The Countdown is on – the shopping clock is ticking!

Posted on Nov 30 2016 - 12:00pm by Claire Herbaux
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So, it is time to make a list again: Who gets what? Who wants what? How to avoid doubles? Which book don’t they have yet?

I have tried to pick a few books which make great gifts, but are not mainstream enough for your reader friends to already have them.

For crime readers, I suggest you stick to Christmas themed books; it reduces the chance of your friend already having it, and at least it’s seasonal. So, there is P.D. James short stories (include link to last review), and some others. Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie wrote a new Poirot mystery called Closed Casket – The New Hercule Poirot Mystery. It is Sophie Hannah’s second take at Hercule Poirot. Murder in Midwinter, by Fleur Hitchcock is another little seasonal one for crime lovers.

If you know the person a little better (or if they are good at updating their Goodreads account), take a look at the lists of best books of 2016 and pick one they haven’t read (or even better, which they have marked as to read). Though American, one of my favourites is Powell’s. There’s also the Times  and the New York Times and your large book stores each have their best sellers list as well.

If you are looking for non-fiction options, two caught my eye this year.

One is Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall. Have you seen the maps comparing the United States to the rest of the world or the ones layering all of Europe inside Australia? This book is similar, but with a political outlook. It is almost like a mind game which will get you thinking, all based around these ten maps.

The other is Hidden Histories, by Mary-Ann Ochota. I devoured this one. Anyone who likes a walk around the British countryside (or even used to travel – think of the grandparents), can take this as a bible; or an encyclopedia, if you prefer. It explains everything from the layout of fields, to the walls, churches and signposts we can find when we move around the country. How can you tell how old a building is? Between all this information, what I found most fascinating is the depth of the book. Everything is covered, even the things you didn’t think could hint at the history of a place. Did you know a plant could be a clue?


For about anyone, but mainly for families, Christmas Days, 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days is great! It is even ideal if you are giving this just before Christmas, so your friends can read Jeanette Winterson’s stories during the 12 days of Christmas.

Otherwise, I always suggest digging a little bit. Think of what your friends or family like. There are books on everything out there. A lot of non-fiction, a lot of books on travel (think of all those friends who make it a plan at New Year to travel more), diaries, books on day-to-day improvement.

Here are my two secret tips of books I am giving this year because I know many of my friends will love them, but hardly know they exist. Since the book is always better, these are TV related books. Veronica Mars was a show, then it was a successful film, and now it’s over. Or is it? There are actually two books by producer Rob Thomas, which take place after the film of 2014.

And, because we ALL love Gilmore Girls, and A Year In The Life was over way too quickly, think about bulk ordering Lauren Graham’s new book Talking As Fast As I Can. The last part is a diary Graham held during the shooting of the mini series.

Happy book giving!

ps. If you want a little tip on wrapping books (although we are lucky, books are quite easy shapes!), I wrapped mine in brown paper last year and printed off covers of old classics to stick n as a fake cover. It wasn’t much of a secret there were books inside – there always are – but it looked lovely under the tree

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