Gifts for bookworms of all ages

Sam Baker chooses her inspiring titles of the year, from absorbing memoirs and innovative planners, to picks for curious kids

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By Sam Baker on

Thanks to the V&A exhibition, there’s plenty for Frida Kahlo fans to choose from this year, but this collection of letters from the artist to her mother – published for the first time in English – is a real keeper.

Whether you’re seven or 57 ( or indeed 157), this uplifting prose poem about learning to love yourself is the perfect stocking filler.

Feeling the need to hark back to a gentler time? Fans of Ballet Shoes will lose themselves in these heartwarming festive tales that were originally published in the post-war years.

All the bullet-journallers I know are converts for life. So, if your New Year’s resolution is to get organised and stay organised (or, to quote the author, Ryder Carroll, the original creator of the bullet journal method, to “live life more intentionally”), this set makes a brilliant gift. It includes a journal, plus Carroll’s book on how to ace the technique.


I might be biased, but, these very honest essays from our contributors on topics spanning bad sex to bad boys from periods to body positivity to equal pay to the power of female friendship, make a life-affirming read. 

The revolution starts here with this cool and quirky planner for little feminists.

Get them started even earlier with board-book versions of the bestselling Little Feminist series.

Ottolenghi? Simple? I know, I know. But, yes, this book really is (and not just by his standards). The cookbook of the year. No question.

Patti Smith’s memoir of her years with artist Robert Mapplethorpe on the Lower East Side, won all the awards. This illustrated limited edition is a must for fans.

No Harry Potter-loving house should he without it, seriously.

Christie Watson was a nurse for 20 years before she became a writer. This open-hearted memoir with a message is a fascinating inside story of an unsung profession and a heartfelt call to action. Anyone who loved When Breath Becomes Air or This Is Going To Hurt will devour this on Boxing Day.

The bestselling author of Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovary reimagines Scrooge for 21st-century London and once again strikes solid gold. It’s wickedly funny.


If you’re worried there won’t be enough tension around your Christmas table, I recommend you buy a couple of copies of this!

Described as “heaven” by our very own Lauren Laverne, this is part music memoir, part cookbook, part graphic novel, part photo album and that’s not even the half of it. No 90s Christmas tree is complete without it!

If you only put one book under the tree this Christmas make it this. Give it to as many people as you can get away with!

This has been the year that audiobooks took off. It’s like having a bedtime story on tap, or convivial company on your longest, most boring journeys without – let’s be honest – the effort of reading. Choose between one month, three months, six months or 12, and keep on giving all year.


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