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Your Pre-Feminist Father

Christmas is a great time to add new books to the bookshelves of loved ones, and introduce new perspectives into their lives. Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism is a cracking and well-structured punt for a better world for women – and will spark some great discussions about generational power, why unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and how we make sense of the future, together. Offer to buddy-read it with your dad and see how late you can talk into the night.

He might also chuckle at/learn something from: Career Girls / How to be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings

The Young Activist

It’s easy to feel defeatist in the face of a 24-hour news cycle that doesn’t seem to let up. Enthusiasm in the face of doom is a mindset to be protected – if you know a young person on a mission, give them a jolt of gumption to keep in their pocket with this short, digestible essay Power of the Powerless. Václav Havel’s portrait of activism in the face of falsehood and intimidation is a classic they’ll keep forever, and is a great resource to help alleviate the apathy around them.

In their toolbox they might also find handy: Orwell on Freedom / Brit(ish)  

The Reluctant Reader

Christmas holidays are the perfect time to catch a break from that screen addiction and get reunited with your imagination. Ease the reluctant reader back in with a well-chosen graphic novel – engaging and attention-light, we recommend Square Eyes as the perfect submersion tool.  It’s a kaleidoscopic mystery story set in a city built on digital illusion and during a future where the boundaries between memory, dreams and the digital world start to blur. Told in the perfect non-threatening, stunning medium of illustration – and it’s a wonderfully apt topic.

Other books with pages that turn themselves: The Handmaid’s Tale / Clock Dance

The Aspiring Novelist

Ever wondered what happens to the ideas you never get around to writing? Your aspiring writer friend does. Tales from a Master’s Notebook is a charming collection of short stories written by some of the biggest names in fiction - each one inspired by an unused idea from Henry James’ notebooks. Differing dramatically in setting and style, there’s a tale for everyone in this handsome volume - and they’re bound to resurface with new ideas of their own. Who knows, you might get a credit in their future bestselling novel.

More immersive fiction to inspire the mind: Everything Under / The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock  

The One You Always Disagree With

’Tis the season to move forward together, not backwards apart. Pre-empt the tension by handing over 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, pop open the brandy and schedule an open-minded, fact-based book club night for the new year. Author of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari weaves a golden thread through this exhilarating challenge to the way we understand the past, and what it could mean for the future. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created? A question that can wait until after the mince pies, we think.

More great discussion starters: The World As It Is / The Plot Against America

The Young Adult

Romantic, moody, gothic and full of thrills, Frankenstein bears all the well-loved ingredients of a young adult novel. Victor Frankenstein pushes moral boundaries in order to cross the final frontier and create life… but his creation is a monster stitched together from grave-plundered body parts which has no place in the world, and its existence can only lead to tragedy. The original inspiration for so much modern TV and film, this approachable, eye-catching edition includes a cultural history of Frankenstein’s monster to put them in the picture.

They might also snap up: Madame Bovary / Bookworm

The Guest You Haven't Met

Whether they’re a distant relative, a new colleague or the partner of your sibling, it’s natural to be nonplussed at the prospect of buying a book for a stranger. We say hedge your bets and get them a full-stop good read. There There has been hailed a masterpiece by Margaret Atwood, Marlon James and seemingly everyone who has laid eyes on it this year – it’s a multigenerational narrative that weaves together a loveable cast of fragile and flawed characters, all on their way to a powwow in Oakland. Just make sure you pick up a copy for yourself too. We guarantee you’ll get gift-jealousy.

Alternatively try solid all-rounders: The Roasting Tin / Warlight

The Reader Who's Read It All 

For the avid-reader, books can be the best and worst present to shop for. Become a legendary rare book-dealer in their eyes by producing The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt. Definitely not the Tom Cruise period drama, this book is an original, witty and timeless novel about the nature of genius. Championed by Mark Haddon, adored by A.S. Byatt and heralded as the unsung hero of the twentieth century, it’s the undiscovered classic that’s recently been put back in print by VINTAGE after almost a decade out of print. If they already own it, we’ll eat our hats.

Some other hidden gems they’ll love: The Leopard / Roots

The Social Media Addict

If you know a book lover who’s fallen prey to their phone, this new edition of Little Women should please their soul and their screen. Patchwork artist Karen Nicol’s inspired cover is wrapped around the classic prose we all know and love – so whether they’re discovering it for the first time or the March sisters are old friends, they’ll thank you for this. A winning addition to any Instagram feed.

They might also enjoy reading/photographing: The Little Prince / How to Eat 

The One with The Dark Sense of Humour

For the humbug of the party, our advice is to avoid the bargain-bin joke books and reach for something they’ll enjoy past the Yuletide season. They might find a soulmate in Ottessa Moshfegh’s protagonist from My Year of Rest and Relaxation. It’s a shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Humour for those who enjoy something sour with their sweet.

Also suitably dark: The End / Don Quixote 

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