Christmas Gift Guide: What To Buy For Your Significant Other

If your significant other wants to host more dinner parties…

  • The much loved Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty More ( $39.99), is innovative and delicious, and perfect for impressing guests.
  • Mexico: The Cookbook ($59.95) by Margarita Carrillo Arronte is the definitive bible of Mexican home-cooking.
  • For something a bit experimental, there’s a new cookbook from homegrown chef, Poh Ling Yeow: Same Same But Different ($39.99) will inspire you to go in new culinary directions with familiar ingredients.
  • For someone with decidedly fancy taste, Organum ($100) by Peter Gilmore is utterly sumptuous.
  • Dinner parties always need great conversation starters and Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought ( $29.99) is a brilliant one! Or, find more books that make great conversation starters here.
  • Music is another necessary component to the perfect dinner party. Try The Paris Session ($29.95) by the Toure Raichel Collective or Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone ($24.95) by Lucinda Williams. If your significant other has a record player, make sure to check out our diverse range of vinyl in-store available from our Carlton and St Kilda shops.

If your significant other wants to hear more interesting true stories…

  • Vladimir Nabokov’s Letters to Véra ($49.99) reveal what he valued most in art: curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy.
  • In Carsick ($24.99), cult legend John Waters hitchhikes across America, from Baltimore to San Francisco, and imagines the best and worst that might happen.
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman ($45) is a highly-readable and off-beat pick for someone who loves biographies.
  • Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot ($22.99) is Masha Gessen’s account of the Pussy Riot protest, the ensuing global support movement, and the tangled and controversial trial of the band members.
  • Lisa Robinson has interviewed everyone from John Lennon to Bono to Patti Smith, Eminem to Lady Gaga, Jay-Z to Kanye West. There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll ($29.99) is a collection of her experiences over the last forty years.
  • In Choose Your Own Autobiography ($29.99), actor/personality/carbon-based-life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life.
  • The Moth: This Is a True Story ($27.99) brings together the best stories from The Moth’s live storytelling nights.
  • Amy Poehler’s Yes Please ( $27.99) is a wise, hilarious and candid collection of stories, ideas, mantras, confessions, haikus, and words-to-live by.

If your significant other wants to enact the perfect crime…

  • What better way to figure out how to commit the perfect crime than reading about someone who failed? Blood Will Out ($29.99) is a one-of-a-kind story of an innocent man duped by a real-life Mr Ripley.
  • For fat and juicy crime books try The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair ($32.99) by Joël Dicker, which is described as Twin Peaks meets Atonement meets In Cold Blood. Or The Secret Place ($29.99) by Tana French whose cover simply features the words: ‘I know who killed him’. Ooooooh…
  • One of the most talked about television series of the year, True Detective: Season 1 ( $24.95) is a must-see: the lives of two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, become entangled during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana.
  • Fans of The Wire ( $89.95) will also enjoy Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets ($24.99) by David Simon and Richard Price
  • For something a bit different, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer’s graphic novel Kill My Mother ($35.95) is a tribute to film noir and detective fiction. Feiffer’s artwork is wonderfully inventive, and his take on the noir structure is both affectionate and thrilling.
  • You might also like to consider gifting a classic true crime such as Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial ($21.95) by Janet Malcolm. Find more here.

If your significant other has been bitten by the travel bug…

If your significant other wants to see the world differently…

  • Warm, funny, stylish, thought-provoking and beautifully produced, Vahram Muratyan’s About Time: A Visual Memoir Around the Clock ($29.99) is a meditation on and celebration of how we spend our lives.
  • In The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help ($29.99), performer Amanda Palmer expands on her phenomenally popular TED talk to encourage readers to perfect the forgotten art of asking. She reveals how learning this art has taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities and discover her own giving impulses.
  • Written with the pace of a psychological thriller, Anne Manne’s provocative and unsettling account of narcissism, The Life of I: The New Culture of Narcissism ($32.99), is a fascinating read.
  • 33 Artists in 3 Acts ($32.99) will delight any reader seeking to understand creative lives. In three richly interlinked but distinct ‘acts’ - Politics, Kinship and Craft - Sarah Thornton compares and contrasts answers to the simple but profound question: what is an artist?
  • Terrence Holt’s stories in Internal Medicine: A Doctor’s Stories ($27.99), which draw on his experiences as a doctor, will challenge you to reconsider your thoughts on life and death.
  • In You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes ($44.99) author and astronaut Chris Hadfield creates a virtual orbit of Earth, giving us the really big picture: this is our home, from space.

If your significant other just really wants to escape into a good book…

  • For the Jane Austen lover, Adelle Waldman’s debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. ($19.99) is a witty New York-based social commentary and boasts recommendations from the likes of Jonathan Franzen, Lena Dunham and, of course, Readings staff.
  • From David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, comes The Bone Clocks ($29.99) – an exciting metaphysical thriller and meditation on mortality.
  • An entirely original and accomplished short-story collection, Ceridwen Dovey’s Only The Animals ( $26.99) was the winner our New Australian Writing Award. Our judges described it as, ‘a luminous example of literature’s power to foster and develop empathy’.
  • Revival ($32.99) is a brand-new dark and electrifying novel from the master of horror, Stephen King.
  • Station Eleven ($29.99) by Emily St. John Mandel is perfect for readers who enjoy a mash-up between genre and literary. Our reviewer describes it as, ‘smart, haunting and inventive’.
  • John Darnielle, the musician behind the band The Mountain Goats, has released an audacious debut novel, Wolf in White Van ($27.99).
  • Haruki Murakami’s new novel, The Strange Library ( $24.99), is another gorgeously weird read from an author who’s frequently mentioned as a possible recipient of a future Nobel Prize in Literature.

If your significant other wants to learn a new skill…

If your significant other wants to relax…

  • Invest in a television series to watch together, such as Sherlock ($69.95).
  • If your significant other doesn’t mind having their heart broken repeatedly then Damien Rice’s album My Favourite Faded Fantasy ($21.95) is a gorgeously rich musical journey.
  • What better time to learn the art of appreciating poetry than over the summer holidays? And Gwen Harwood is an excellent place to start. Try The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood ($24.99).
  • If your significant other loves competitive boardgames and doesn’t own one already, a good Scrabble Dictionary ($19.99) is always in order. If the person in question is truly a scrabble-aficionado, you might like to consider pairing the dictionary with a book about language such as The Aitch Factor ($24.99) by Susan Butler or with Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist ($29.99) which features a great essay on professional Scrabble tournaments.
  • The beautiful and thoughtful Women in Clothes: Why We Wear What We Wear ($39.99), edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, is perfect for dipping in and out of.
  • The President’s Desk: An Alt-History of the United States ( $29.99) by Shaun Micallef is a funny, sprawling holiday read with something smart to say.

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 Wolf in White Van

Wolf in White Van

John Darnielle

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