The Top 10 Christmas Books


It’s that time of year again, and we are all searching for the best Christmas present. The only issue is, people like to be awkward, they’re picky about what they, and with a plethora of options out there everyone has the tough job to find the right gift. However, as Neil Gaiman once said, ‘books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them and it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!’. So, without further ado, here are my top ten books for this Christmas, covering those classic festive reads and some delightful new releases.

The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot
This Penguin Classics reading list is perfect for your typical literature nerd as the authority on books. It spans 4,000 years, 500 authors and 1,200 books with lively descriptions and a beautiful cloth-bound cover. Drawing connections between literature that spans history and the globe, this is a visual showcase of the classics that have made Penguin Classics so excellent.

Perfect for: Classics lovers, literature students, those suffering from readers block.

Nothing by Annie Barrows
This lovely book captures the low-key pleasures of life in a heartwarming female friendship. From the coauthor of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes a book about two teenagers that nothing ever happens to. In an attempt to prove that nothing ever happens, they begin to write down their sophomore year, and they’re surprised by what they find.

Perfect for: The realists, fans of YA and the stroppy teenager of the family.

Eat Happy: 30-minute Feelgood Food by Melisa Hemsley
Hemsley is known for her comfort and indulgence food, and in her latest collection of over 100 recipes, she takes on supermarket ingredients for the time-poor cook. With family dinner ideas, new takes on old favourites, healthier versions of takeaway classics, this is a superb book for spicing up this Christmas’ family meals.

Perfect for: Grandmas, the family cook, and that one person who always takes a picture of the meal before they eat it.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Evelyn Hardcastle dies during the fireworks display of a celebration, but she won’t just die once. This book has been called as Agatha Christie meets Inception in Groundhog Day. Various critics have tried to describe this murder mystery, but the word they seem to settle on is original and brilliant.

Perfect for: Fiction lovers, the Agatha Christie fan, and the family members who prefer Cluedo to Monopoly.

Dynasties: The Rise and Fall of Animal Families by Stephen Moss
Ahead of the new BBC David Attenborough show, this collection takes over 200 photographs from the crew to collate them into a fascinating picture of the planets animal families. With a foreword from Attenborough himself, this book tells the immersive story of shifting hierarchies and family bonds with a different dynasty in each chapter.

Perfect for: Grandparents, amateur photographers, and animal lovers.

Poems To Live Your Life By by Chris Riddell
Chris Riddell’s new book is a collection of his favourite poems, both classic and modern with everything from Shakespeare to Nick Cave. As an added bonus, he’s beautifully illustrated each poem, bringing them to life in a new way. It’s for poetry-lovers everywhere.

Perfect for: Poetry lovers, the family member who takes an art class, and collectors of things that just look pretty.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
Where did we come from? What is inside a black hole? Is there other intelligent life in the universe? How will we survive on earth? These are just a couple of questions this book attempts to answer. Looking at these timeless questions, Hawking takes on the scientific and the intellectually humours to tackle to oldest and hardest topics known to man. As a final book from Stephen Hawking, its a perfect ending to the beginning of a new scientific era.

Perfect for: The family scientist, the know-it-all, and the people you don’t know what to buy for them.

Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories by Noel Streatfeild
From the author of The Ballet Shoes comes a brilliant collection of festive stories. Initially written for annuals and magazines in the 1940’s-60s, this collection of stories varies from the fun to the heartwarming to the exciting adventures. It’s a perfect read for the whole family.

Perfect for: Children in the family, people in the family with children, and… well… children.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Winner of over five prestigious literary awards in the last year, Gail Honeyman’s debut novel has undoubtedly been a success. Following the life of Eleanor Oliphant who has learnt to survive rather than live, this is the tale of someone who learns to look at life again. This poignant and funny book challenges you to look at life, friendship, and contemporary society in a whole new way.

Perfect for: The slightly mad aunty who always has a book in her hands, the joyful and the somewhat quirky one.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
It’s impossible not to do a Christmas book guide without mentioning the festival tale of all festive books. Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is without question a must read around this time of year. It incorporates the Christmas ghost story tradition with a moral tale of charity and kindness. This book has influenced countless more tales and adaptations, making it worth a revisit to old Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas.

Perfect for: Everyone, anyone, and particularly the family Scrooge.

Books are one of those great gifts that show you really know a person, their tastes and what they’re interested in. Or they’re a gift you give someone you’ve no idea what to get but have to buy something for them regardless. Luckily, you now have a list of suggestions (Merry Christmas), leaving you to eat mince pies and relax for the holiday season.

Ruth-Anne Walbank

My name is Ruth, and I'm the Editor of SCAN for 2019-20. I have been the Arts and Culture Editor in 2018-19, and the Deputy Arts and Culture Editor before that. I've written over 80 articles for SCAN across a variety of sections.
If you have any questions about the newspaper, feel free to message me!

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