It’s only four days until Christmas day, it’s my last day at work before I go home for Christmas, and I haven’t done all my Christmas shopping yet.
This is because I am a disorganised disaster, and it takes me a long time to decide what to get for people.
So if you, like me, are struggling for what to get someone for Christmas, allow me to impart my wisdom to you: BOOKS.
Books are an excellent Christmas gift. They aren’t particularly heavy. They’re available everywhere.
And, most importantly, they’re rectangular.
Having been co-opted into wrapping star-shaped boxes for my mother, being rectangular is now very high up on my list of criteria for excellent presents…
Therefore, if I were re-buying Christmas presents, here are my top picks of books (which I read this year) for gifting.
Bear in mind that, as I read almost entirely YA, there is a very serious YA slant to this particular list. I’m not even sorry. There is such diversity in YA, it seems reductive to categorise it all together.
All The Bright Places
This book made me bawl my eyes out. On a bus. In public. Where I should not have been reading it. For a book that will give you that cathartic sob, this is your main choice. Or if you just hate someone and want to make them miserable, this is also good.
The Girl From Everywhere
If you have someone who dreams of far-off places and adventures and derring-do, this is the book for them. Nix is a feisty, driven heroine, and is perfect to inspire any adventurer.
Now, in fairness, reading Hollowgirl without having started the trilogy would make no sense, so if you’ve gotta get a present for someone whose mind skews towards the scientific, I highly recommend Twinmaker, to start off this d-mat adventure.
What Remains of Me
Taut and packed with tension, this murder mystery with a dead-eyed convicted murderer at its centre is sure to excite and thrill any lover of crime, fiction, or mysteries.
I Know What I’m Doing – And Other Lies I Tell Myself
This is kind of a default, because this is the only non-fiction book I’ve read so far this year, but Jen Kirkman’s wry and amusing observations on the nature of being a grown-up and sorting yourself out to navigate life would make a great gift for anyone.
Trouble Makes A Comeback
Another sequel, this is really a recommendation for its precursor, Trouble is a Friend of mine, which remains the funniest book I’ve read this side of the millennium, I think.
(With a twist)
Our Chemical Hearts
This gorgeous book has at its centre two teenagers who are both trying to navigate the confusing and sometimes heart-breaking journey that is adolescence. Its love stories (there are more than one) are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and will make you cry both sad and happy tears at once. Definitely one for anybody you think loves love.
A Game of Thrones
Not for the faint of heart, this is a difficult one to gift, as any avid fantasy fan will already have read it. However, there is a truly beautiful illustrated edition out this year to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its publication, so you might think about that for a mega-fan, or alternatively gift this book to anyone who you don’t want to see for a month, as it is a seriously hefty chunk of pages.
Although I will admit I didn’t exactly love this book (far from it, in fact), it did get me thinking a lot about war, the nature of command, the difference between loyalty to one’s country and loyalty to one’s commander, and several other points along those lines. Gift this to someone who likes to contemplate the underlying meanings in their reading material.
All The Rage
If you have someone who you just don’t know what to give them, try this book. Although I haven’t written about it on the blog, largely because it’s not easy to read, I really do think it’s worth reading. Carefully drawn, this story of ostracism and sexism is at times hard reading, but definitely worth gifting to anybody – girl or guy – who is or should be interested in matters of consent (which is, in fact, everyone).
So that’s my list for you. This isn’t necessarily my favourite books of the year, but the ones I think would be the best gifts. And if all else fails? Book tokens!