Alternative Gift Guides for Book Lovers 2016

• Dec 21, 2016 •

Left your holiday shopping late this year? We’ve got a quick list for you that will get everyone on your list sorted with some magnificent titles. Glance and go, or read the full guides.

Books for…

Your Precocious Teenage Niece

 precocious niece

You’re sure you didn’t look so mature when you were that age, and you definitely spent less time watching screens, huddled indoors, but neither of these facts can account for your inability to understand your niece. You could spend the next few years perplexed, or you could remember that by this age, everyone that didn’t live with you was already treating you like an adult.

Pretty_Iconic_UK.indd Foxlowe All the Light We Cannot See
Left to right: Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes (4th Estate), Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg (4th Estate), All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (4th Estate)

Read the full guide here.


Your Eco-Warrior Brother

Eco Warrior Brother

Your brother is still championing green. At first, you thought it was just the aftermath of his (second) gap year spent decadently roaming Latin America and South-East Asia (but never Thailand, Thailand is so 2009), however, after buying a new bicycle, joining The Green Party, scoring within the lowest 10% of Channel 4’s ‘Human Footprint Calculator’ test and embarking on a new ‘minimalist’ approach to his interior decorating, you – no longer sceptical but still amused – decide to help him embrace his new lifestyle with a few festive treats…

Raptor THE GREAT SOUL OF SIBERIA: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger Barkskins
Left to right: RAPTOR: A Journey Through Birds by James Macdonald Lockhart (4th Estate), THE GREAT SOUL OF SIBERIA: In Search of the Elusive Siberian Tiger by Sooyong Park (William Collins), BARKSKINS by Annie Proulx (4th Estate)

Read the full guide here.


Your Painfully Hip Cousin

painfully hip cousin

Your cousin has always been cooler than you. When you were kids she had more shinies in her Pokémon card deck, when you were at high school her indie band played all the house parties you weren’t invited to, and now she sneers at your Gap shirts while serving you artisanal coffee from her pop-up in Shoreditch boxpark. Buying her a present is always like entering a cultural minefield – how can you possibly avoid humiliation by the Christmas tree? Well, you can start by getting her any one of these six books, all so edgy they’ll give you papercuts:

Barbara the Slut and Other People A Life Discarded Purity
Left to right: Barabara The Slut by Lauren Holmes (4th Estate), A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters (4th Estate),  Purity by Jonathan Franzen (4th Estate)

Read the full guide here.


Your New Father-in-Law


So it turns out that you and your new father-in-law have become great friends. A mutual love of his progeny and your spouse probably helps. But at Christmas, the dread still creeps in – not at the prospect of spending time with him, but because you’ve no idea what to get him. Enter our Christmas buying guide!

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Land Rover Ben Fogle A Life in Questions Jeremy Paxman
Left to right: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (Hodder & Stoughton), Land Rover: The Story of the Car That Conquered the World by Ben Fogle (William Collins),  A Life in Questions by Jeremy Paxman (William Collins)

Read the full guide here.


Your All-American Aunt

american aunt

 She wishes she had been born not within the sound of Bow Bells but within the roar of the Yankee Stadium. Her childhood heroes were Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. Her hair is Barbie blonde and her tan Californian, she drinks Manhattans just to say the name and insists on calling the pavement ‘the sidewalk’. You may not be able to buy her a one-way ticket to JFK but you can certainly make her holidays very happy indeed with one of the books from this collection of classic and contemporary works from the good old U S of A.

The Sport of Kingsbeautiful-and-the-damned Essential Bukowski: Poetry by Charles Bukowski, Edited by Abel Debritto
Left to right: The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan (4th Estate), The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Penguin), Essential Bukowski: Poetry by Charles Bukowski (4th Estate)

Read the full guide here.


Your Rocker Dad


Your dad was there. Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour. Isle of Wight 1970. The Who when they recorded Live at Leeds. The early days of Punk. The Stones… God knows how many times. He still has all his old LPs, all his old tour T-shirts – which he would wear running if they still fitted. His baldness, sensible job and family have not changed who he essentially is, which is a ROCKER! The trouble is, you can’t get him records for Christmas, because he already has them all, including, and especially, EPs by The Next Big Thing, who you’ve never heard of. Fortunately, words by the million continue to be written about music old and new…

Born to Run Bruce Springsteen Telegraph Avenue Face the Other Way: The Story of 4AD Martin Aston
Left to right: Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster), Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (4th Estate), Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD by Martin Aston (HarperCollins Publishers)

Read the full guide here.




Not quite a fresh out of uni graduate and not yet a fully-fledged professional, your sister returns home to do some serious thinking – where is she going? What is she doing? And worst of all – what does she even want to do?  It’s hard being young, and even harder being young, qualified and unemployed. Here are a selection of thoughtful and thought-provoking books to help and to guide her through that quarter-life existential crisis…

Stressed Unstressed    The Means of Escape Penelope Fitzgerald    The Atomic Weight of Love
Left to right: Stressed, Unstressed: Classic Poems to Ease the Mind by Jonathan Bate, Paula Byrne, Sophie Ratcliffe, Andrew Schuman (William Collins), The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald (4th Estate), The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church (4th Estate)
Read the full guide here.



He’s always been troublesome but recently his habits have strayed dangerously close to a life of petty crime – stealing your things, breaking your things, scaring you, annoying you, bothering you when you’ve just sat down to work/relax/eat/sleep and generally making life unbearable. And when he’s not practicing criminal behaviour he’s obsessed with others’ – looking through your bins, your neighbour’s bins, crawling round the garden in search of…what?…and why again? What he needs is some dense and gripping crime fiction to calm his wayward ways (or shut him up for a little bit at least) and engage powers of deduction…

 High-Rise   A Cold Death   Game of Spies Paddy Ashdown
Left to right: High-Rise by J. G. Ballard (4th Estate), A Cold Death by Antonio Mazini (4th Estate), Game of Spies by Paddy Ashdown (William Collins)

Read the full guide here.





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