Christmas Gift Guide: What To Buy For Your Parents

For the parent who’s always encouraging you to go out in nature and enjoy the flora and fauna…

For the parent who visits art galleries on the weekend..

  • For those with an interest in Australian art, there’s Sasha Grishin’s comprehensive and definitive Australian Art: A History ( $129.95), Patrick McCaughey’s highly readable and passionate Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters ( $44.99) and Betty Churcher’s delightfully reflective companion to the much-loved Notebooks of 2011 – Australian Notebooks ($44.99).
  • Vivienne Westwood is one of the icons of our age; fashion designer, activist, co-creator of punk, global brand and grandmother; a true living legend. Her biography, Vivienne Westwood ( $44.99) is as fascinating as you would hope.
  • If your parent is always coming up with new business schemes, The Monocle Guide to Good Business ($99.50) is a great pick. The 300-page book features original photography and illustrations printed on a selection of the highest-quality papers; it’s a handbook for those who want to make a company that will last.
  • Mid-Century Modern Complete ($120) is a survey of one of the most popular, collectable and dynamic periods of international design, complete with thirteen specially commissioned essays by renowned experts and over 1,000 mainly colour illustrations.
  • For something a bit quirky, Knife and Fork: Visual Identities for Restaurants, Food and Beverages ($92.95) is a showcase of original and unconventional visual identities from the world of eating, drinking, and hospitality.

For the parent who’s planning to do some serious summer reading…

  • Two weeks in a remote island villa with America’s most dysfunctional family – what could possibly go wrong? Find out in The Vacationers ($19.99) by Emma Straub.
  • In Emma ($29.99), Alexander McCall Smith lends his delightful touch to Jane Austen’s classic novel as part of The Austen Project (find other books in this project here).
  • For something ‘strange’, Michel Faber’s latest novel, The Book of Strange New Things ($29.99) sees him at his expectation-defying best. Our reviewer writes, ‘Faber does strange so well and this novel is certainly that: there is an eeriness that creeps beneath the words, which never quite leaves you.’
  • Our reviewer describes Joshua Ferris’ To Rise Again at a Decent Hour ($22.99) as ‘a darkly comic exploration of faith, obsession and flossing’.
  • Another ‘darky comic’ read is the controversial new novel from Dutch author Herman Koch – Summer House with Swimming Pool ($29.99).
  • Liane Moriarty always makes for brilliant holiday reading and her latest novel Big Little Lies ($32.99) is no exception, winning the hearts of many of our staff.
  • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher ( $24.99) is an unsettling collection of short stories from double Man Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel.
  • Speaking of the Man Booker… This Christmas we have a special pack of four Man Booker Prize-winning novels by three extraordinary Australian writers: Peter Carey, Richard Flanagan and Thomas Keneally ($70).

For the parent with a passion for crime that verges on suspicious:

  • If your parent enjoys the likes of Lee Child and James Lee Burke, The Burning Room ( $27.99) by Michael Connelly is a good option – a fast-paced action read.
  • If your parent enjoys the classics of crime fiction you could see how they take to a reboot… In Moriarty ($29.99), Anthony Horowitz continues the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, while in The Monogram Murders ($29.99), Sophie Hannah continues the adventures of Hercule Poirot.
  • If your parent read (and enjoyed) J.K. Rowling’s 2013 crime book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, her follow-up with The Silkworm ($32.99) is another highly addictive page-turner.
  • In Australian crime, our crime specialist is loving Sulari Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair series. She writes, ‘There is something so completely delicious about Rowland Sinclair and his louche band of comrades, the rapscallion Australian heroes of Sulari Gentill’s 1930s-set series. I could eat them all up with a silver spoon…’ The latest addition is A Murder Unmentioned ($29.99).
  • Yes, the television series Fargo ($49.95) is an adaptation of the Academy Award-winning feature film by the Coen Brothers. It’s also terrific. Have a look at some more popular crime shows here.

For the parent who follows the news obsessively:

For the parent who likes finding out about other peoples’ lives…

  • In Lenny: With All My Heart ($39.95), Lenny Hayes takes us behind the scenes and into the locker rooms at St Kilda Football Club, and what emerges is a moving story of a truly great professional and his long, outstanding career. Browse more sport biographies here.
  • The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in New Guinea in 1961 has kept the world guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full, astonishing story in Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art ($32.99).
  • In Margaret & Gough: The Love Story That Shaped a Nation ($32.99), Susan Mitchell tells the compelling story of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, his wife Margaret and their 70-year relationship.
  • Michelle Potter’s Dame Maggie Scott: A Life in Dance ($49.99) is a generous tribute to one of Australia’s most important ballerinas.
  • David Walsh’s memoir A Bone of Fact ( $49.99) is unconventional, absorbing and surprising. It’s also a stunning object in its own right.
  • John Lahr brings one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century to vivid life in Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh ($49.99). Of this book, John Waters writes, ‘Nobody will be able to write another biography of Tennessee Williams after this, because it puts the D in definitive.’
  • In 2011 Maggie Mackellar moved from her family’s farm in Central West New South Wales to the east coast of Tasmania with her children and assorted menagerie to live with a farmer. How to Get There ($32.99) is her story of this time.

For the parent who owns a stellar sound system…

  • Our reviewer describes C.W. Stoneking’s Gon’ Boogaloo ($21.95) as ‘groovy and an all round hoot’. This certainly sounds like some dads we know…
  • 2014 saw a stack of wonderful music books, including a biography by Steve Kilbey (Something Quite Peculiar, $29.95) and a beautiful collection of Joy Division’s lyrics (So This is Permanence, $49.99). Browse more music titles here.
  • If your parent is a vinyl fanatic, we have a diverse range available from our Carlton and St Kilda shops. For a quick fix, one of the most notable 2014 releases was the re-issue of the first three albums from Led Zeppelin, which you can find here.
  • If your parents are classical music lovers, we again have a brilliant range to choose from. You can browse our highlights from the year here. If you don’t know what kind of classical music they enjoy, The Originals Box: Legendary Recordings ($159.95) is a fabulous option.

For the parent who’s always feeding you…

  • Local chef and busy working mother Karen Martini is a favourite at Readings. Her new cookbook, Home ( $34.99) is as accessible and delicious as her others.
  • In Thinking Drinkers: The Enlightened Imbiber’s Guide to Alcohol ($39.99), Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham have distilled their drinks knowledge into an intoxicating armchair read.
  • Heirloom vegetables had the gardening community abuzz in 2014 and Simon Rickard’s Heirloom Vegetables: A Guide to Their History and Varieties ($49.99) is a wonderfully comprehensive overview of just what these heirloom vegetables are.
  • Much-loved French chef Stephane Reynaud has made our mouths water yet again with Pies and Tarts ($49.99), which contains 80 recipes, from sweet to savoury. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.
  • If you think your parent deserves a night not feeding anybody but rather, the opposite, 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die ($49.99) may inspire them to plan an evening out.
  • The serious foodie will likely enjoy Heston Blumenthal’s Historic Heston ($79.99), which charts a quest through the best of British cooking, stretching from medieval to late-Victorian recipes.

If you’re looking for more gift ideas then browse our Summer Reading Guide or come visit one of our five shops and chat with a bookseller.

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Cover image for Moriarty


Anthony Horowitz

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