiate with the unknown assailants, and to preserve both themselves, their homes, and the Empire.

The much-anticipated sequel to the Hugo award-winning A Memory Called Empire.

The Doors of Eden

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for The Doors of Eden

This standalone sci-fi adventure from Adrian Tchaikovsky is a gift book science fiction fans are sure to love.  Following an attack on a government physicist and rumours of monsters and missing people, the British security forces are sent to investigate. When they discover that there are cracks between our world and countless others it shatters everything they previously thought about the universe.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

by Christopher Paolini

Book cover for To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, follows xenobiologist Kira Navárez as she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity ensue, taking her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her – but the entire course of history. This is the perfect gift book for any sci-fi fan's book shelf.  

Read Christopher Paolini on why he was inspired to write about first contact.

Discover our pick of the best sci-fi books of 2021.


For the fantasy lover

A Marvellous Light

by Freya Marske

Book cover for A Marvellous Light

Robin Blyth is a young baronet assigned to a new, minor governmental job in Edwardian England. Or is he? The supposed role turns out to be a little more complicated than he thought – Robin has in fact been appointed as parliamentary liaison to a secret British magic society. Fans of Georgette Heyer will love this magic-sprinkled tale of plots and wizardry in the most English of settings.

Black Water Sister

by Zen Cho

Book cover for Black Water Sister

Publishing in paperback this year and heralded as what might be 'Zen Cho's best work yet', Black Water Sister should shoot to the top of your TBR pile if you're looking to get into fantasy books but not quite sure where to start. Mischievous and bittersweet, this Malaysian-set novel is a tale of family, ghosts and local gods.

Broke, jobless and just graduated, Jessamyn is abandoning America to return ‘home’. But as she packs to return to Malaysia, a country she hasn't seen since she was a toddler, she starts to hear a bossy voice in her mind . . . Jess soon learns that the voice belongs to her late grandmother Ah Ma who in life, and apparently in death, worships a local deity, the Black Water Sister.

When a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge, and she isn't afraid to blackmail her granddaughter into helping her to make mischief. As Jess fights to retain control, she is drawn even deeper into a world of peril and family secrets.

The Library of the Dead

by T. L. Huchu

Book cover for The Library of the Dead

Ropa has left school to work as a ghostalker – her new job is to communicate with the dead in Edinburgh, and to carry their messages to the living. The job seems harmless enough, until the dead whisper to her that someone is casting malign spells on children, turning them into lifeless husks. Ropa decides she must investigate, and she enlists Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to look for clues. The streets of Edinburgh are full of secrets, threatening to turn the hunter into the hunted.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Blood and Bone was one of the most talked-about fantasy books of 2018, and at last Tomi Adeyemi is back with this thrilling sequel. After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji but also some nobles with magic ancestry. With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must find a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart. Children of Virtue and Vengeance is one of the best fantasy books of 2020 for young adult readers.


Beautiful gift books

Sleepily Ever After

by Zachary Seager

Book cover for Sleepily Ever After

You're never too old for a bedtime story – Sleepily Ever After: Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups is a wonderful anthology of sleepy stories for adults, which offers an anxiety-banishing and soothing route to the land of nod. Let Oscar Wilde, Kate Chopin and Guy de Maupassant lull you asleep as you peruse this beautiful book, or buy it for a sleep-deprived lover of classic literature.

Classic Dog Stories

by Ned Halley

Book cover for Classic Dog Stories

Dog lovers will be delighted to find this gift book in their stockings this Christmas. This entertaining collection dedicated to man’s best friend features stories from our most accomplished writers, including Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Jack London and Jerome K. Jerome.

Classic Cat Stories

by Becky Brown

Book cover for Classic Cat Stories

This stunning gift book will be loved by fans of our feline friends. Here there are fairy tales and fables, comic stories and spooky tales, all of which celebrate cats and their curious ways. 

Round About the Christmas Tree

by Becky Brown

Book cover for Round About the Christmas Tree

Struggling for gift ideas for a certain person on your list? This beautifully designed collection of Christmas stories is bound to appeal to any book lover. From Charles Dickens to Arthur Conan Doyle, there’s a Christmas story here for every reader. The perfect stocking filler.


For the historical fiction fan

The City of Tears

by Kate Mosse

Book cover for The City of Tears

It is May 1572, and the Wars of Religion have been sweeping France for a decade, turning neighbours into enemies and stealing countless lives. A shaky peace has finally been established, and a royal wedding is planned to bring the warring sides together. 

Minou Joubert and her family have been invited, but Minou has no inkling that the family’s sworn enemy, Vidal, will also be there. Within days of the fateful marriage, Minou's family has been scattered, and one of her children has disappeared. Sweeping from Paris and Chartres to Amsterdam, this is the story of a family trying to withstand the tides of history.

Kololo Hill

by Neema Shah

Book cover for Kololo Hill

Neema Shah’s impressive debut novel is set amidst the turmoil of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin. When a devastating decree is announced which says all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days, Asha and Pran and Pran’s mother Jaya, must leave everything they’ve ever known for a new life in Britain. But as they try to rebuild their lives, a terrible secret hangs over them.

The Sin Eater

by Megan Campisi

Book cover for The Sin Eater

When fourteen-year-old May is orphaned, she begins a tough fight for survival. Arrested for stealing a loaf of bread, she’s sentenced to the harshest punishment – she must become a sin eater, shunned from society and condemned to take on the sins of the dead. But May’s invisibility opens new doors, and when she is called to hear the sins of one of the Queen’s dying courtiers she stumbles on a dark conspiracy only she can get to the bottom of. 

Read more about the real history behind The Sin Eater.

A Thousand Ships

by Natalie Haynes

Book cover for A Thousand Ships

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020, this remarkable take on the familiar Trojan tales places women, girls and goddesses at the very heart of the action, retelling the story of the Trojan War from a refreshingly all-female perspective. 

A Thousand Ships is a powerful story of powerful women, told with passion, wit, and fierce feminism.

The Evening and the Morning

by Ken Follett

Book cover for The Evening and the Morning

It is the end of the Dark Ages and England is facing attack from both the Welsh and the Vikings. This is a harsh world, full of chaos and bloodshed, and the King has only a fragile grip on his country.

As the Middle Ages dawn, three very different characters will face a ruthless bishop who is desperate to increase his wealth and power. A young boatbuilder dreams of a better life for him and the woman he loves. A Norman noblewoman follows her husband across the sea to a shocking new world. A capable monk dreams of turning his humble abbey into a centre of learning admired across Europe. 

This epic tale of ambition and rivalry is the prequel to Ken Follett's international bestseller The Pillars of the Earth.

Discover more historical fiction. 


For the music lover

Me

by Elton John

Book cover for Me

Elton John is the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time, and his only official autobiography, Me, is just as funny, scandalous, dramatic and packed with rock ‘n’ roll anecdotes as you would hope. Me is a gloriously candid and powerfully moving memoir by a living legend, documenting his childhood in Pinner and the years spent struggling to find success, to selling out stadiums as a chart-topping superstar while his drug addiction spiralled out of control. This is a gift book that will be treasured by Elton fans. 

Discover seven amazing things you didn’t know about Elton John.

Read Elton John on life, fate and embracing your bad side. 

The Meaning of Mariah Carey

by Mariah Carey

Book cover for The Meaning of Mariah Carey

In this memoir, global icon Mariah Carey finally tells the unfiltered story of her life. This moving portrait of an extraordinary life is not to be missed. The Guardian called it ‘a carefully pieced together self-portrait of one of this generation’s most fascinatingly idiosyncratic, frequently misunderstood artists.’


For the one who loves to laugh

A Funny Life

by Michael McIntyre

Book cover for A Funny Life

Comic Michael McIntyre specialises in pin-sharp observational routines that have made him the world's bestselling funny man. But when he turns his gaze to himself and his own family, things get even funnier. This bracingly honest memoir covers the highs, lows and pratfalls of a career in comedy, as Michael climbs the greasy pole of success and desperately attempts to stay up there.

Theroux The Keyhole

by Louis Theroux

Book cover for Theroux The Keyhole

When Covid hit, Louis Theroux could no longer rely on escaping to his usual journalistic beat, interviewing oddballs and outcasts worldwide. His universe narrowed to an obsession with Joe Wicks' workouts and attempts to interact with his videogame-obsessed sons. Theroux's funny and heart-warming diary documents his attempts to readjust. It also tells how he launched the Grounded podcast as a response to long weeks of lockdown.

Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up

Life hasn't quite worked out for Nell. While all her friends seem to be living the Insta-perfect dream, Nell is feeling distinctly washed-up and lonesome. But then she starts a clandestine podcast and forges an unusual friendship with eighty-something widow Cricket, and things don't seem quite so bad. Laughs, a few tears, and a reminder that we are all in it together.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas

by Adam Kay

Book cover for Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas

Junior doctor turned comedian Adam Kay returns to the hospital wards he first introduced us to in This is Going to Hurt, but this time it’s the night before Christmas and the halls are full. Adam brings his own blend of sensitive humour to the incredible work of dedicated NHS staff on one of the busiest nights of the year.

Read the true stories of NHS staff at Christmas. ​

Discover the best non-fiction boks of 2019, and what's to come in 2020. 


For the literature lover 

Circus of Wonders

by Elizabeth Macneal

Book cover for Circus of Wonders

Nell lives in a coastal community in Victorian England, ostracised because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin. When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped: she has been sold by her father to perform as the 'leopard girl.' But Nell's fame grows, and when she grows close to Jasper's gentle brother Toby she wonders if her captivity is still the nightmare it first seemed. But as her fame begins to challenge Jasper's own, things grow ever more complicated for Nell.

The Fell

by Sarah Moss

Book cover for The Fell

In November 2020, Kate is in quarantine in her home on the edge of the moors. She is desperate for fresh air and a little freedom, so surely a solitary walk on the moor can't do any harm to anyone? But as she leaves her house Kate is spotted by her son and by a neighbour, and when she unexpectedly falls, her stroll turns into a major rescue mission. This novel asks questions about freedom, compassion and kindness.

Heaven

by Mieko Kawakami

Book cover for Heaven

From the bestselling author of Breasts and Eggs and international literary sensation Mieko Kawakami, comes a sharp and illuminating novel about friendship, violence, and adolescence.

A fourteen-year-old boy is targeted and bullied by classmates because he has a lazy eye, and instead of putting up a fight, he endures in silence. His only ally and friend is a girl, Kojima, who is also the victim of bullies. This is a simple, but immeasurably deep novel about companionship and fear.

Luster

Book cover for Luster

Edie is a young black woman, struggling in a downbeat admin job in an all-white publishing firm, sleeping around for kicks and despairing about the loss of her vocation as a painter. She meets Eric, a middle-aged white archivist, and becomes messily entangled in his marriage and suburban life, offering uneasy companionship to her lover's adopted black daughter. With its hilarious satire on the politics of sex and race, brilliantly original prose and unexpected tenderness, Luster is an absolute must-read and a bold debut for Raven Leilani.


Passing

by Nella Larsen

Book cover for Passing

Immerse yourself in 1920s New York through Nella Larsen's distinctive and revealing novel. The story centres around identity, belonging and two childhood friends who’ve long grown apart – Clare Kendry who is proud of her Harlem roots, and Irene Redford who has abandoned them altogether, ‘passing’ as white to her racist husband in the upper classes of New York. As their worlds intertwine once again, tensions lead up to a truly shocking conclusion. A classic far ahead of its time, Passing reads like the best of contemporary literary fiction.

Shuggie Bain

by Douglas Stuart

Book cover for Shuggie Bain

Set in a poverty-stricken Glasgow in the early 1980s, Douglas Stuart’s blistering, Booker Prize-winning debut is a heartbreaking story which lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty and the limits of love. Agnes Bain has always dreamed of greater things, but when her husband abandons her she finds herself trapped in a decimated mining town with her three children, and descends deeper and deeper into drink. Her son Shuggie tries to help Agnes long after her other children have fled, but he too must abandon her to save himself. Shuggie is different, fastidious and fussy, and he is picked on by the local children and condemned by adults as ‘no’ right’. But he believes that if he tries his hardest he can be like other boys and escape this hopeless place.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe

by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Book cover for Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe

This is another beautiful, simple tale about the time-travelling customers of the Cafe Funiculi Funicula from the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold. Customers include a man who travels to see the girl he couldn’t marry, a son who had to miss his mother’s funeral and a man who travels back to see his friend who died twenty-two years ago. 


Be inspired by the best literary fiction of 2021.


For the sports fan

Belonging: The Autobiography

by Alun Wyn Jones

Book cover for Belonging: The Autobiography

Belonging is the story of how Alun Wyn Jones left Mumbles as a talented young sportsman, and became the most capped rugby player ever. His rugby journey started with him mesmerised in the school hall watching the 1997 Lions Tour of South Africa, and culminated when he was named 2021 Lions Captain. Central to Wyn Jones' story is the concept of perthyn, or belonging – to his country, and to the clubs and regional teams he worked his way up through. Bracingly honest, this is a tale of what it means to play for your nation, and what it means to belong.

Too Many Reasons to Live

by Rob Burrow

Book cover for Too Many Reasons to Live

The inspirational memoir from rugby league legend Rob Burrow on his extraordinary career and his battle with motor neurone disease.

This is the story of a tiny kid who adored rugby league but never should have made it  and ended up in the Leeds hall of fame. It's the story of a man who resolved to turn a terrible predicament into something positive  when he could have thrown the towel in. It's about the power of love, between Rob and his childhood sweetheart Lindsey; and of friendship, between Rob and his faithful team mates. Far more than a sports memoir, Too Many Reasons to Live is a story of boundless courage and infinite kindness.

My Life and Rugby

by Eddie Jones

Book cover for My Life and Rugby

Eddie Jones is one of the most recognisable names in rugby today. Here he takes the reader through his own life story, from a working-class childhood in Sydney to reinventing the English National Rugby Team in 2015. Any sports fan will be captivated by this account of Eddie’s journey through the world of rugby coaching from the man himself.

Read all about Eddie Jones’s rugby career highlights. ​

Looking for more gift ideas for the sports fan in your life? Don't miss the best sports books of all time. 


For the nature lover

Vegetables

by The Estate of Roger Phillips

Book cover for Vegetables

An excellent guide for novices, experts and everyone in between, Vegetables shows you how to grow in gardens, allotments and on window ledges. Featuring 500 vegetables that you can grow, this is an essential guide, which includes cooking tips as well as information on cultivation and harvesting.

Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

by Amanda Owen

Book cover for Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

Amanda Owen shares stories from Ravenseat in Swaledale, where she has nine children to raise as well as a herd of sheep. From summer haymaking to midwinter feeds, Amanda brings the landscape to life with lively prose and stunning photographs. Celebrating the Seasons includes recipes for seasonal cooking, so readers can enjoy a delicious taste of Swaledale alongside Amanda's riveting storytelling.

Wilding

by Isabella Tree

Book cover for Wilding

In a project now known as the Knepp Experiment, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell gave nature free rein and stepped back to let it take its course, whilst introducing free-roaming animals including cattle, ponies, pigs and deer. Their land is now a home to rare species such as turtle doves and purple emperor butterflies, and is a buzzing, joyful ecosystem. This book is a transformative tale of hope, determination and the magical strengthening power of nature.


For the poet

Christmas Poems

by Carol Ann Duffy

Book cover for Christmas Poems

This beautifully illustrated book features the Christmas poems that Carol Ann Duffy wrote each year when she was Poet Laureate. From the frozen Thames in the seventeenth century to a 1914 Christmas truce, these poems embody the spirit of the season.

My Darling from the Lions

by Rachel Long

Book cover for My Darling from the Lions

In Rachel Long’s much-anticipated debut collection of poems, My Darling from the Lions, she reveals herself as a razor-sharp and original voice on the issues of sexual politics and cultural inheritance that polarize our current moment. But it's her refreshing commitment to the power of the individual poem that will leave the reader turning each page in eager anticipation: here is an immediate, wide-awake poetry that entertains royally, without sacrificing a note of its urgency or remarkable skill.

A Poem for Every Winter Day

by Allie Esiri

Book cover for A Poem for Every Winter Day

This beautiful collection is full of verses that will transport you to sparkling winter scenes, with poems for Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. The poems are selected from Allie Esiri’s bestselling poetry anthologies A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year, including poems by  Mary Oliver, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, Robert Burns, Joseph Coelho, George the Poet, Benjamin Zephaniah and Jackie Kay. 

Poems for Christmas

by Gaby Morgan

Book cover for Poems for Christmas

Full of Christmas cheer, this beautiful volume brings together some of the world’s favourite festive poems in one beautiful volume, perfect for stockings or under the tree. In this Macmillan Collector’s Library edition, writers from William Shakespeare to Christina Rossetti are brought together to illuminate this most magical time of year.

Discover our favourite Christmas poems.


For the book lover

Dear Reader

by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Book cover for Dear Reader

Cathy Rentzenbrink has always been a reader, from a childhood spent with a nose in a book to taking comfort in reading in times of tragedy. Her love of reading led her first to a career as a bookseller and then as a writer, and no matter what the future holds, reading will always help. This moving and joyful exploration of the impact books can have on our lives is packed with recommendations from one reader to another. 


For the one on a health-kick

The How Not to Diet Cookbook

by Michael Greger MD

Book cover for The How Not to Diet Cookbook

This full-colour, illustrated cookbook is from the pen of Michael Greger M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller How Not to Die. It features over 100 delicious plant-based recipes which use the twenty-one principles of weight-loss acceleration. From Grain-Stuffed Peppers with Cheesy Tomato Sauce to Crust-Free Pumpkin Pie and Black Forest Chia Pudding, you'll discover dishes that are tasty, light, and nutritious.

Pinch of Nom Comfort Food

by Kay Allinson

Book cover for Pinch of Nom Comfort Food

Pinch of Nom founders Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone bring you 100 recipes, from savoury mains to lazy Sunday breakfasts to sumptuous desserts, which prove that comfort food doesn't have to be laden with calories. Big flavours are the trademark, so this cookbook will appeal to dieters and those not watching their waistlines. 


Books to curl up under the Christmas tree with

Complications

by Danielle Steel

Book cover for Complications

Discover Danielle Steele's unforgettable story about a famed hotel, where a few complications quickly escalate into a matter of life and death, changing the lives of everyone who passes through its doors. . . 

The Hotel Louis XVI in Paris has attracted an international clientele of the rich and famous for many decades. Now, an esteemed group of loyal returning guests is set to arrive, joined by a group of new faces. Anxiously awaiting the guests is the new manager, Olivier Bateau, and his assistant, Yvonne Philippe. Both strive to continue the hotel's tradition for excellence but even they were not prepared for what happened on that September evening.

Rocked by the events of this one fateful night, guests and staff alike brace themselves for the aftershock, as it quickly becomes apparent that there is much more drama in store . . .

The Seven Sisters

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for The Seven Sisters

Maia D’Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved adoptive father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died.

Each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage – a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of where her story began.

Discover the series here.

The Winter of Second Chances

by Jenny Bayliss

Book cover for The Winter of Second Chances

Annie Sharpe is on the run from her seemingly perfect life, after one too many indiscretions from her handsome husband Max. She has left their restaurant and her two grown-up sons behind to become the new caretaker of Saltwater Nook, a picturesque old beach house on the Kent coast. Annie is getting to know the neighbours and enter the rhythm of their lives, and she's even reopened the village's seafront café. But Max wants her back. Will she succumb to old love, or enter into her new life with a free heart?

Together by Christmas

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Together by Christmas

A festive novel full of Karen Swan's trademark twists & turns, Together by Christmas is a moving Amsterdam-set Christmas story about new beginnings, and what happens when a past you thought you'd left behind reappears in your life. 


For the historian

A House Through Time

by David Olusoga

Book cover for A House Through Time

People who have already embarked on genealogical research, discovering unknown ancestors and long forgotten family secrets, are now embarking on the new frontier of popular, participatory history – the history of houses.

Written by Melanie Backe-Hansen and David Olusoga, A House Through Time offers readers the tools to explore the history of their own homes, as well as a vivid history of the British city. It is a phenomenal insight into the history we can see every day on the streets where we live.

Black and British

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British

In his award-winning book Black and British, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga examines how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, in Black and British shows how black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

A World Beneath the Sands

by Toby Wilkinson

Book cover for A World Beneath the Sands

The golden age of Egyptology was undoubtedly the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time of scholarship and adventure which began with Champollion's decipherment of hieroglyphics in 1822 and ended with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon a hundred years later. In A World Beneath the Sands, the acclaimed  Toby Wilkinson tells the riveting stories of the men and women whose obsession with Egypt's ancient civilisation drove them to uncover its secrets. A gift book which would be welcomed by any budding Egyptologist. 


Biographies and autobiographies they won’t be able to put down

Lily's Promise

by Lily Ebert

Book cover for Lily's Promise

This is the moving story of Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert, written with her great-grandson Dov. When Lily was liberated at the end of the Second World War, a Jewish-American soldier handed her a banknote with the words ‘the start to a new life, good luck and happiness!’ written on it. 

Decades later, when Lily was 96, Dov decided to use social media to track down the family of that soldier. Lily finally told her compelling life story to the world, from her happy childhood in Hungary to the deaths of her family members in Auschwitz to her new life in Israel and then London, fulfilling the promise she made to her 16-year-old self to share the horrors of the holocaust with the world – in the hope that such evil would never be seen again.

Crying in H Mart

by Michelle Zauner

Book cover for Crying in H Mart

Indie rockstar Michelle Zauner provides a deep and moving memoir about losing her Korean mother, and the food culture that ties her to home. The only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon, she had to struggle with isolation and her mother's fierce ambitions for her. Michelle's respite was the time spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, communing over cooking and eating, and shopping trips to Asian supermarket chain H Mart. 

Permanent Record

by Edward Snowden

Book cover for Permanent Record

Edward Snowden brings us a first-hand account of one of the biggest political exposés to hit the US in recent years. Edward risked everything to reveal confidential information about the US government’s mass surveillance system he discovered during his time in the employ of the CIA. The book spans his life from a suburban childhood to life in exile, revealing how Edward helped build the system, and why he felt he had no choice but to expose it.

Read more about Edward Snowden’s memoir Permanent Record.

The Happiest Man on Earth

by Eddie Jaku

Book cover for The Happiest Man on Earth

This heartbreaking yet hopeful memoir shows us how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. In November 1938, Eddie Jaku was beaten, arrested and taken to a German concentration camp. He endured unimaginable horrors for the next seven years and lost family, friends and his country.  But he survived. And because he survived, he vowed to smile every day. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’. This is his story. 


Fascinating non-fiction

Bad Blood

by John Carreyrou

Book cover for Bad Blood

The shockingly un-put-downable story of Theranos, a multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes. Once seen as the next Steve Jobs, Holmes claimed she could revolutionise medicine with a new blood-testing machine, and on the back of this promise the company raised $9 billion in share sales. There was only one problem: the machine didn't work. Prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou tells the riveting story of his efforts to uncover the truth, despite pressure from the charismatic Silicon Valley CEO and threats from her lawyers. Bad Blood is set to be adapted as a film, with Jennifer Lawrence starring.

Empire of Pain

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for Empire of Pain

Described by the Washington Post as 'one of the most anticipated books of this spring', Empire of Pain is the story of three generations of the Sackler family, and their role in the stories of Valium and Oxycontin . . .

As one of the richest families in the world, the Sacklers are known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that they were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.

This masterpiece of narrative reporting is the secret history of the Sackler dynasty.

Fake Law

by The Secret Barrister

Book cover for Fake Law

The epidemic of fake news continues, with amateurs spreading ‘fake law’ through our media. Enter the Secret Barrister, to make sure readers are informed on how the British legal system really works. Revealing the truth behind many of the biggest legal stories of recent years, the Secret Barrister debunks the lies and shows us how the law touches every area of our lives.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

by Emmanuel Acho

Book cover for Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

This timely non-fiction book on race and racism from the host of the viral video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man is an essential guide to systemic racism and how to address it. Emmanuel  Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white people are afraid to ask – yet which everyone needs the answers to, now more than ever.

Discover the best non-fiction books of 2021. 



For even more gift ideas, don't miss this episode of Book Break:

The Book Break Christmas Gift Guide 2019 | #BookBreak