The 30 best books to gift for Christmas 2023

Whether you're searching for something for a literature lover, or anyone else on your Christmas list, we've got you covered with our selection of the best books to give as gifts this festive season. 

Whoever you're buying for, 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 interesting alternative to a bottle of wine or box of biscuits. And, if you’ve already done all your present wrapping this year, it could be time you treated yourself.

If you're looking for a Christmas present for the little bookworm in your life, discover our favourite Christmas books for kids.

Classic Christmas Crime Stories

by David Stuart Davies

Book cover for Classic Christmas Crime Stories

Christmas is not always the season of goodwill. As this hugely entertaining collection shows, it can also be the season of mysterious deaths, hidden poison bottles and blunt instruments. This collection of eleven stories from the Golden Age of British crime writing features festive whodunnits by Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. There are unexplained deaths by all manner of suspects and dastardly Christmas crimes to be solved. Each story is brilliantly plotted – some deliciously tense, others laced with humour – and each is bound to thoroughly entertain.

Round About the Christmas Tree

by Becky Brown

Book cover for Round About the Christmas Tree

Round About the Christmas Tree is the perfect Christmas gift for book lovers, as all facets of the festive season are represented here in one gorgeous volume. From Charles Dickens to Arthur Conan Doyle, there’s a Christmas story here for everyone. Part of Macmillan Collector’s Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers, this book is perhaps best suited as a stocking-filler. 

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. For more inspiration, discover our favourite Christmas poems.

American Classics Collection

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book cover for American Classics Collection

All of our beautifully clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers make beautiful gifts, but better still is this collection of American classics. The box set includes The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, with new introductions and bespoke covers. Whether you're looking for the glamour of upper-class New York, the history of Puritan New England or the hard times of late nineteenth-century Mississippi, pivotal American literature unfolds in this collection of classic novels.

Enchanted Tales & Happily Ever Afters

by Macmillan Collector's Library

Book cover for Enchanted Tales & Happily Ever Afters

Ten of the world’s most famous and cherished fairy stories published in a beautiful, cloth-bound gift edition together with gorgeous, classic illustrations in colour and black and white throughout. We’ve all grown up with fairy tales, whether it be through children’s books, on screen or in modern retellings. Enchanted Tales & Happily Ever Afters is a very carefully and lovingly curated book that features ten of the most popular fairy stories in the world. Each story goes back to the source from which so much has sprung, from picture books and stage shows, to animated films and their live action interpretations.

Book cover for A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Book cover for Why Friendship Matters

Why Friendship Matters

Book cover for Classic Cat Stories

Classic Cat Stories

Book cover for Classic Dog Stories

Classic Dog Stories

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With You Every Step

by Rob Burrow

Book cover for With You Every Step

Another book that beautifully celebrates friendship is With You Every Step. The moving affection between rugby legends, fundraising heroes and best friends Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield has inspired and uplifted the nation. In this truly special, pocket-sized gift book, heartfelt words from Rob and Kevin are brought to life with artwork from leading illustrators, to create an inspiring and hopeful celebration of love, support and connection. Exploring universal truths and celebrating kindness, empathy and the joy of friendship, With You Every Step is the perfect way to show the special people in your life, young and old, just how much they mean to you.

Queen of our Times

by Robert Hardman

Book cover for Queen of our Times

This is the definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth II by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities. With original insights from those who knew her best, interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compellingly authoritative yet intimate biography.

A Book Lover’s Guide to the Zodiac

by Charlie Castelletti

Book cover for A Book Lover’s Guide to the Zodiac

A Book Lover’s Guide to the Zodiac marries astrology and literature by connecting both writers and fictional characters to the twelve different star signs and their particular traits. Astrology and literature have so much in common: our star signs help us to understand ourselves, our motivations and our behaviour, whilst reading enables us to make sense of the world, our own characters and those around us. With a chapter devoted to each star sign, and featuring entertaining extracts and poetry by classic writers, there’s much to learn here. Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library, these beautiful books make perfect gifts for any book lover.

A Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World

by González Macías

There is something beautiful and wild in the impossible architecture of lighthouses. They have been the homes and workplaces of men and women whose romantic guardianship has saved countless lives from cruel seas. Yet while that way of life fades away, we still have their stories. With over thirty tales that explore the depths to which we can sink and the heights to which we can soar as human beings, and accompanied by beautiful illustrations, nautical charts, maps, architectural plans and curious facts, A Brief Atlas of the Lighthouses at the End of the World is as full of wonder as the far-flung lighthouses themselves.

Kurashi at Home

by Marie Kondo

Book cover for Kurashi at Home

Create an oasis of calm and find what sparks your joy with the first full-colour, beautifully photographed guide from Marie Kondo. Over a decade on from the launch of her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo is back with new wisdom on how to transform your life and home into spaces of calm. This guide introduces the concept of kurashi – meaning way of life – and encourages readers to spend every day in the pursuit of joy, moving her focus from the physical act of tidying towards an even more holistic and personal approach to curating our environments.

The Greatest Self-Help Book (is the one written by you)

by Vex King

Book cover for The Greatest Self-Help Book (is the one written by you)

Prepare to go on a journey of self-exploration with the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Good Vibes, Good Life and Healing is the New High, Vex King and social media star, Kaushal. Filled with exercises, activities and visual prompts, this journal will help you to understand and regulate your emotions, build and maintain routines and habits that work for you, shift negative mindsets and cultivate positive thought patterns, track personal growth, build self-awareness and carve out time to practise self-love and gratitude.

Stay True

by Hua Hsu

Book cover for Stay True

What better book to gift to a friend than one that celebrates the power of friendship? And that is exactly what Stay True does. This memoir starts as Hua Hsu meets Ken in a Berkeley dorm room – and hates him. A frat boy with terrible taste in music, Ken seems exactly like everyone else. The only thing Hua, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, and Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the US for generations, have in common is that American culture doesn’t have a place for them. A coming-of-age cut short, and a portrait of a beautiful friendship, this is a moving story about growing up and moving through the world in search of belonging.

Went to London, Took the Dog: A Diary

by Nina Stibbe

Book cover for Went to London, Took the Dog: A Diary

Ten years after the publication of the prize-winning Love, Nina comes the author’s diary of her return to London in her sixty-first year. After twenty years, Nina Stibbe, accompanied by her dog Peggy, stays with writer Debby Moggach in London for a year. With few obligations, Nina explores the city, reflecting on her past and embracing new experiences. From indulging in banana splits to navigating her son's dating life, this diary captures the essence of a sixty-year-old runaway finding her place as a "proper adult" once and for all.

Berserker!

by Adrian Edmondson

Book cover for Berserker!

Christmas is the time to have a good old laugh, and that is just what master of comedy, Adrian Edmondson's, new autobiography provides. From brutal schooldays to 80s anarchy, through The Young Ones and beyond, Berserker! is the one-of-a-kind, fascinating memoir. His star-studded anecdotes and outrageous stories are set to a soundtrack of pop hits, transporting the reader through time and cranking up the nostalgia. But, as one would expect, these stories are also a guaranteed laugh as Ade traces his journey through life and comedy. 

Seek

by Scott Shigeoka

Book cover for Seek

Christmas can be a difficult time for some, but luckily curiosity expert, Scott Shigeoka, is here to help open our minds, heal relationships, and connect across divides. At a time when tensions over race, religion, age, gender identity, rights, economic status, and more have fractured our lives, curiosity is the key to fostering connection, growth, and healing. Seek shows us how to unlock deep curiosity, strengthen this fundamental human skill and build courage. A must-read for our times, this book will help shift perspectives, understand differences and lead a more curious life.

Beyond the Story

by BTS

Book cover for Beyond the Story

Marking BTS's 10th anniversary, this is the band's first official book, unlocking a treasure trove of unseen photographs and exclusive content – a must-have for any fans of the band or K-Pop in general. As digital artists, BTS has been communicating with the world through the internet and this book allows readers to immediately access trailers, music videos, and more online to have a rich understanding of all the key moments in BTS's history. Complete with a milestone timeline, Beyond the Story stands as the comprehensive archive, encapsulating the essence of BTS and showcasing their extraordinary evolution.

Colouring books for adults

Book cover for The Little Book of Calm Colouring

The Little Book of Calm Colouring

Book cover for The Mindfulness Colouring Book

The Mindfulness Colouring Book

Book cover for The Mindfulness Moments Colouring Book

The Mindfulness Moments Colouring Book

Book cover for Art of Mindfulness

Art of Mindfulness

Book cover for ...and Relax

...and Relax

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The Trees

by Percival Everett

Book cover for The Trees

Shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, Sunday Times Fiction Book of the Year and Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2022, this book is not short of accolades. And while it came out last year, this brand new edition makes the perfect gift for 2023. When the rural town of Money, Mississippi is beset by a series of brutal murders, a pair of detectives arrive. Then, a second corpse appears: a man resembling Emmett Till, the young Black boy lynched in the same town sixty-five years earlier and what begins as a murder investigation soon becomes a journey into the soul of America’s violent past.

Trust

by Hernan Diaz

Book cover for Trust

As winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Trust is undoubtedly one of the novels of the year and thus a great gift for readers of literary fiction. Everyone in 1920s New York knows of Benjamin and Helen Rask, the Wall Street tycoon and the daughter of bohemian aristocrats. They live in a sphere of untold wealth, but what is the true cost of their fortune? This mystery sits at the heart of a bestselling novel that all of New York has read. But, like all stories, there are different perspectives. Hernan Diaz tracks these narratives across a century and documents the truth-bending power of money, with provocative revelations at each turn.

The Passenger

by Cormac McCarthy

Book cover for The Passenger

Literary great Cormac McCarthy's much-anticipated duology, The Passenger and  Stella Maris, are released in paperback this year and are the perfect gift for book-lovers. It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wetsuit and plunges from the boat deck into darkness. His divelight illuminates a sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats. Missing from the crash site are the plane’s black box, and the tenth passenger. But how? The Passenger and Stella Maris are breathtaking novels of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness, and some of the final works by Cormac McCarthy. 

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Before We Say Goodbye

by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Book cover for Before We Say Goodbye

This is the fourth and latest book in Toshikazu Kawaguchi's Before the Coffee Gets Cold series. He invites us back once more to Cafe Funiculi Funicula to meet four new visitors with four intriguing time-travelling stories, including a man who lived without regret until his wife was brain damaged, realising he regretted never telling her how she made him feel, and a woman who couldn’t answer a proposal. This is the perfect gift for fans of the series, or better still introduce new readers to the phenomenon and buy the whole set, which looks gorgeous altogether on the shelves. 

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Stone Blind

by Natalie Haynes

Book cover for Stone Blind

Long-listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction this year, Stone Blind is a great gift for fans of historcial fiction with a mythical twist. This retelling of the famed myth of Medusa asks who the real monsters are, after all. The sole mortal raised in a family of gods, Medusa is alone in her ability to experience change and to be hurt. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and she is changed forever. This is at once a fierce feminist novel, a re-telling of a Greek myth and a great work of fiction, making it one of the must-reads of the year. 

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Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

Book cover for Red, White & Royal Blue

A real book of the moment and now a Prime original film, there's no better romantic comedy to to gift this Christmas than Red, White & Royal Blue. Alex Claremont-Diaz is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House ever since his mother became President of the US. There’s only one problem. When the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an altercation between Alex and Prince Henry, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family and state devise a plan for damage control: stage a truce. But what begins as a fake friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. 

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

The last book in The Seven Sisters series, a series that celebrates – you guessed it – sisterhood, gift this or any book from the series to your sister (or anyone who likes a good read). In 1928 Paris, a boy is taken in by a kind family but refuses to reveal his true identity. As he grows, falls in love, and faces rising evil across Europe, he knows he must flee again. In 2008, the seven sisters gather to say goodbye to their enigmatic father. Unveiling buried secrets, they confront the startling truth about their father and the lingering impact on their lives today. 

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Homecoming

by Kate Morton

Book cover for Homecoming

From the bestselling author of The Clockmaker's Daughter comes a breathtaking mystery of love and lies told with trademark intricacy and beauty. The story begins in the Adelaide Hills in 1959 when a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. Sixty years later, when Jess returns to her family home in Sydney, she discovers a true crime book that reveals a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime. An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love and the healing nature of truth. 

More Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

by Alexandra Potter

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

Nell’s back. Her life still isn’t going to plan. And she’s still asking the big questions and getting none of the answers. Like, for example: why is falling in love so easy, but staying in love so hard? What do you do when your friendships are put to the ultimate test? In this hilarious, un-put-downable follow-up to the bestselling Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up, now the basis for the major TV series, Not Dead Yet, there are laugh-out-loud lessons to be learned, truths to be told, adventures to go on and joys to discover. But first, Nell has some more confessions.

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The Raging Storm

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for The Raging Storm

The Raging Storm is the latest book from thriller aficionado, Ann Cleeves, making this the perfect gift for those who love a page-turner. When enigmatic sailor Jem Rosco arrives in Greystone, Devon, the town are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. But when he disappears and is later found dead during a storm, DI Matthew Venn faces an uncomfortable case. Having left the Barum Brethren community in Greystone, Venn's judgment is clouded by superstitions and rumors as another body is discovered in Scully Cove. Isolated by the storm, Venn and his team embark on a perilous investigation, unaware that their own lives may be at risk. 

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Stop Them Dead

by Peter James

Book cover for Stop Them Dead

Another great gift for crime thriller fans is the latest Peter James novel, Stop Them Dead. For avid readers of the genre, you could even gift a bundle with the Ann Cleeves novel listed above. In the dead of night, a farmer hears a suspicious noise. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: a break-in. When he confronts the intruders, he has no idea that he will be left lying in a pool of blood just minutes later. But the chilling truth lies not in the act itself, but what the perpetrators were willing to kill for. And Roy Grace’s investigation into this deadly trade pits him against some of the most ruthless people he has ever encountered . . . 

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The Cat Who Solved Three Murders

by L T Shearer

Book cover for The Cat Who Solved Three Murders

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders by L T Shearer is a charming cosy crime gift for fans of Richard Osman and S. J. Bennett. Retired police detective Lulu Lewis’s life changed forever when she met a street cat named Conrad. There’s something very special about Conrad, but it’s a secret she has to keep to herself. When Lulu takes her narrowboat to Oxford, she is planning nothing more stressful than attending a friend’s birthday party. And drinking a few glasses of Chardonnay. But a brutal murder and a daring art theft means her plans are shattered – instead, she and Conrad find themselves on the trail of a killer.

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Christmas Eve at The Moon Under Water

by Carol Ann Duffy

Book cover for Christmas Eve at The Moon Under Water

The enchanting festive poem from Carol Ann Duffy, former Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, and adorned with sumptuous illustrations by artist Margaux Carpentier, Christmas Eve at The Moon Under Water is the perfect festive gift for the poetry lover in your life. As all the old rivalries of the natural world are suspended for one miraculous night, a man stands shoulder to shoulder with an animal, and predator and prey add warble and wail to the Yuletide chorus.

And So This is Christmas

by Brian Bilston

Book cover for And So This is Christmas

With his signature wit, Brian Bilston returns with And So This is Christmas, fifty-one poems in celebration of the festive season: from bizarre family traditions to the office Christmas party; from voting day for turkeys to the impossible art of gift-giving. Wrap this up as a stocking-filler, pop it under the tree or read it aloud at Christmas dinner to get the whole table laughing. 

365 Poems for Life

by Allie Esiri

Book cover for 365 Poems for Life

365 Poems for Life, an uplifting poem-a-day collection from award-winning curator Allie Esiri, is the perfect gift for any poetry lover as we enter the New Year. This nourishing poem-a-day collection offers readers a brief moment of escape from daily life through some of the warmest words in the English language. Whether you’re searching for wisdom or looking to boost your wellbeing, dip into this anthology to share with others or enjoy a quiet moment of calm every day of the year.