With December in full swing and all the fairy lights and Christmas trees already up, it’s time to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. To spend time with family and loved ones and give something back to them. Whether you do presents for Christmas or not, it’s the time when we all sit back and think hard about how could we make the people closest to us happy. And in my family, the answer is always books.
Even if your family member or loved one is not a passionate reader a good book always makes for a nice gift. Now it’s only a question of guessing what they would like. Since about halfway through November, I have been barraged by book gift guides left and right but to my surprise, I found most of them unhelpful. They are often divided into sections by the person you are buying the gift for (mother, father, friend etc.). Maybe I’m surrounded by people with anti-stereotypical taste in literature but I can never find what I’m looking for. That’s why I decided to take a different approach and divided this guide by genre.
Sci-fi / Fantasy
A good science fiction or fantasy book will definitely make the scientist/dreamer in your life happy. For me, it’s my dad. His extensive collection first awoken the nerd in me and that’s why I love buying books for him the most. This year I’ve chosen Artemis by Andy Weir (author of The Martian). Artemis is a winner of the Goodreads Choice Award 2017 in the Science Fiction category, so it’s a must-read for all sci-fi fans.
Other great options are Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by an acclaimed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. This one is a bit older but there’s a major movie adaptation coming in 2018 starring Natalie Portman. And we all know it’s better to read the book before seeing the movie.
For a fan of the fantasy genre, my best recommendation is the Shades of Magic trilogy. With the final book, A Conjuring of Light released this year, you can make someone happy without the gruelling cliffhangers. Also in this category are the timeless classics American Gods and Good Omens. Both have TV series adaptations either already released or coming next year and make a wonderful gift, especially the collector’s edition.
Mystery / Thriller
Any book from this category should be a guaranteed success. If you’re buying for someone you don’t know that well I consider a best-selling thriller your safest bet. I’m gifting my mum Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Also a Goodreads Choice Award 2017 winner and a great gift for anyone who loved The Girl on the Train. Another one I will be buying for our family library is Origin by Dan Brown. Brown doesn’t disappoint and brings yet another thrilling, chilling and incredibly relevant mystery.
Great pick for a fan of Nordic noir is I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjørk. If you’re buying for a more demanding reader, you can try Mindhunter: Inside the FBI Elite Serial Crime Unit. It was this very book that inspired the hit Netflix TV show Mindhunter.
Romance / Historcal fiction
I must admit this category is a complete mystery to me. Even though I read my share of historical fiction when I was younger, courtesy of my sister’s bookshelf, romance is a genre I reserve for my best friend. When I want to make my sister happy I go for anything by Ken Follett, the best in historical fiction. His newest book is A Column of Fire. Other great picks are the popular Outlander, also a Netflix show, and The Last Hours. A gripping tale of a small English town during an outbreak of the Black Death is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. My personal favourite in this category is The Bronze Horseman which even got on my TBR list.
If your friend’s romantic heart desires a love story from this century, I recommend Call Me By Your Name, also a critically acclaimed movie. If they like a little mystery with their romance get them Big Little Lies. And if they like things spicy, you can also go for Darker by E.L. James.
I hope this guide helps you solve some of your gift buying dilemmas. If you still feel that particularly picky loved one wouldn’t like anything from this list, stay tuned for part two, where I pick the best out of young adult books, graphic novels and other lovely bookish gifts for your bookworms.