Our pick of the best books for Christmas
Books are top of many people’s Christmas lists, but how do you find a hidden gem among the shelves if you want something different from blockbuster bestsellers?
With the help of bookselling expert David Robinson from Heffers, we’ve put together a guide for the most discerning readers on your present-buying list.
And, as he explains, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover when they are as beautiful as the ones selected below.
He says: “I've been a bookseller for nearly 32 years and I can’t remember a Christmas where there’s been more beautiful books to look at than this. There are so many exquisitely illustrated books that are a joy to look at as well as to read. And they make really satisfying presents.
“Our shop displays this year have had a medieval flavour as there have been so many books about medieval landscape and manuscripts. One of our surprise bestsellers has been Going to Church in Medival England.
“With this selection of the top books to buy as gifts, we’ve chosen books we know our intelligent shoppers will love and something you won’t find in the supermarket.”
Heffers is also running a Giving Tree again this year. Customers can choose a book to buy for children of different age groups, Heffers wraps and and adds a tag describing the age of the child the book is aimed at and will this year deliver them to Cambridge City Foodbank. Heffers will also be donating books to the charity. Ask in store for details. Here’s our guide to the best books for Christmas.
Christmas Poems, £20
Carol Ann Duffy
For a decade, while she was Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy published a new long poem each Christmas. This beautiful book brings all of them together in one volume.
A splendid Victorian winter’s tale following the life of the foundling Lily who carries with her a terrible secret.
The Lincoln Highway, £20
Following the deserved adulation of A Gentleman in Moscow, this is Amor Towles third novel. Set in 1950s America it is a heart-warming, unusual road trip undertaken by a cast of memorable characters.
John le Carre
This is the last book by our greatest spy novelist. Written shortly before his death in 2020, Silverview, as with all le Carre’s novels, asks fundamental questions about loyalty, honesty and deceit.
The Women of Troy, £18.99
Continuing her retelling of one of the greatest classical myths that began in The Silence of the Girls, Barker again views events from the perspective of the women overlooked in the original story..
39 Ways to Save the Planet, £12.99
We all know that something needs to be done to reverse the effects of climate change. Tom Heap reveals some of the real-world solutions that are happening around the world and encourages us all to play our part.
Atlas of the Invisible, £25
Infographics is providing new ways for us to visualise large amounts of data. This beautiful book uses stunning designs to convey information about our past, present and future.
Dragons, Heroes, Myths and Magic, £30
Chantry Westwell explores some of literature’s most celebrated stories and presents magnificent illustrations of them drawn from some of the British Library’s illuminated manuscript collections.
These re-tellings of medieval tales of legend, landscape and belonging from all parts of Britain reflect a resurgence of interest in myths and folklore and in trying to understand what makes us who we are.
Year Unfolding, £20
This exquisite book is an illustrated guide to nature through the seasons. Angela Harding is a much-loved illustrator and this is the first book dedicated to her work. It is filled with beautiful and evocative images that remind us of what we are at risk of losing. Signed copies are available.