Christmas Gift Guide 2020

Merry Christmas to everyone except Jeff Bezos – A Gift Guide

Look at us. Who would have thought that, by Christmas, Bristol would be in Tier 3, we’d still be unable to see friends and Wales would have gotten way too into the spirit of the roaring 20s with nationwide prohibition? Not me!

But, as we know from all of the corporate Christmas adverts on telly that are peddling wholesome covid-approved messages such as, ‘we’re all in this together’ or ‘thank you to all the key workers, buy a Kindle’, it’s safe to say that Christmas presents (thank god) are here to stay. And while you may be tempted to go straight to the Website That Must Not Be Named – you know exactly which one I mean – I have an alternative for those that want to give the gift of books this Christmas.

Bookshop.org is a new online bookshop that has literally every title you could ever dream of, delivered straight to your door from independent booksellers and shops around the UK. You can search for individual titles or you can find your local bookstore and order from them using Bookshop.org’s map.

I am aware that this sounds like the biggest #Ad ever – it isn’t at all – but supporting independent bookstores has never been more important. Even if you think that your local shop isn’t struggling, they probably are after months of being forced to close. So, instead of filling the pockets of old Jeff, choose to support actual, real people who aren’t rancid billionaires.

Christmas Gift Guide 2020

Disclaimer: These recommendations seem weirdly specific but the bottom line is they are just fab books that anyone would enjoy.

For your friend that struggles to ‘get into’ a book.

I challenge literally anyone to read this book and not be totally immersed in it from the very beginning.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

‘Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. She leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.’

Hardback £12.09 from Bookshop.org

For the angsty teen in your life

And then wait for the ‘omg this is literally written about me’ text in mid-January.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

‘The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.’ (Waterstones)

Hardback £15.95 from Bookshop.org.

For your friend who un-ironically begins a sentence with ‘when I was travelling in [insert any foreign country]…’

If they found themselves after going to a temple in Bali on an organised tour, then Kerouac is the man for them. Could also work for people who have recently gotten into crystals.

Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

‘Two ebullient young men search for Truth the Zen way: from marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and “yabyum” in San Francisco’s Bohemia, to solitude in the high Sierras and a vigil atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Published just a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums is sparked by Kerouac’s expansiveness, humor, and a contagious zest for life.’ (Goodreads)

Paperback £7.43 from Bookshop.org.

For your friend that’s a secret fantasy nerd

We’ve all got one, and if you don’t, it’s definitely you. Perfect for those of us that were obsessed with The Golden Compass film from 2007.

‘Set in the world so masterfully established by Philip Pullman in his trilogy His Dark MaterialsLa Belle Sauvage is a story of survival, where two children, with everything at stake, find themselves pursued by a terrifying evil. In their care is a tiny child, and in that child lies the fate of the future.’ (Goodreads)

£8.36 from Bookshop.org.

For any gal in her 20s

Sometimes we need a book to just say, ‘it’s okay, none of us have literally any clue what is going on.’ This is that book for me.

‘Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life-and announces herself as a singular new voice.’ (Goodreads)

Hardback £13.94 on Bookshop.org.

For the person who says they can never find time to read.

It’s a collection of short stories! No excuses for not reading in 2021. Plus, these stories are so enchanting and interesting that the receiver of this book will make time, I guarantee.

Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

‘Beautiful love stories from history and mythology, rewritten with incredible new detail and vivacity in this debut collection. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines iconic Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from countries that no longer exist in our world.’

Hardback £15.79 on Bookshop.org

For any adults who still think Rustler’s burgers are food.

2021 is the year of health (round of applause for the gals Pfizer & BioN Tech) and so we’re extending self care beyond putting on a Garnier sheet mask every other month. Take a literal page out of Ottelenghi’s book and cook some tasty veggies. With beautiful imagery and incredible food, this is such a gorgeous present to give someone! Also perfect for any friends thinking about doing Veganuary.

PLUS For every copy of this title purchased by 21 December, Penguin will work with social enterprise Neighbourly to donate a book where it’s needed most. (amazing)

Hardback £25.77 from Bookshop.org.

That’s it! I hope you find some inspiration with these books. I didn’t want to overload this post with tonnes of choices so these are just a few that I think are universally great and people will enjoy. Also, not sure if you’ll agree but I’ve included a lot of hardbacks as they seem more gift-y to me?

Have a lovely Christmas and read lots and lots <3

Published by Lily Evans

writing about books

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