Christmas Gift Guide: What To Buy For Hard-To-Buy-For People
For the new parent…
- In Baby Pip Eats ($29.95), Australian food-lover Amie Harper presents a charming and accessible collection of recipes for infants.
- Jodie Blight’s interactive cookbook is another great food-related choice for a busy parent. Each recipe in Summer Table ($34.95) is accompanied by a QR code and a quick scan will produce a shopping list, with all the items you need sorted into the supermarket sections.
- A safe and popular choice for a new parent is a beautiful edition of a classic tale, such as The Wind in the Willows ($39.95) by Kenneth Grahame. Find more here.
- As it’s likely that the new parent’s life will soon be enveloped by the likes of Peppa Pig, you might want to purchase them a completely un-child-friendly tv series for them to enjoy on their own. We highly recommend Borgen: Season 1-3 ($119.95) as one possible option.
For your grandparent…
- For some gorgeous seasonal listening, try the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Christmas album, A Celtic Christmas ($24.95).
- A great gift for grandparents who enjoy art is Australian Notebooks ($44.99), in which Betty Churcher revisits some of the artworks she most cherishes.
- If your grandparents are football (soccer) fanatics, The World (Game) According to Les Murray: The Greats, the World Cups and the Aussies ($39.95) is an entertaining romp.
- Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide ($49.95) covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants and features more than 1,100 stunning color photographs.
For the new in-laws you haven’t met before…
- Over their weekly conversation in an inner-city cafe, photographer Michael Wee persuaded his friend, painter and writer Tom Carment, to embark on some walks into ‘wild’ Australia. Seven Walks: Cape Leeuwin To Bundeena ($69.99) is the stunning outcome of that conversation.
- Here at Readings it seems that Ottolenghi is the ‘chef of the hour’. Four of our staff recently tested out his new cookbook, Plenty More (
$49.99$39.99), and came back hungry for more. Read more here.
- John Le Carré’s classic tale of espionage leaps off the page and into the guise of an epic 6-hour television miniseries with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ($29.99).
For the friend who’s read everything…
- Try something out of the box such as Fluid Prejudice ($20) – a compilation of comics presenting alternate stories from Australian history.
- Or… buy something that’s only just been released such as The Strange Library (
$29.99$24.99) by Haruki Murakami, or Emmanuel Carrere’s fantastic ‘fictional biography’ Limonov: A Novel ($45).
- Even when someone is well-read it’s still likely they have some blind spots in their reading history – there’s always a modern classic of some kind that has slipped under their radar (for example, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest) . Find that blind spot and exploit it. (If they have read David Foster Wallace already and are fans, look out for The David Foster Wallace Reader in mid-December.)
For an entire family you don’t know very well…
- In Lists of Note (
$59.99$49.99), Shaun Usher has trawled the world’s archives to produce a rich visual anthology that stretches from ancient times to present day.
- Make and Do: 25 Amazing Projects to Beautify Your Life ($39.95) is the latest book by Melbourne design guru, Beci Orpin, and is filled with fun, inspirational projects for the whole family.
- 1-Minute Gardener: The 70 Skills You Need for Growing Food in Small Spaces ($45) by Mat Pember and Fabian Capomolla features 70 fast, illustrated step-by-step guides to edible gardening essentials.
- An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments ($24.99) by Ali Almossawi is aimed at teaching newcomers to the field of critical thinking the importance of logical reasoning using a novel approach.
For your sibling’s new partner…
- It is a truth universally acknowledged, that you simply can never read enough Nora Ephron. Thus: The Most of Nora Ephron (
- In The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs ($39.95), Greil Marcus selects ten songs, recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock ‘n’ roll.
- For mystery lovers… Anthony Horowitz presents a new Sherlock Holmes story with Moriarty ($29.99).
- A staff favourite this year is Adelle Waldman’s debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. ($19.99).
- John Waters' Carsick ($24.99) is a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizens, as he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco.
For the person you’ve never met and know absolutely nothing about…
- Congratulations, by the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness ($17.99) is a transcript of George Saunders' funny, inspirational address at Syracuse University that became a viral sensation.
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield visited Melbourne earlier this year for the Melbourne Writers Festival and was absolutely wonderful. His memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth ($32.99), is vivid and engaging in the best possible way.
- Tess McCabe’s Conversations With Creative Women: Volume Two ($44) is both fascinating and lovingly-presented.
- The Missing Pieces ($22.95) by Henri Lefebvre (and translated by David L. Sweet) is utterly fascinating! Through a lengthy chain of brief, laconic citations it is a catalog of what has been lost over time and what in some cases never existed.
For the friend who makes double your salary…
- If your friend planning a holiday or loves to travel, The Best Place to be Today: 365 Things to Do & the Perfect Day to Do Them ($29.99) is perfect inspiration for where to go and when.
- Recipes from an Italian Summer (
$49.95$24.95) presents a collection of over 400 summer recipes for all lovers of Italian food, and brilliant for planning swish dinner parties.
- Edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, Women in Clothes: Why We Wear What We Wear ($39.99) is a sprawling exploration of women and clothes (as you might expect) and its beautiful design will not look out of place in a designer apartment.
For your frenemy, or competitive sibling…
- A hilarious picture book about an extremely competitive dog, Number One Sam ($26.99) by Greg Pizzoli is a sweet gift for someone you’re always competing with.
- My Brilliant Friend ($29.99) by Elena Ferrante is the first in a series of novels about two friends who our reviewer described as, ‘the most brilliant example of frenemies.’
- Buy your frenemy a copy of The Life of I: The New Culture of Narcissism ($32.99) by Anne Manne and leave it to them to decide what the hidden subtext is…
For the office secret santa…
- In her comic, scathing essay ‘Men Explain Things to Me’, Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. Her new collection, also called Men Explain Things to Me ($21.95) presents that essay alongside six perfect complements.
- At last, cool robot toys that aren’t made of plastic and no batteries required! Cubebot ($24.95) will look so cute on your workmate’s desk.
- Why not try a colouring book for grown-ups? The illustrations feature everything from Ryan Gosling, to 90s pop culture, to record sleeves. Find them all here (prices vary).
- You might also like to browse our collection of stocking fillers for adults here, or check out our 20 books under $20 here.