Our 2018 Christmas Gift Guide: What to buy for hard-to-buy-for adults

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be compiling a host of gift guides to help you with your Christmas shopping. Here is a list of suggestions for the tricky people in your life..


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An ageing relative…

  • Spitfire by David Fairhead and Ant Palmer tells the story of the most famous fighter aircraft ever made, combining breathtaking aerial footage with rare digitally re-mastered archive film from the 1940s.

  • In Books That Saved My Life, Michael McGirr invites a reflection on the gift of reading through his short, entertaining accounts of personal encounters with 40 influential works, both old and new.

  • If your relative is a big reader but struggling with vision impairment, they might be ready to slide into the world of audiobooks. Two newly released and popular titles available in this format are Stephen Fry’s entertaining history book, Heroes, and Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming.

  • For the nature-loving grandparents, there is now an illustrated edition of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees available, featuring snippets of the original text alongisde 86 stunning photographs of trees from around the world.

  • Sailing with Cook presents the private journey of James Burney, an English rear-admiral who accompanied Captain Cook on his last two voyages. This is a fascinating historical artefact embellished with maps, illustrations and more.

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The friend who has everything…

  • People who have everything often love to renovate. Modern Retro Home is the third book from celebrity stylist and designer Jason Grant who shares tips for creating a home that feels modern and nostalgic at the same time.

  • For the home chef who likes to think outside the box, Australian Bush Superfoods compiles some of the most interesting and beneficial bush superfoods, along with advice on how to incorporate them in recipes.

  • Or if your friend prefers to eat out, the Good Food Guide 2019 is an idea gift. Compiled by editor Myffy Rigby and 60 anonymous reviewers, this is a comprehensive and mouth-watering guide to Australian restaurants.

  • Keen travellers will find plenty if ideas in Epic Hikes of the World, which offers up stories of 50 incredible hiking routes in 30 countries, from New Zealand to Peru, plus a further 150 suggestions.

  • The Planthunter is not a practical manual, but rather a gorgeous celebration of act of gardening. Georgina Reid and photographer Daniel Shipp have compiled interviews with a range of gardeners that demonstrate the multitude ways we can engage with the world around us through plants.

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The booklover who’s read everything…

  • When Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary opened Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they put out a typewriter for anyone to use – and many people did. With help from designer Oliver Uberti, they have now shared some of their favourite notes left by strangers in Notes from a Public Typewriter.

  • The limited edition Readings 2019 Diary is ideal for booklovers, featuring literary quotes, key dates, photographs, illustrations from Oslo Davis, and a space to keep records of all the books they’ve read.

  • Book Towns is a compact, illustrated tour of 40 literary towns, outlining the history and development of each community, as well as offering practical travel advice. This gift is sure to inspire wanderlust in your literary friend.

  • If you really want to give them a book, you might like to try a hot-off-the-press-only-just-arrived-in-store title? We highly recommended My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (available in December). This blackly comic novel is exactly what it sounds like (the sister is a serial killer) and it’s one of the most anticipated books of 2018 so you’re sure to impress with your insider knowledge.

  • Finally, we adore these very funny Watership Downer stoneware mugs which would be appropriate for any literary lover with a wicked sense of humour.

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Your friend who ‘doesn’t read’ (but you really wish would)…

  • There’s something special this year for the Game of Thrones fan in your life. Set 300 years before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire, Fire and Blood is the definitive history of the Targaryens in Westeros, complete with illustrations from Doug Wheatley.

  • Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone is one of the best fantasy reads of 2018 and draws upon African history and mythology in thrilling ways. This story is gripping, inventive, brutal and extremely addictive. You can read a collection of staff raves about the book here.

  • Another book that had our staff buzzing this year is Dervla McTiernan’s crime debut. Set in Ireland, The Rúin is a character-driven police procedural that grapples with the country’s history and politics while maintain a rip-roaring pace. A serious page-turner.

  • Lisa Hanawalt is perhaps best known for her work on the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman, though if you look around you’ll see her comics and illustrations plenty of other places too. Her new graphic novel, Coyote Doggirl, is both an homage to and a lampoon of Westerns – at once playful, absurd and extremely heartfelt.

  • Beloved, life-affirming international bestseller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was made into a film earlier this year, winning over even more hearts. Even better for the casual reader, this is an epistolary novel (composed entirely of letters) which makes for a very quick read.

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One gift for a whole family…

  • Under the Canopy explores the environmental impact and cultural significance that trees have in different societies, from the olive trees of Athens to the Eucalyptus trees of Australia. This evocatively illustrated book is suitable for ages 5+, and perfect for sharing with the whole family.

  • For the intellectual family, Bletchley Park Brainteasers presents a selection of the ingenious mind-twisters – everything from cryptic crosswords to complex riddles – that the Bletchley Park recruiters used in recruiting top-level code breakers to their team.

  • In Nganga Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson share a variety of words used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, touching on history, culture and politics in the process.

  • Jacques Tati is one of the great comic icons of French cinema. Jacques Tati: The Restored Collection unites his six classic comedies with seven rare short films into a single box-set, to be enjoyed by fans of all ages.

  • Finally, for a project the family can all do together, we have some nifty packs for building either a T-Rex or Shark available. These informative and attractive sets are suitable for ages 7+.

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A total stranger…

  • Homer’s Odyssey is one of the most important and influential stories in the Western canon, but it’s only recently that its first ever English-language translation by a woman has appeared. Emily Wilson’s exciting and refreshing translation is now available in paperback, and it feels like the kind of book everyone should own a copy of.

  • Another book with wide appeal and significance, Marcia Langton: Welcome to Country is a beautifully produced and thoughtfully curated guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.

  • Sally Rooney’s Normal People is one of the biggest books of the year. This is an immersive and gripping novel about a relationship between two young people – we recommend you buy two copies so you can keep one for yourself!

  • Best Summer Stories brings together a collection of excellent and varied short fiction from some of Australia’s most talented storytellers, including Tony Birch, Stephanie Bishop, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and more. This is a wonderful book for dipping in and out of over the holidays.

  • Speaking of talented local storytellers, Alice Pung stands out as a warm, funny and candid voice in the Australian literary landscape. Close to Home compiles a wide-ranging selection of her short non-fiction writing and it’s suitable for both existing fans and newcomers.

Still stumped? We also sell gift vouchers which can be used in-store and online.

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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Homer, Emily Wilson

$29.95Buy now

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