Christmas gift guide: gifts for book lovers

We've put together our edit of the best books of 2019, so 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.

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Whether you’re buying a gift for 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 2019’s most exciting releases, suitable for every reader. 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 music lover


by Elton John

Book cover for 9781509853311

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

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

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

For the documentary enthusiast

Gotta Get Theroux This

Book cover for 9781509880362

Louis Theroux is back, but this time in book form. He has made a career from giving us sensitive yet honest glimpses into the lives of others, and now he has invited us into his own. If you know one of the millions of people who love a good Louis documentary, then you know what you can give them this holiday season.

Discover Louis Theroux’s top five documentaries.

Don’t miss our ‘Did Louis really say that?’ quiz.

For the one who loves to laugh

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas

by Adam Kay

Book cover for 9781529018585

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 poet

Frost Fair

by Carol Ann Duffy

Book cover for 9781509848171

Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of Christmas poems grows taller every year and she hasn’t let us down this time around. You may even already know someone who collects these beautifully illustrated narrative poems. Whether you give one or ten, these books make the perfect seasonal present for any poetry lover.

Discover all Carol Ann Duffy’s Christmas poems. 

For the crime and thriller fan

A Nearly Normal Family

by M. T. Edvardsson

Book cover for 9781529008128

A Nearly Normal Family is the stunning psychological thriller everyone has been talking about this year. When their daughter becomes the main suspect in a murder case, Adam and Ulrika are forced to confront the question: ‘how far would you go to protect your child?’ Part thriller, part courtroom drama, this is a book every crime and thriller fan should have on their shelves.

Read an extract from A Nearly Normal Family.

Discover the best crime and thriller books of 2019, and what’s to come in 2020.

For the literature lover 

Dear Mrs Bird

by AJ Pearce

Book cover for 9781509853922

As bombs fall on 1940’s London, Emmy dreams of assisting the war effort as a fearless Lady War Correspondent. Unfortunately, after a misunderstanding over a job advert, Emmy instead ends up as a typist for formidable agony aunt Henrietta Bird. But Mrs Bird won’t answer letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, so what can Emmy do but try to help these desperate women herself? With a wonderfully festive new cover, this is a book to fall in love with this Christmas.

Read AJ Pearce on the inspiration behind Dear Mrs Bird.

The Doll Factory

by Elizabeth Macneal

Book cover for 9781529002430

The Doll Factory is the story of Iris, an aspiring painter who agrees to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost in return for painting lessons, and Silas, a collector who develops an unhealthy interest in her. Both a beautifully evocative tale of love and art, and a darkly gripping thriller about obsession, this is a book literature lovers shouldn’t miss.

Discover ten weird and wonderful facts about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 

Read Naomi Frisby on The Doll Factory and the male gaze.


For the aspiring vegan

The 28-Day Vegan Plan

by Kim Julie Hansen

Book cover for 9781509874934

We probably all know someone toying with the idea of giving Veganuary a go in the new year. So why not give them a helping hand with this straightforward and helpful guide to cooking and eating delicious vegan food – perfect for beginners and long-timers.

Read Kim Julie Hansen’s top tips for Veganuary. 

For the indulgent foodie/Queer Eye fan

Antoni in the Kitchen

by Antoni Porowski

Book cover for 9781529010336

Antoni Porowski is the charismatic and easy-on-the-eye food and wine expert on the smash-hit Netflix reality series, Queer Eye. The positive message in his cookbook is about finding your own comfort zone in the kitchen and learning how to make food that you enjoy, whether it be a healthy-ish weeknight dinner or an indulgent sweet treat. Packed full of simple recipes with anything but simplistic flavours, this is the perfect recipe book for aspiring cooks of any skill level.

Discover Antoni’s top ten kitchen mantas.

For the hopeless romantic

The Christmas Party

by Karen Swan

Book cover for 9781529006063

No one does winter romance quite like Karen Swan. Frostbitten backdrops, cosy cabins, and roaring fires – how can two people not fall in love? If you know someone who enjoys a heartwarming yarn on a cold winter’s night, there’s no better book to give them this year.

For the organised (or disorganised) one

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

Book cover for 9781529028355

The world has gone wild for Marie Kondo’s approach to tidying up and organising your life over the past year. We all know someone who can feel a little overwhelmed by the mess that seems to continuously pile up around them. Kondo’s fully illustrated manga introduces the reader to her simple yet effective techniques for living a clutter-free, more streamlined life.

For the fantasy lover

The Name of All Things

by Jenn Lyons

Book cover for 9781509879533

We know what every fantasy lover wants this holiday season, and that’s dragons. Throw in a healthy dose of demons and gods and you’ve got the perfect present in Jenn Lyons’ latest instalment in the A Chorus of Dragons series. An epic novel that follows in the footsteps of fantasy greats whilst maintaining its own unique voice, The Name of All Things is sure to go down a treat this year.

The True Queen

by Zen Cho

Book cover for 9781509801084

Imagine 19th century Britain but with sorcerers and fairies. This magical novel combines intricate world-building, fascinating characters and stunning prose. It’s set in the same world as Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, and readers of her previous work will enjoy this new instalment, while new readers will find it the perfect entry point into Zen’s fantastical writing.

Discover the best fantasy books of 2020. ​


For the sci-fi buff

Children of Ruin

Book cover for 9781509865833

Give the gift of space travel this Christmas with Adrian Tchaikosky’s epic intergalactic adventure. Following on from the award-winning Children of Time, set in the same universe but with a new cast of exciting characters, this book is perfect for both fully immersed sci-fi fans as well as those looking for a place to dive in.

Discover the best science fiction books of 2020. ​

For the student

Tin Can Cook

by Jack Monroe

Book cover for 9781529015287

Is someone you know coming home this winter, desperate for a home-cooked meal after months of pot noodles and takeaways? Help a newly independent youngster out and give them the easiest collection of filling, tasty and inexpensive recipes going.

Make Jack Monroe’s sweetcorn fritters from Tin Can Cook. ​

For the sports fan

My Life and Rugby

by Eddie Jones

Book cover for 9781509850709

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. ​

The Little Red Book of Klopp

by Giles Elliott

Book cover for 9781529012071

English football was well and truly shaken up when Jürgen Klopp was appointed manager of Liverpool F.C. in 2015. Bringing his own unique style of charisma to the beautiful game, watching Klopp manage on the side of the pitch has sometimes been more entertaining than watching what’s happening on it! The Little Red Book of Klopp is packed full of his best witticisms, one-liners, and insults, making it the perfect stocking-filler for football fans and admirers of the game’s most eccentric manager.

For the historian

Eight Days at Yalta

by Diana Preston

Book cover for 9781509868742

When three world leaders, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, met in Yalta, their discussions over the course of eight days would decide the course of not only the final days of WWII but what the world would look like in its aftermath. Preston’s book provides insight into the minds of three men who each saw an opportunity for a new world, and is a must-read for any and all history buffs.

Read Diana Preston on how Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin shaped the post-war world.


by Judith Flanders

Book cover for 9781529003567

For history lovers and Christmas lovers alike, Christmas: A History is a wonderful exploration of the myths, legends and traditions of the festive season. Why is turkey the dinner of choice? Exactly who was, or is, Santa Claus? Acclaimed social historian and author Judith Flanders answers these questions and many more as she gives us an insight into Christmas, from the origins of the holiday in the Roman Empire, to the popularity of decorated trees in Europe.


For the politico

Permanent Record

by Edward Snowden

Book cover for 9781529035650

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.

For the one who just really loves Christmas

Poems for Christmas

by Various

Book cover for 9781509893829

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.

Round About the Christmas Tree

by Becky Brown

Book cover for 9781509866564

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