Books: the best books to offer at Christmas

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Stuck buying a gift for your loved ones this Christmas? A book always does the trick, whether the recipient is interested in cooking, crafts, history or health.

There are biting thrillers, family dramas, and feel-good romances, plus a plethora of hobby guides and autobiographies.

These books will likely inspire friends or family to retreat to a cozy nook for a quiet hour between the festivities this year…

FOR THE COOK…

After Christmas excesses, Real Life Recipes from top chef Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26) is the perfect palate cleanser. Kerridge brings us stress-free dishes like smoked beef and bean pie, roast pork and cheddar sausage rolls, while being more than aware of the cost of living crisis.

It features recipes using many of the basics you probably already have in your kitchen, including “pantry spaghetti” or “refrigerator raid soup.”

FOR HISTORY…

Beating the drum for history’s unsung heroines, Women’s Prize founder Kate Mosse presents Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries (Mantle, £20), a brilliant account of the lives of nearly 1,000 women who deserve be better known.

It’s great to dive in and out of, as it’s divided into 10 sections covering a different side of success – from warrior queens to pioneer women of the Bar, female inventors and scientists, philanthropists and conservationists, writers and activists.

FOR THE CRAFTSMAN…

Anyone who loves the TV show will enjoy the tie-in book, The Repair Shop: Life In The Barn (Kyle Books, £22), where resident experts explain their love for their craft and tell personal stories about their favorite repairs.

And if you fancy some crafts, dive into Tom Daley’s first knitting and crocheting book, Made With Love (HQ, £28), where the Olympic diver shows how to make everything from giftware to articles chic household items and woolen accessories.

FOR THE THRILLER SEARCHERS…

Jack Reacher fans have a treat in store with Lee Child’s latest novel No Plan B (Bantam Press, £22) which he co-wrote with his younger brother, Andrew. It begins with an apparent suicide when a woman throws herself in front of a bus – but a witness has seen the truth, and that person is Jack Reacher.

FOR LAUGHTER LOVERS…

Yes, Christmas is a magical time for children, but weary parents might want to pick up a copy of Parenting Hell (Blink, £20), accompanying comedians Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s hit podcast, which offers humor and comfort in knowing you are not alone in facing the dilemmas of life with little ones.

FOR THE ROMANTICS…

This may mean buying two books if your loved one hasn’t read the first, It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling novel about Lily and her first love Atlas, who comes back into her life and threatens her relationship with the neurosurgeon Ryle.

Fast forward six years and in It Starts With Us (Simon & Schuster UK, £14.99) we find Lily and ex-husband Ryle co-parenting in a regular routine, when she stumbles upon Atlas again and embraces a second chance to true love – while trying to deal with her jealous ex-husband.

This one, however, tells Atlas’ version of the story. It’s already at the top of the bestseller list and anyone who loves romantic fiction will be hooked.

FOR OIL…

If your partner feels like going for a drive rather than socializing with loved ones, they can enjoy intense entertainment with James May’s latest offering, Carbolics (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99), where , in 80 essays, he gives his original take on cars, motorcycles, trucks – and explains why the bicycle might be the best invention of them all.

FOR THE CELEBRITY FAN…

Fall is always awash with celebrity autobiographies, and this year is no different, with offerings from everyone from judge Strictly Motsi Mabuse and Mel C to Gabby Logan, Nick Grimshaw and Hugh Bonneville.

But if you only have to buy one really good celebrity read, a good bet is actor Richard E Grant’s A Pocketful Of Happiness (Gallery UK, £20), tracing his life from Swaziland to his move to the UK. United to pursue an acting career. Along the way, he met his wife, dialect coach Joan Washington, who died in 2021.

Before she died, she told him to look for a pocket of happiness every day, a mantra he now lives by.

FOR WANNABE WELL-BEING…

We’re all looking for ways to feel better, and as the New Year approaches, someone who receives a copy of Just One Thing (Short Books, £16.99) by Dr Michael Mosley could be a step closer to obtaining this feel-good factor.

Based on the BBC podcast of the same name, Mosley is on a mission to find things you can introduce into your routine that will have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.

It can be as simple as having more houseplants to boost your mood or singing to give you a natural high. He even suggests that eating chocolate can help your heart, which will be a comforting thought as you enjoy Christmas celebrations…

FOR THE FOLLOWING OF FASHION…

The Crown In Vogue by Robin Muir and Josephine Ross (Conran Octopus, £30) is a fat coffee table tome and a ‘special royal salute’ to the late Queen and the Royal Family, with photographs from the pages of Vogue throughout long 70s of the late monarch. -years of reign.

It features beautiful photos of everyone from the Queen to Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, Princess Anne and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the younger members of the Royal Family who continue to adorn its pages, as well as anecdotes explaining the settings.

FOR ANIMAL LOVERS…

As with most of her writing, author Dawn O’Porter’s latest novel, Cat Lady (HarperCollins, £18.99), is right on trend. It’s about a woman whose devotion to her cat takes center stage when her life falls apart – there’s a wandering husband whose ex-wife constantly pops up, a toxic work environment and a solace welcome to a pet bereavement group.

FOR THE SPORTS FAN…

Again, there are plenty of memoirs to be had, from Sue Barker’s Calling The Shots (Ebury Spotlight, £20) to Micah Richards’ The Game (HarperCollins, £22), in which the former Manchester City star and now TV expert goes behind the scenes of football.

But if the person you’re buying for is a complete sports fan, you might be better off buying BBC Sports Report (Bloomsbury Sport, £20) from Pat Murphy, the show’s reporter since 1981.

It’s a compilation of 75 years of BBC Sports Report – the world’s longest running sports radio program – and the notable events that have shaped sport and society as a whole.

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