christmas presents under the tree

Best books for Christmas 2016

This Christmas, millions of books are waiting to be paired up with a loving reader. In our guide to the best new books around, we've read between the lines to help you make the perfect match this yuletide.

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I'm Not with the Band - Sylvia Patterson

Music journalist Sylvia Patterson journeys through three decades of punk, rock, Britpop and hip hop, documenting hilarious encounters with music greats including Prince, Oasis and Amy Winehouse. Recently shortlisted for the Costa book award, this is the perfect gift for the Smash Hits generation.

Buy it now - £15.90

The Bricks that Built the Houses - Kate Tempest

Spoken word poet Kate Tempest's debut novel tells the full story behind the characters who appear in her album Everybody Down. Told with Kate's raw and lyrical prose, this gripping story set in south-east London pulls you in deep and holds you there.

Buy it now - £11.99

Book of Longing - Leonard Cohen

Mumsnetters came together to share their grief at the news of Leonard Cohen's death in November. This volume of poems stands as a wonderful legacy to a poet and musical genius whose lyrics touched the lives of so many.

Buy it now - £6.99

Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen

Undoubtedly the year's most coveted rock biography, Springsteen fans won't be disappointed by this gripping account of life in the fast lane. Having already earned more than 100 five-star reviews on Amazon since its release in October, Born to Run is well on its way to being a bestseller.

Buy it now - £9.50

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Fresh India - Meera Sodha

The was much excitement in our Cookery Bookclub when word got out that Meera's follow-up to the bestselling Made in India had come out, prompting such reactions as “What? She has a new cookbook? I must have it!” and “Omfg, Fresh India is vegetarian?!”.

Buy it now - £9.99

Sirocco - Sabrina Ghayour

Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana won the Observer Food Monthly best cookbook of the year in 2014. Sirocco is her follow-up and we can reassure you that it won't disappoint. It's crammed full of even more delicious recipes from the Middle East and the beautiful rainbow cover will make this gift shine out when it's opened on Christmas Day.

Buy it now - £6.99

The World of the Happy Pear - David and Stephen Flynn

They're back! This cheeky duo returns with mouth-watering vegetarian recipes for every situation. Inspired by their families, The World of the Happy Pear includes handy tips for getting kids to love the foods that are good for them.

Buy it now - £12.91

Part-time Vegetarian - Nicola Graimes

Nicola Graimes' cookbook is full of delicious vegetarian recipes with a part-time option. This is a great book for anyone dabbling in vegetarianism – chances are that a few recipes in, opinions on meat-free dining will be well and truly changed.

Buy it now - £13.60

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My Turn - Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff's death earlier this year shocked the footballing world who hailed him one of Europe's greatest ever players. My Turn tells the story of his career from Ajax to Barcelona and describes his life as a footballer, manager and analyst.

Buy it now - £6.99

This Mum Runs - Jo Pavey

Athlete Jo Pavey won her first Olympic gold medal at the age of 40, just months after giving birth to her second child. This inspirational story is perfect reading for all runners, from aspiring joggers to marathon stalwarts.

Buy it now - £4.99

Angels with Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina - Jonathan Wilson

The award-winning author of Inverted Pyramid offers a fascinating insight into the world of Argentinian football. This is the definitive history of a nation that lives and breathes football.

Buy it now - £13.60

Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket - Emma John

As a teenager in the early 90s, Emma John's obsession wasn't pop or bad fashion choices, it was the English cricket team. Unfortunately, this wasn't the best time for the national squad (to put it mildly)… Complete with personal anecdotes and interviews with the players, this is a funny and captivating book, perfect for fans of Fever Pitch.

Buy it now - £13.99

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The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies - Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

In their wonderful dictionary of literary remedies, Ella and Susan perfectly prescribe a cure in the form of a novel for such ailments as “Toe, having a stubbed”, and “Rails, going off the”. A really great gift for anyone who needs a literary pick-me-up. See also The Story Cure, for the child who needs a literary remedy for “Glasses, having to wear” or “Teenager, being a”.

Buy it now - £7.99

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life - John Le Carré

Le Carré’s greatly-anticipated memoir is the perfect gift for fans of his spy fiction. The Pigeon Tunnel presents an engaging and entertaining glimpse into the writer's journey through six decades and an understanding of how his unforgettable characters were created.

Buy it now - £9.99

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography - Edmund Gordon

Journalist Edmund Gordon was given access to 30 years' worth of Angela Carter's journals and letters and the result is a fascinating insight into the life of one of the most imaginative writers of the twentieth century.

Buy it now - £17.00

Keeping On Keeping On - Alan Bennett

The third in a series of memoirs from one of the country's leading dramatists. This latest collection contains Bennett's diaries from 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade of theatre and film – told as ever with warmth and wry humour.

Buy it now - £12.00

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Night School - Lee Child

Our love for Lee Child swelled on the night of our webchat in November, when we realised that the Jack Reacher books are read by everyone from teenagers to grandparents. This latest book (the 21st installment!) is unquestionably a perfect gift for all fans.

Buy it now - £8.00

The Trespasser - Tana French

Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series are up there with the most read on our 50 book challenge discussions. This is no surprise since her books offer readers compelling, intelligent thrillers with brilliant characters – including the tough and foul-mouthed detective, Antoinette Conway, the narrator of this twisty and thrilling story. Perfect winter reading.

Buy it now - £11.89

His Bloody Project - Graeme Macrae Burnet

Although it didn't win the Booker Prize, this was arguably the most talked about book on the shortlist. Set in the depths of the Scottish Highlands, this literary thriller and courtroom drama has been described by reviewers as “spellbinding”, “darkly playful”, and “masterful”.

Buy it now - £3.85

Different Class - Joanne Harris

For those who are bored of thrillers with ‘Girl’ in the title, Joanne Harris' series offers a welcome break. Different Class is the third in the series set in St Oswald's, a long-established boys' grammar school in Yorkshire. A brilliantly plotted dark comedy, it will undoubtedly leave the reader hunting out the other books in the series.

Buy it now - £9.00

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Say Ja To Hygge - Dr Magnus Olsensen

Hygge cynics will love this fresh take on 'how to find your special cosy place'. The blurb says it best: 'The Danish hygge (pronounced 'huhhpg-ghuhrr') lifestyle is all about feeling snug, safe, warm and satisfied – ideally self-satisfied. Follow this guide and you will find hygge-topia; inner peace will become yours. You will become, in spirit, Danish. And as the old song goes, “there is nothing like a Dane.”

Buy it now - £6.99

Hurrah For Gin: A book for perfectly imperfect parents - Katie Kirby

Katie Kirby’s blog about being a frazzled parent of two gets hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. Her stick figure illustrations depicting the everyday life of a parent are now in book form, hilariously and accurately depicting such joys as childbirth, sleep deprivation, and hangovers with kids. The perfect book for not-so-perfect parents.

Buy it now - £3.99

Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries - Helen Fielding

As if the film wasn’t enough, diehard Bridget Jones fans and new admirers alike are being treated to yet more of the self-confessed wanton sex goddess. Helen Fielding's latest book follows a slightly different turn of events to the big screen version, but still features all the classic Bridget moments, from the run-ins with Smug Marrieds to cravings for cheesy potatoes. It's a delightful, quick read, and perfect for a stocking-filler.

Buy it now - £4.99

Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces - Stewart Lee

Tired of hearing about recent political upheaval but still want your fill of biting, well-written satire? Stewart Lee’s new book is for you. Content Provider is a collection of the comedian's articles from the last few years on everything from Spotify playlists to Bake Off.

Buy it now - £10.49

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Competition:

We're giving away a bundle of books from the Christmas list above worth £200. Simply fill in the form below for a chance to win.

UK residents only. Competition T&Cs apply.