The Overstory by Richard Powers

Powers’ novel, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, is a book about trees and people, ranging from antebellum New York to the late 20th-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Overstory follows nine characters, all connected in one way or another with trees, and spans centuries; as well as a character-led novel it’s also a chronicle of migration to America. This is an epic and absorbing read.

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

This is the debut novel by Johnson, the author of the poetry collection Fen. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, Everything Under is the story of Gretel, who as a child lived on a canal boat with her mother, where they invented a language that was just their own. Now an adult, Gretel is a lexicographer, but her isolation is interrupted by a phone call from the hospital, which brings up memories from childhood. This novel is the story of a woman and her past, and an ode to language.

Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi

In his debut poetry collection, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize 2018, the Somerset Maugham Award 2018 and was shortlisted for a number of other awards, Chingonyi explores masculinity and what it means to grow up as a black man, as well as his ancestral heritage. Taking its title, which means initiation, from the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man, Kumukanda is a thought-provoking collection.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Taking its title from the strip club where its protagonist gave lap dances for a living before going to jail, The Mars Room is the story of Romy Hall, at the start of two consecutive life sentences - plus six years - at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Inside prison, there is a new reality to adapt to and a future stretching out in a long line, until news from outside brings an urgency to Romy’s life. Filled with humour, this is a look at life on the margins, and an attack on the prison-industrial complex.

Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry

Seven years have passed since a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan, but its effects are still felt. Lloyd Parry,  an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and in the years since the disaster has returned to a village which suffered the greatest loss of all. Ghosts of the Tsunami looks at a vast and devastating event through an intimate lens, telling the stories of those who lived through it. This remarkable work won the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018.

Centaur by Declan Murphy and Ami Rao

Declan Murphy was one of the greatest jockeys of his generation when, during a race, he was in an accident that caused his skull to be shattered in 12 places. It was thought he would never walk, let alone ride, again, but 18 months after the accident he saddled up for one more race, and won. In this collaboration with Ami Rao, Murphy tells his story for the first time. This tale of loss and triumph won Outstanding Book of the Year at the British Sports Awards.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

If you’re looking to sink into a big historical novel with plenty of intrigue, drama and a mermaid, then Hermes Gowar’s debut novel is perfect for you. Following a merchant who comes into possession of a mermaid, and his unlikely partnership with one of London’s most famous courtesans, it’s easy to see why this lively, rollicking and intricate novel was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize 2018.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

The Water Cure is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, three women who are kept apart from the world for their own good, and the three men who come to find them, trailing desire and destruction in their wake. An otherworldly book which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Award, The Water Cure, with its focus on women’s bodies, what it means to be a woman and how safe women are in the world, is a novel for our times.

5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver

From Italian seared beef to aubergine penne arrabiata, all the recipes in Oliver’s book require only five ingredients. 5 Ingredients, which won the Non-Fiction Lifestyle Book of the Year category at the British Book Awards, is perfect for all kinds of cooks, whether you’re new to creating dishes from scratch, or a keen cook looking for inspiration for simple yet tasty dishes.

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane

Winner of the Beautiful Book Award at this year's Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, The Lost Words is a celebration of the natural world. Led with beautiful illustrations of flora and fauna by Jackie Morris, nature writer Robert Macfarlane has created accompanying poems to remind us, and children, of words that are fading from our day to day vocabulary. The result is an utterly enchanting storybook that readers will pour over, packed with magic and wonder.

Snap by Belinda Bauer

A snap decision made by heavily pregnant Eileen Bright sees her disappear on the side of a highway, only to be later found stabbed to death. Left behind to fend for themselves are her three children. The eldest, Jack, takes charge and supports his two younger sisters as best he can. Three years pass and pregnant Catherine While is home alone when she hears an intruder. After scaring them off, she finds a knife and a note with the message, ‘I could have killed you’. You’ll struggle to tear yourself away from the pages of this unnerving Man Booker-longlisted thriller.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

The Man Booker prize-winning author of The English Patient returns with a dreamlike tale of life post-WW2. The year is 1945 in war-ravaged London, and teenager Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel have been abandoned by their parents. Left in the care of a dubious criminal called The Moth, Nathaniel gets caught up in a world of petty theft and fast living – but is this band of misfits really what they seem? Most importantly, what really happened to Nathaniel’s mother? Now an adult, Nathaniel slowly begins to uncover the truth – hidden secrets that start to reveal a bigger, startling picture. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018.


More books for Christmas

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