• Thu. May 30th, 2024

The Christmas book gift guide

ByTara Williams

Dec 7, 2023
christmas market

By giving someone you love a book, you’re giving them the opportunity for an adventure, an escape, or a ticket into a whole new world. Here’s six recommendations of thoughtful gifts for all of the most important people in your life this Christmas.

For someone who has had a tough year:

Midnight Chicken & Other Recipes Worth Living For by Ella Risbridger

Risbridger collects verbs as if they were their own ingredients in this food memoir. Full of simple recipes that read like poetry as well as the stories associated with them, she focuses on the love and ceremony that can be put into the act of cooking as an act of survival. Recounting Risbridger’s own struggle through a depressive episode, these recipes offer a warm embrace to a struggling friend or family member, and reveal how cooking can become an act of self-love or even just an essential distraction from the harder parts of life.  

For the friend who loves literature:

History of the Rain by Niall Williams 

Set in the wilds of Ireland, this beautiful book follows 19-year-old Ruth Swaine, who is confined to her attic room due to illness. From there, she narrates the sprawling Swaine family history through the books in her unpublished poet father’s library, and the romantically wild Irish landscape she can see from her bedroom window. This book is a love story to the classics, and a friend who knows their Joyce from their Woolfe will be able to fully appreciate how Williams draws on these classic texts to enhance the poetic wittiness of his own book. 

For the friend who’s been stressed this semester:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A tale of sword fights, kidnapping, revenge, romance and mystery, this book has everything a friend needs to escape from their stressful life. When Buttercup, the most beautiful girl in the world, marries the most handsome Prince in the world, it does not make for a happy ending. This deceivingly infantile plot is humorous and pacy as well as being intertwined with a confusingly meta subplot. Your stressed friend will be transported to the bemusing fantasy world of William Goldman and forget all about their deadlines. 

For the friend who doesn’t read:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Even if they have already watched the brilliant TV adaptation, your non-reader friend will love the pacy script format of this book, where the characters are given more space and time to develop than the TV show can afford. This sun-drenched ‘60s plot follows a band from its formation to its abrupt demise; we hear from each character’s point of view on how the excesses of fame caused the band’s untimely ruin. This book will show your non-reader friend why the book is always better!

For the friend navigating their 20s:

Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth

This book is quoted as having inspired the now cult classic Everything I Know about Love by Dolly Alderton. Instead of the eternal message of love and friendship that underpins Alderton’s drunken adventures, this book pursues a darker route of excess and toxic friendship. Following two flatmates who have been inseparable since university, Unsworth slowly shows the cracks in this friendship as they navigate jealousy, substance abuse, and just general adulthood, ultimately revealing that sometimes friends just outgrow one another. 

For a friend who is always there for you:

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Following two video game developers who have known each other since they were children, Zevin has finally written the love story that platonic male-female friendships deserve. These two are each other’s soulmates in everything except romance. Tracking their lives from their initial entanglement as kids playing video games together to their eventual co-ownership of a company, this book shows the ups and downs that come with unconditional friendship. This book will show the friend that is always there for you, that it goes both ways. 

Christmas time / Czas świąt” by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Pol is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0