Books always make great Christmas gifts. From crime fiction to poetry, cookbooks to the history of dogs, there’s something for everyone. Here are our top picks for reading in the new year.
There’s always that point during Christmas where everyone’s kind of looking around for something to do.
Presents have all been opened, the turkey’s cut up in the fridge for Boxing Day and there’s not quite enough of the pav left to make a plateful.
It’s at that point you really hope someone’s bought you a good book to get your nose into.
A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life – John Milton
We’ve put together a collection of new releases that will keep pretty much everyone happy in the Christmas lull – and hopefully beyond.
These books are part of our gift guide Hint, where you’ll find even more inspiration for gift – be they for someone you love or to recommend that particular someone as a gift for you. That’s why we call it Hint.
You can view or download this edition of Hint for free here:
The 12 Books of Christmas
1. Dog’s Best Friend – Simon Garfield
“One of the first words we learn. Perhaps the best friend we’ll have. An animal so much part of our lives that we speak to it like a child and spend small fortunes on its wellbeing and wardrobe.”
Investigating the age-old relationship with our four-footed friends, this book is a must for all puppy lovers. I also wonder if anyone else has noticed the excellent fact that this is a book on dogs and the author’s name is Garfield?
2. To My Country – Ben Lawson
Touching the heart of our nation earlier in this terrible year, Ben Lawson and his poem about the bushfires that swept across the country leave goosebumps with every verse and every beautiful illustration.
Ben and Allen & Unwin are donating book proceeds to The Koala Hospital.
3. Heroes Next Door – Samuel Johnson & Hilde Hinton
This amazing collection of mini biographies draws a picture of Australia – ordinary people living extraordinary, brave lives. From stories Sam and his sister Hilde heard on their anti-cancer campaign around Australia, we see that heroes truly walk among us.
– Heroes, generals & spies
4. Beyond Possible – Nimsdai Purja
An autobiography of perhaps the most extreme life, Beyond Possible tracks the progress of a Nepalese boy born in poverty who joined the Gurkhas and then the elite British Special Forces. But conquering the world’s 14 ‘death zone’ mountains in under seven months (it usually takes seven years) has been Nims’ ultimate victory.
5. You Shouldn’t Have Joined… – General Sir Peter Cosgrove
The memoirs of Australia’s former Governor General takes us through the impressive life of General Sir Peter Cosgrove. With sharp wit and magnetic storytelling, Sir Peter leads us from his Sydney childhood through to his representative role of the monarch in Australia.
6. Trust – Chris Hammer cracking new crime fiction
Mystery, danger, corruption and kidnapping lead this cracking new crime novel by the internationally acclaimed author of Scrublands and Silver. The latest in the series, Trust is set in a dark Sydney, whose streets are awash with cruelty, nepotism and malfeasance.
– Facts & fiction
7. Bluebird – Malcolm Knox
At the changing of the guard in Australian beachside suburbia, one family clings to its post. This is the story of a household on the rocks as their surroundings change around them as quickly as their home on Bluebird Beach falls into dilapidation. The question is: how long can their old way of life last?
8. The Morbids – Ewa Ramsey
When Caitlin survives a car accident – in her mind – by mistake, death-related anxiety takes a cold grip on her life. Named after her support group’s informal moniker, The Morbids is a tale of hope, of growth and of the pain of living that this emerging Aussie writer brings to light.
9. Stuff You Should Know – Josh Clark & Chuck Bryant
From the creators of the award-winning eponymous podcast, this book is much more than just a zany factoid list. It’s a series of tales from the meaning of life to Mr Potato Head. Each myth busted and origin cleverly diagnosed, this is the perfect gift for the inquisitive mind.
Cookbooks and life
10. Parwana – Durkhanai Ayubi
Much more than just a cookbook, this is a story about the survival of a culture, the retention of a family’s values and a confirmation of the power of food. Woven amongst the delicious Afghan recipes are stories of Durkhanai’s family and their journey.
11. Use It All – Alex Elliott-Howery & Jaimee Edwards
Founders of Sydney’s Inner West cafe Cornersmith, Alex and Jaimee have brought together a cookbook that speaks of the fundamentals of their business. More than standalone recipes, this is a ‘guide to a more sustainable kitchen’, teaching how to shop smaller, smarter and better.
12. In Praise of Veg – Alice Zaslavsky
This beautifully illustrated, cleverly compiled compendium of ways to use vegetables is the ultimate guide to a ‘veg-forward’ kitchen. Zaslavsky profiles 50 vegetable varieties in over 150 incredible colour-coded recipes that make you feel so hungry!