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3. Books I’ll be giving this year…

At risk of revealing to their friends and family what they’ll be unwrapping in a few weeks’ time, we asked our authors what books they enjoyed so much this year, they’ll be sharing the love with their nearest and dearest. Of course, books make the very best of presents, but we all know it can be hard to find the right one, so read on for some tried and tested inspiration…

Louise Lee

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Every year I find an excuse to buy this book for someone. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Middlesex is a coming-of-age story and family saga, chronicling the impact of a mutated gene on three generations of a Greek family. Touching, funny and enlightening, it covers potentially thorny topics with sensitivity and aplomb. The experience it bestows upon the reader is breathtaking.

Ayoade On Ayoade: a Cinematic Odyssey by Richard Ayoade

This is a great stocking filler – a laugh-out-loud introspective on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade himself. As Grazia said: ‘A brilliantly sustained takedown of anyone who has ever written a self-indulgent book about their own careers.’ What can I say? The man is a GENUIS…

White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in 18th-century India: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-century India by William Dalrymple

My mother is Anglo-Indian, and left India soon after British rule collapsed. This book, however, goes back to the beginning – back to the time when Europeans started emigrating to India. We discover an era of successful cultural assimilation, intermarriage and mutual respect. The moral of the story – people get on swimmingly when politics isn’t on the agenda. A very enlightening biopic.

Louise’s debut novel THE LAST HONEYTRAP is available in paperback and ebook now.

Laurie Graham

Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey

It’s so gorgeous I may even give this to myself.

The New Spymasters: Inside Espionage from the Cold War to Global Terror by Stephen Grey

This one is for friends who share my taste for all things espionage.

Anything from the Revolting Recipes series by Roald Dahl

I now have several grandchildren old enough to relish dishes like wormy spaghetti and scrambled dregs!

Laurie’s latest novel THE NIGHT IN QUESTION is available in paperback and ebook now.

Penny Vincenzi

After You by Jojo Moyes

Jojo has done the impossible with this book, and made it as heart-wrenching, sexy and utterly unpredictable as its brilliant  predecessor, Me Before You. One of the books I couldn’t bear to finish and rationed the final chapters to make it last longer.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

No chance of rationing anything with this book! It’s just so exciting you seize every moment to turn the next page… and the next… and the next. Brilliantly clever right through, and a stunning finale – I loved it.

The Parrots by Alexandra Shulman

The author is the editor of Vogue and her book is as stylish, edgy and beautifully choreographed as a really brilliant fashion show – with, again, a shatteringly brilliant finale.

The Princess who had no Fortune, by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

And if you want to please a female of about four, give her this book, which turns the Cinderella story on its head and  is utterly charming, with the most delicious illustrations.

Penny’s latest novel A PERFECT HERITAGE is available in paperback and ebook now.

Sarah Vaughan

Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson and Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver

My husband doesn’t read novels but he consumes recipe books and is a big Nigella fan. The first Christmas we were together he bought me How to Be a Domestic Goddess, which fired my love of baking and was one of the inspirations for The Art of Baking Blind. So this year I’ll be buying him the new Nigella, and because a new Jamie Oliver is a Christmas tradition, Everyday Super Food.

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

My mother enjoys historical and literary fiction, so I’ll be giving her Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, which reduced me to tears three times before confounding me and then filling me with writerly envy. I’m also on the lookout for a psychological thriller as good as Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard, which she devoured.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

My father’s a lawyer and a fan of Ian McEwan, so I’ll be giving him The Children Act, which manages to be intellectually probing, beautifully written and moving. As ever, it’s meticulously researched but doesn’t wear its research heavily.

Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke

My stepfather writes and so one of the presents I’ll be giving him is John Yorke’s Into the Woods. Yorke, a producer, analyses films and TV series such as Thelma and Louise and Spooks to explore the narrative journey, conflict and jeopardy a protagonist must go through. I’ve found this hugely useful when plotting my third novel and even applied his theories to The Great British Bake Off.

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

I think my sister would love Eve Chase’s Black Rabbit Hall, a sumptuous time slip novel set in Du Maurier’s lush southern Cornwall with – in the past story – a compelling teenage narrator, and numerous twists and turns.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

My children wish J.K. Rowling would write a new Harry Potter, or L. Pichon would publish her 10th Tom Gates more swiftly – but since I can’t make either of these things happen, I’ll be giving them Matt Haig’s A Boy Called Christmas. My daughter, who no longer believes in Father Christmas, might roll her eyes but she still loves being read to, and I bet she’ll listen as intently as her younger brother. And, though they’ve long outgrown Mog, I might have to sneak in Mog’s Christmas Calamity. We have a grumpy geriatric tabby and they have been trying to turn him into a more endearing and unintentionally heroic cat.

Sarah’s debut novel THE ART OF BAKING BLIND is available now in paperback and ebook.

In case you missed it, check out…

…some of our authors favourite Christmas traditions

…what our authors would like to find under their trees this year