Believe it or not, but writing Christmas Gift Guides is not one of my favourite things to write. 🙊 I find them very time consuming, but I know you enjoy them so much so here I am with a different type of Christmas Gift Guide: one with books!
I wanted to recommend you different books for friends and family and because I don’t read as many books as I’d wish, I asked the lovely bookworm – Adela – to help me out. She’s the reason why this guide has almost 150 books in it.
Adela hosts a mini-podcast series on Instagram and YouTube called BookMinutes. Under 5 minutes, she reviews a book and gives you a nice overview about it. I added a lot of books to my wish-list, based on her Insta stories.
When it comes to books and reading, I will always support it. You can learn so much from books, develop an elevated vocabulary, become more creative and overall – more healthy. So, while I know this gift guide might not be the “classic”, I really hope you enjoy it and that you will find some inspiration for your loved ones, and why not, for yourself as well!
Since this guide is quite long, and we didn’t want to make it even longer, we added quick descriptions for only 5 books under each category. The rest of them (10+ books) can be found under the “honourable mentions” lists. This doesn’t mean they are worst that the top 5, but we wanted to publish this before Christmas and for you to have enough time to read it until Christmas. 🙂
Table of Contents
For the Feminist
We all have that one friend who’s a convinced feminist. That friend might enjoy a lot one of the books below.
The Girls in the Picture
The Girls in the Picture tells the true story of Mary Pickford and Frances Marions. Both women lived in the era of old Hollywood and their friendship shaped the Hollywood we all know today.
Their relationship is full of ups and downs but also beautiful moments.
Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling book is probably a dream for most feminists.
The book tells the story of a woman who feels like she failed her marriage and has a complicated relationship with men. Liz embarcs to a 9-month trip to Italy, India and Indonesia where she discovers how other cultures live.
City of Girls
City of Girls – another book by Elizabeth Gilbert, tells the story of Viviane Morris – a young woman who fails to comply with the society rules and lives her life in a very unique way for the 19th century.
Her story is impressive and full of unexpected situations. Everything is set in a beautiful 1940 New York and Gilbert’s detailed descriptions are impressive.
The Handmaid’s Tale
A tale of terror as well as a warning. The dystopian future she describes in “Gilead” is tremendously misogynistic where women are reduced to strict categories: Martha for housework and cooking, Jezebels, Eyes, Angels (soldiers for the state), infertile Wives and potentially fertile Handmaids.
Unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely a must read.
And yes, it’s the same as the TV series.
The Gone Girl
Knowledge is power, and never more so than in an intimate relationship. An excellent thriller made to question everything around the characters.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
An educative book, with gorgeous illustrations, presenting the amazing contribution of 50 women throughout history. The book focuses on celebrating women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
- The Testaments
- Memories of A Dutiful Daughter
- The Power
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape
- Bitch Doctrine
- Fifty Shades of Feminism
- Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner
- The Seven Ages of Woman
- Women, Race & Class
- The Gentlewoman
When it comes to food and nutrition, you know me – I’m a foodie. I also like to try new things and I know that eating more fruits and vegetables is very important for our overall health.
Some We Love,Some we Hate, Some we Eat
Both educational and enjoyable, you’ll discover so many things we are simply not aware of in what concerns the ethics of the relationship between humans and animals.
The Green and the Red
A very warm comedy with vegetarian protagonists running a funny and sweet narrative made to discover a new approach to healthy dietary choices.
- How Not to Die
- Eating Animals
- The Bloodless Revolution
The Newly Weds
Life as a wedded couple has its ups and downs for sure. But it’s important to overcome the obstacles together and to enjoy the happy moments to their fullest.
It’s often difficult to understand the opossite sex, since we are all so different. Each relationship has its struggles and these books might help you understand your partner better.
The Course of Love
A funny and insightful book that follows a couple throughout different stages of their relationship: dating, marriage, children, infidelity and everything that comes with it.
The author has a funny way of telling the story and it’s a nice book to read together.
Mars and Venus in the Bedroom
Often overlooked, intimacy is an important factor for a successful relationship. In his book, Dr. Gray gives quite explicit explanations and tips on how to discuss and understand what your partner needs.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Probably one of the most known and appreciated relationship books – Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – it will always be on my recommendation lists when it comes to relationships.
Dr. Gray offers very explicit pieces or advice, the writing is catchy and all his claims make so much sense.
This book helped me understand my partner and made me understand how a healthy relationship should look like.
The 5 Love Languages
Another oldie but goldie, The 5 Love Languages is an easy and eye-opening book.
The main idea of the book is that we all identify ourselves with one of the 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.
Knowing which love language is predominant for your partner, will make them feel more understood and supported.
Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget
A collection of tricks to help us better understand our better half beyond confusion, frustration and differences.
- The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and Hot It Can Help You Find and Keep Love
- Lessons of Lifelong Intimacy
- Matinging in Captivity
- Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: and How You Can Make Yours Last
- The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity
- The Body Language of Love
- 10% Happier
- Radical Acceptance
- Love Is Never Enough
- Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles
- Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love
- Nonviolent Communication
The New Parents
Life as a new parent is exciting and also tough. From learning how to adapt to a babies needs and schedule, to figuring out the best way to educate them, things are overwhelming sometimes.
If you have friends that have kids, one of these books might interest them.
And another nice gift for them would be to take the kids out for a few hours, to actually give them some time to read the books.
The Course of Love
Although I mentioned this book for newlyweds, I think it’s also nice for parents too. The book tells the story of their relationship throughout its many stages – including having and raising children together.
The 5 Love Languages of Children
Similar to the original The 5 Love Languages, the author came with a version for children too. The love languages are the same as in the original book, but it’s tailored for parents and their children. It also touches on marriage and single parenting.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
In order to raise psychologically healthy men, the emotional miseducation of boys must be stopped. From father-son relationships, the culture of cruelty among boys, the role of drugs and alcohol and male sexuality, there is so much info on how to better understand our little ones.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
A close guide in better understanding your feelings in your new role as a parent, focusing on developing an emotional connection with your children in order to create a strong , lasting bond.
- Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Brestfeeding
- The Gentle Sleep Book: Gentle, No-Tears, Sleep Solutions for Parents of Newborns to Five-Year-Olds
- Baby Knows Best: Raising a Confident and Resourceful Child, the RIE Way
- Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Life Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships
- No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
The Beauty Guru
Who said beauty can’t be learned from books?!
There are some beauty tricks that will never get old and you can find them in books and keep them forever.
The Korean Skincare Bible
Korean Skincare exploded in Western countries throughout the last few years. There’s something appealing about the Asian beauty rituals that we can’t get enough.
This tiny book offers some nice insights about the philosophy behind the Korean Skincare, offers info about how to form a routine and explains the importance of each beauty product in your routine.
Beauty from the Inside Out
Crazy informative chapters on how to find the right color and type of foundation for any skin tone, how to apply makeup on your brows, eye liners, eye shadows, tips on choosing the right blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick, evvvveryhing you ever needed from the one and only: Bobbi Brown herself.
Beauty and Sadness
A true masterpiece of human emotions, particularly jealousy. Anything truly beautiful is sad and anything truly sad is beautiful.
- Radical Beauty: How To Transform Yourself Inside Out
- History of Beauty
- They Stole Our Beauty
- The Art of Simplicity
The Forever Romantic
There’s something so comforting about a good written love story. It’s dreamy and you know it will have a happy ending because that’s what love stories are about, right?!
Three Floors Up
The book’s story is set up in Tel Aviv, where we get to know 3 different stories that have a strange moral behaviour in common. From using children to break a marriage, to the personal needs of the parents and the responsibility towards their offsprings, this book teaches us resilience and understanding of the three Freudian levels: ID, me and superego.
The Forty Rules of Love
A love story about unconditional love that brings together two people who search for each other throughout their lifetime, only to find each other before they die.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Meet Afghanistan – a country where war is the day to day life. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book about the war that never chooses its victims, and it’s especially about the women during the war.
- Why Do We Love Women?
- Parfume: The Story of a Murderer
- Love in the Times of Cholera
- A Man Called Ove
- Gone with the Wind
- The Lady of the Camellias
- Anna Karenina
- Jane Eyre
- The Magus
- The Great Gatsby
- When Breath Becomes Air
- The Tunnel
- Sleeping Beauties
- Never Let Me Go
- Madame Bovary
- The Master and Margarita
- The Red and the Black
- Memories of My Melancholy Whores
For the Entrepreneurs
In my mind, entrepreneurs are those type of people who are always busy, always looking for new ways to learn and challenge their views.
Think Digital First
Think Digital First is an introductory book for those who want to take the online route.
It has basic information about the online world and it’s a very good start for those who are intimidated by the Internet.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Practical inspiration to change your habits and improve your personal and professional side.
Little spoiler: Seek first to understand then to be understood.
Trillion Dollar Coach
Management and leadership lessons from the legendary coach and business executive, Bill Campbell, gathered from more than 80 wise interviews.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
As a Nobel Prize winner, Daniel is not dissapointing us in explaining things out regarding how our brains trick us into taking stupid risks. Or not taking any risks at all.
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
- Measure What Matters
- How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital
- The Infinite Game
- 5 AM Club
- Presentation Zen
- The Bullet Journal Method
- Leaders Eat Last
- Start with Why
- Our Iceberg Is Melting
- Mini Habits
- The 80/20 Manager
- Work Rules
- David and Goliath
- Think and Grow Rich
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
I’m not entirely sure which books falls under this category. For example, I read the Harry Potter books when I was a teenager and I always argued with my Mum who gets to read the latest book first.
Although I qualify as an adult now, I still enjoy children fiction very, very much.
The Harry Potter Collection
Of course this had to be here. I’m such a sucker for everything Harry Potter. I read the books and watch the films every winter. I don’t know what else to say. The books are very popular and I never get bored of J. K. Rowling’s creativity.
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel
If you watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, you know the stone was created by Nicholas Flammel. He actually has a guest appearance in one of the films too.
These 6 books follow the immortal Nicholas Flammel throughout history.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Sherlock Holmes books
For the Young Employee or Students
Our early 20s are usually represented by graduating from University and joining the workforce. There are a lot of changes and what I would had truly appreciated during that time was to start reading personal development books earlier.
I think this is the period on our life where we learn hard skills the most, but we also start to learn “grown up” things like how to budget and manage money.
So, here are a few books I think each new employee or student could benefit from reading.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
A statement book in the personal finance field that will teach you all the money lessons they don’t teach in school.
How To Stop Worrying and Start Living
With all the worries young adult brings, it’s easy to get overwhelmed quickly. This books explains you how to embrace the weird, random fears that pop into your head, which ultimately will free you to actually live the moment.
Eat That Frog
A tiny book that can help you improve productivity and your overall mindset of procrastination.
Who Moved My Cheese?
I think this is the first personal development book I ever read.
It’s a cute, funny story about a mouse that desperately tries to find his cheese to eat, but he cheese keeps dissapearing. The cheese is, of course, a metaphor and the book is about change change, challenges and persuing your dreams outside your comfort zone.
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
This is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s the type of book you go back on and on because it has so many important lessons in it.
The Big Leap is about how we self sabotage ourselves (“I’m too happy, something bad must happen soon”) and how we can overcome this toxic way of thinking.
- The 4-Hour Work Week
- Think and Grow Rich
- “Yes” or “No”: The Guide to Better Decisions
- Presentation Zen
- The Bullet Journal Method
- The Secret
For Those Struggling
I honestly didn’t know how to call this section. I intended it to be a list of books for those who struggle from a mental health point of view.
2020 was difficult for all of us, and we all need some books that show us we’re not alone and that will put a smile on our face.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart tells the story of Alice Hart, throughout her childhood up to adulthood.
Alice has a tough childhood, with an abusive father and she had to learn how to overcome the trauma. She finds some refuge in her grandmother’s flower farm, where she learns the language of flowers.
The flowers will follow her throughout her entire life and they give her hints about what’s next to come for her.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Although the title sounds burdensome, the book tells an amazing life story of the man who survived Auschwitz and how he met the love of his life.
This book is full of hope and an amazing example of resilience.
The Little Book of Hygge
A very simple and cute book, The Little Books of Hygge give a quick overview about happiness, what makes people happy and what happiness means for other cultures.
It is almost funny to see that others find happiness in what we consider a struggle.
The Little Book of Lykke
The Little Book of Lykke is written by the same author as The Little Book of Hygge and it focuses on happy people. From a cosy atmosphere, to small things that improve the overall quality of life, you can find a reason to make you smile.
Notes on a Nervous Planet
Cool down and leave social media alone for a while. Honest and truthful read about the psychological effects of the insane amount of time we are spending on social platforms.
- Reasons to Stay Alive
- Feeding Your Demons
- The Gift of Therapy
- The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
- The Highly Sensitive Person
- The Molecule og More: How a Single CHemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity – and Will Determinate the Fate of the Human Race
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead
- The Road Less Travelled
- What Do you Say After You Say Hello
- Outliers: The Story of Success
- The Courage to Be Happy
For Some Extra Crismasy Vibes
It wouldn’t be a Christmas Books Gift Guide without some magical books about Winter and Christmas, wouldn’t it?!
These are Adela’s top picks for some extra magic wonderland.
A Christmas Carol
Scary,heartbreaking but sometimes joyful, we are being told the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a disgusting old misanthrope and his overnight conversion from miser to a philanthropist.
Letters from Father Christmas
If you’re feeling like smiling all the time, this book might very well be your gem.
It comprises a collection of actual letters Tolkien himself wrote to his children in the name of Santa, all gathered in more than 20 years.
The Polar Express
A story about a boy whose friend has insisted that there is no Santa out there, and who is struggling to retain his belief in the “magic” of Christmas.
- One Night in Winter
- Let it Snow
- Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days
- The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
- Winter Dreams
- When Santa Fell to Earth
For the Curious Minds
If you’re a little bit of a nerd like me, then you have a curious mind for sure. Learning new things excites you and you find an odd pleasure in learning unknown, random facts.
One of these books is for you, my friend!
Journal of the Plague Year
London is teared apart by the bubonic plague. All the atrocities are told throungh the eyes of a 5-year old.
The parallels with the pandemic we’re going through are astonishing.
Sapiens: A Graphic History
If you ever wondered how our history looks like and you wanted to read it in one go, then this book is for you! With a prominent accent on our collaborative abilities, the book explains how we evolved from living in the trees to modifying the human DNA.
Homodeus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Is the abnormality the human kind’s new project? Home Deus brings really interested topics to the table: artificial intelligence, biotech and other innovative inventions that might change the human race entirely.
The World’s Greatest Idea: The Fifty Greatest Ideas that Have Changed Humanity
From inventing the wheel, sewing system, vaccines or quantum theory, the author invites us to the land of the most ingenious ideas that brought us where we are today.
The Prince is a 16th-century political treatise by the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. To give you a glimpse of what you might find in there: “if you hate doing something – do it wrong the first time, they won’t ask you to do it again”. Haha.
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
- Romantic Language of Flowers
- The Ultimate Survival Manual
I hope you found this Books Christmas Gift Guide insightful and inspiring to grab one of these books!
Keep in mind that all the books here are our very own recommendations, thus subjective. Make sure you check the books’ reviews on GoodReads and decide if it’s worth it or not.
You can follow Adela and her wonderful Book Minutes over Instagram and YouTube.
Oh wow, what an incredibly thorough list! There are so many amazing ideas here, and I love how you organized them!
What a great list! I’m especially glad you mentioned that adults can still read and enjoy children’s books. I’m a children’s librarian and over half of what I read is considered “children’s” books but they are still high quality literature with lots of important things in them. Especially these days, I think Harry Potter helped to kind of break a barrier and so many books that are appropriate for children are also great for adults as well. I recommend books to people sometimes and have to say things like “I know it’s technically a children’s book but it’s just as good, if not better, than most of the adult books I’ve read.”
Also I’ve just discovered Matt Haig and have both Notes on a Nervous Planet and Reasons to Stay Alive in my queue right now. His instagram has been wonderful to follow for mental health so I’m really looking forward to those books.
I find children’s’ books way more creative than book for adults. The storylines are full of creative things that we, as adults, won’t think of – while the other books are quite predictable.
I’ll check Matt Haig’s Instagram profile – thanks for the recommendation!
Soooo many good books here! I love that you included so many classics in the children’s round up. Several books in this list I would love to get gifted myself!
This year I heard about the four gifts idea: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I have never thought about gifting books, but I love the idea! There’s something for everyone on this list. 🙂
What a nice idea with the 4 gift categories!
Oh my gosh! Love this round-up!!! I think you nailed your categories! I love Eat Pray Love and The Secret! This gift guide is AMAZING!!!
Thank you, Laura! We’re so happy you like it!
I got City of Girls for Christmas last year and I loved it! It’s so good and so much more than I expected it to be.