One of the greatest gifts you can give this year has to be a great read.
Don’t just stick to novels – autobiographies and essays can be a great shout, too.
Need a great non-fiction book to gift (or self-gift) this Christmas?
Check out this handy round-up of the best from politics and celebrity biographies to past and present feminism.
Diary Of An MP’s wife by Sasha Swire (Little, Brown)
David Cameron has much to regret but high on his list must be his friendship with the Swires: there’s a sweat-inducing indiscretion on almost every page of Sasha’s viciously entertaining account of the chumocracy at the heart of the Cameron government, to which she, as wife of then MP Hugo, had intimate access for years.
If only she could now worm herself into the Johnsonian inner circle…
Buy it for £17.99 from Waterstones.
Too Much And Never Enough by Mary Trump (Simon and Schuster)
Of all the many jaw-dropping accounts of the Trump era, this personal memoir from his niece Mary offers perhaps the most insightful analysis of a man indulged and terrorised by his tyrannical father in equal measure.
Her carefully written book both provides a context for her uncle’s monstrous narcissism without letting him off the hook. The essential explainer of a man who is essentially inexplicable.
Buy it for £8 from Amazon.
Motherwell by Deborah Orr (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
The limitations of working class Thatcherite aspiration are explored with love and frustration in this memoir from the late journalist Deborah Orr who grew up in the shadow of the Ravenscraig steelworks, now demolished, near Motherwell.
An excellent account of post industrial Scotland and, more poignantly, of a young girl trying to break free.
Buy it for £12.99 from Amazon.
Broken Greek by Pete Paphides (Quercus)
Many musos are music snobs but not Pete Paphides. He writes just as lovingly about the Wombles and Abba as he does David Bowie in this beautifully written memoir of the way music (his ‘third parent’) helped him negotiate a 1970s Midlands childhood with Greek immigrant parents who spent every available hour working in chip shops.
Anyone who has felt the power of pop to ‘explain’ their life to them, as Paphides has, will love this.
Buy it for £15.56 from Amazon.
Difficult Women by Helen Lewis (Jonathan Cape)
Subtitled A History Of Feminism in 11 Fights, Helen Lewis’s wide-ranging account of the modern feminist movement is a useful and very readable primer to who achieved what in the long and torturous journey for female emancipation.
Not only that but she is rigorously attentive to the fact that to be female is to be as multi-faceted, complicated and contradictory as any man. You’d think this wouldn’t need saying but alas, it does.
Buy it for £14.99 from Waterstones.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Viking)
The political account of Britain in 2020 has yet to be written, and no, we don’t think Tom Bower’s indulgent biography of Boris Johnson counts.
For the book of the year on what it means to truly be a leader, only Obama’s restlessly self-questioning account of his first presidential term will do.
Buy it for £17.50 from Amazon.
Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood (Jonathan Cape)
There are many books written about women struggling to have a child, rather less of them about finding yourself single and pregnant in your mid thirties, and not exactly on cloud nine about it.
Journalist Sophie Heawood busts many of the smug mum myths in this acerbically funny account of going it alone.
Buy it for £12.99 from Waterstones.
The Meaning Of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey (Macmillan)
We may well associate Mariah Carey with demands for red carpets lined with white candles when arriving at hotels as much as we do with her blinding voice but there is more to the ultimate pop diva than her absurdly OTT lifestyle.
In this unexpectedly frank, self-knowing memoir she details a hardscrabble childhood shaped by abuse, neglect, colourism, controlling husbands and siblings who treated her like an ‘ATM machine with a wig’. And on her penchant for extreme fabulousness? She’s earned it.
Buy it for £10 from Amazon.
Fab photo books for travel junkies
Know someone who has been really missing seeing the world this year?
These glossy coffee table books are perfect for anyone who is feeling a bit of wanderlust.
Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval
Pictures from around the world that look like they could be straight out of the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Buy it for £25 from Waterstones.
Salt Moon by David and Simon Harsent
Simon Harsent’s shots of the sea are very atmospheric, while his father David provides poetry.
Buy it for £25 from Guillemont Press.
New York Times Explorer: 100 Trips Around the World by Barbara Ireland
100 bucket-list trips with recommendations and practical tips.
Buy it for £21.99 from Taschen.
America The Beautiful: A Story In Photographs by the National Geographic Society
Beautiful images from every US state, from California to Alaska.
Buy it for £19.99 from Blackwells.
Refuge: America’s Untouched Wilderness by Ian Shive
Collection of photographs of wild landscapes protected by the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Buy it for £25.99 from Amazon.
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