Christmas Guide to Book Gifting

Christmas is days away and bookshops are looking busier by the hour with last-minute shoppers scanning through the shelves for the perfect book to give to a loved one. The trouble is, there are so many books and so little time. It becomes far too easy to - quite literally - judge a book by it’s cover when the time to read every blurb of interest is so limited. And let’s not forget the lack of space you’ll have to read all those blurbs in the busy bookshop walkways.

But, never fear. Our top book reviewer and Bristol Girl, Florence Edwards, has written this really handy book gifting guide to help you rush round the bookshop a lot faster.

Children’s Book

MinaLima Illustrated Classics Boxed Set

Summary: Set of three children’s classics - Peter Pan, Jungle Book and Beauty & The Beast in a gorgeous illustrated collection.

Perfect gift for: Brightening the shelf of any bookcase.

“MinaLima illustrated classics are beautiful to give as presents.” ~ Emma Kitching, Bristol Girl

Buy from the MinaLima store here: https://store.minalima.com/books-minalima/

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Young Author Novel

Letter to my Daughter by Maya Angelou

Summary: A collection of wisdom and life advice from the incredible Maya Angelou, dedicated to the daughter she never had.

Perfect gift for: This book would make a lovely mother/daughter gift, or for any ladies in your life that could use a little inspiration!

~ Recommended by Emma Kitching, Bristol Girl

Historical Fiction

Half of the Human Race by Anthony Quinn

Summary: A deep, complex love story between Constance, a suffragette with ambitions to become a surgeon, and Will, the county cricket star whose values are far more ‘traditional’.

Perfect gift for: Historical romance fans interested in the narrative of women’s rights.

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Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Summary: In an England anxiously watching the events of the French Revolution, Lizzie finds herself torn between her radical family and her husband, a wealthy property developer who faces the threat of losing everything.

Perfect gift for: Historical fiction lovers looking for a story as emotionally taut as it is politically suspenseful. Bristol Girls will also find the novel’s backdrop ringing a few bells, as it is set in Clifton!

Books for Thriller Addicts

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Content warning: graphic violence

Summary: When Scott Murdoch is called upon to investigate the perfect crime, a connection emerges with an intelligent, ruthless terrorist dedicated to America’s destruction. Scott is pitted against a ghost with no identity and no history who always seems to be one step ahead.

Perfect gift for: Anyone yearning for a truly unguessable thriller!

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Content warnings: sexual abuse, psychological trauma, references to suicide

Summary: Lane is the only Roanoke girl to have escaped the mysterious history of this seemingly perfect family. However, eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing, Roanoke’s haunting secrets are clawing her back once more…

Perfect gift for: Fans of dark, haunting psychological thrillers.

Novels for Wanderlusters

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A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Summary: A Room with a View follows the story of Lucy, whose life in the middle classes of Edwardian England is cast into disillusion by a visit to Florence, where she experiences the passion and exuberance of Italy.

Perfect gift for: Those who (like me!) romanticise about travelling to Italy.

Just a Little Run Around the World by Rosie Swale Pope

Summary: The unforgettable true story of Rosie, on her 5-year 20,000-mile run to raise money in memory of her husband following his heart-breaking death from cancer.

Perfect gift for: Providing some inspiration to the wanderlusters in your life, whether seasoned backpacker or travel-brochure dreamer.

~ Recommended by Charlotte Drew, Bristol Girl

Books for Sci-Fi Fans

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Summary: Charlie has learning difficulties and volunteers to become the first human test subject of an experiment designed to increase intelligence, but soon learns that a higher IQ is too simplistic an approach to solve the complexities of human relationships.

Perfect gift for: Sci-fi fans in need of a good cathartic cry - this is genuinely the most emotional science fiction I have ever read.

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The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde

Summary: Detective Thursday Next must enter Brontë’s novel to save the heroine, Jane Eyre before she is wiped from the story forever by a book-haunting villain.

“It is the first in the Thursday Next series, which feature literary detective Thursday, and is sure to have you hooked on the whole series. It's light-hearted, action-packed, and genuinely funny.”

~ Aimée, Bristol Girl

Whimsical Tales

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Summary: Suffering from writer’s block, author Juliet travels to Guernsey and finds how local residents have found comfort in their book club in the midst of the German occupation of the island during the Second World War.

Perfect gift for: Bookaholics in all their forms are sure to appreciate this charming reminder of the power of the written word.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Summary: When Anthony Peardew dies, he leaves a collection of lost objects to his assistant Laura - carefully gathered over many years, in the belief that they have a significance to someone, somewhere. In her quest to reunite the objects with their owners, Laura finds new wonder in a previously unadventurous life.

Perfect gift for: Does someone you know prefer an uplifting book to violent thrillers? Here is a story that will make them feel warm inside.

Non-Fiction

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This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

Summary: This is Going to Hurt is a memoir based on the diaries of Adam Kay during his time as a junior doctor.

“It is at the same time the funniest and most heartbreaking thing I’ve read all year!” ~ Charlotte Drew, Bristol Girl

The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking

Summary: In The Little Book of Lykke Meik Wiking goes on a search for the secrets to happiness all across the globe.

“I feel like everyone should read The Little Book of Lykke as it’s so delightful.” ~ Laura Parsons, Brighton Girl

Chocolate Treats: Decadent Delights Free From the Top 14 Allergens by Nina Modak

*Written by our very own Manchester Girl, Nina Modak!*

Summary: Chocolate Treats is a collection of recipes for delicious cakes, biscuits, desserts and more - plus all recipes are free from the most common allergens.

Perfect gift for: As a chocoholic with a severe peanut allergy, I would be genuinely delighted if I received this recipe book as a gift!

Written by Bristol Girl and the City Girl Network’s top book reviewer, Florence Edwards

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