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Friday, 12 December 2014

Book Gift Guide Christmas 2014!

Apologies this is so late, I've been super tired from work lately and have mostly just been lounging in my bright blue cookie monster onesie most (for "most" see: every) evenings, rather than writing this. Hopefully it'll still be in time to give you ideas for Christmas presents and to be fair, you've got a good week and a half to get your last few bought and wrapped! I've read some of these and also bought some as presents too so hopefully there's plenty of good'uns in here!

This past year has seen the release of lots of great autobiographies and memoirs and you can't really go wrong with these as gifts as they're not really specific genres as such, so are suited to most people's taste.

This is one I'm really looking forward to reading, being both a fan of TV show Girls and its writer/star, Lena Dunham. Not That Kind Of Girl is stories from the actresses life to date. It has courted quite a bit of controversy this year but it wouldn't be Lena Dunham if it didn't. 
Buy for: feminists with a fondness for pop culture.

Beloved rugby superstar Brian O'Driscoll released his much anticipated autobiography, The Test this year and promises to be an interesting look at his stellar career to date. 
Buy for: lovers of rugby and eh, any Irish person really.

I read and reviewed Yes Please by the marvellous Amy Poehler HERE and gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. We're treated to Poehler's memories of childhood, adolescence, her burgeoning career as a stand-up comedian and then as a star of SNL and Parks and Rec. It's humorous but also honest and emotive. 
Buy for: anyone who loves unapologetically kick-ass female comedians. 

Roy Keane's autobiography, The Second Half, ghost written by Roddy Doyle is apparently a brutally honest, amusing and self-deprecating look at the life and career of the hot-headed footballer. 
Buy for: sports fans who enjoy a bit of controversy.

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold is one of my most favourite TV characters around at the minute and his autobiography Not My Father's Son sounds really interesting. In his book, he seeks to find an explanation for his grandfather's mysterious death…intriguing, eh?! 
Buy for: fans of the sharp witted actor and a good tale.

Rory O'Neill/Pantibliss spent a lot of time in the news this year, following the frankly outstanding, Noble Call in the Abbey Theatre. Now you can read Panti's memoir, Woman In the Making and learn about growing up in an oppressive Ireland and going through a painful adolescence to become the iconic woman she is today. 
Buy for: fans of Panti and of Dublin itself (this is apparently a bit of a love letter to the city).

The Life and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton chronicles the comedian's rise to fame that has been described as honest, witty, revelatory and engaging. 
Buy for: fans of the Cork natives hugely popular chat show.

Actor Cary Elwes brings us his first person behind-the-scenes account of cult classic film The Princess bride in this book, As you Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride. Buy for: Fans of the AMAZING film, naturally!


Stephen King's Revival came out a couple of months ago and is both a thriller and a horror. I have this one on audible, all ready to go. Here King does what he does best; juxtaposes ordinary suburban life with addiction, religion and parallel worlds. 
Buy for: fans of the master of horror.

Speaking of Stephen King, during the year he announced that Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes is the scariest book he's read this year and apparently it is rather terrifying. Eep! I'm reading one of her others at the minute and so far it is certainly unsettling. 
Buy for: hardcore horror lovers. If Mr King recommends it, you best believe you need to read it.

My mammy-in-law bought me the Farm by Tom Rob Smith a few months back and I've as yet to read it. Doh! This is apparently a slow burner that starts of with a mother telling her son of a terrible crime his father and other men in the community may have taken part in. Daniel (the son) has to uncover the truth of what really happened. 
Buy for: fans of Scandinavian thrillers (it's set partly in Sweden). 

Daughter by Jane Shemilt has been fairly hyped up of late so it's hard to know how good it actually is but it does sound pretty promising. Jenny discovers her daughter Naomi is missing but starts to realise that she doesn't know her as well as she thought she did. 
Buy for: lovers of mysteries like Sister by Rosamund Lipton.

With the release of Gone Girl on film this year, the book has remained on top of bestsellers lists and now you can buy all three of Gillian Flynn's rather brilliant thrillers in a box set (just in case there's anyone that's been living under a rock and has read none of them). I personally think Sharp Objects is actually better than Gone Girl so this is a great present. 
Buy for: anyone who enjoys unusual thrillers with dark female protagonists.

The Secret Place by Tana French is the fifth novel from this Irish author and follows in a similar vein to the others in that it involves the fictional Dublin murder squad and an unsolved homicide. 
Buy for: lovers of impossible to figure out murder mysteries with an Irish vibe.

General Good Reads:
There's so many I could've picked for this. It was such a great year for books but I've had to narrow it down.

Ian McEwan has always been a firm favourite of mine and I can't wait to read his latest, The Children Act (which I own and shamefully haven't read yet!). 
Buy for: The person who likes modern classics like Atonement. 

A book about love, war and death, The Narrow Road to the Deep South by Richard Flanagan won this years Man Booker Prize
Buy for: The person that enjoys a more serious read.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is set in 1984 and follows Holly, a teenage runaway through strange occurrences like time travel, precognition and even murder. 
Buy for: the science fiction and fantasy lover. And eh, anyone who loves a beautiful book cover. Damn, that thing is fine.

Set in 1960's Ireland, Nora Webster is rebuilding her life following the death of her husband by finding solace through music and friendship. Sounds like another beauty from Colm Toibin
Buy for: The person who loves historical fiction with heart.

I read and reviewed the latest from Marian Keyes HERE. The Woman Who Stole My Life is an engaging read about Stella, a survivor of a rare medical condition who writes a book and tries to find new love. 
Buy for: anyone who loves romantic comedy with an edge.

David Nicholls is back with Us, a funny but poignant story of a marriage in trouble. 
Buy for: Anyone who loved One Day and wept like a big baby when they finished it. Not referring to myself there at all. Ahem.

I also read and reviewed How To Be A Girl by Caitlin Moran HERE and really enjoyed it. It is slightly more memoir than it is fiction but it's entertaining, cringe-worthy and affecting at the same time. Buy for: the outspoken feminist in your life who appreciates some oddly specific sex tips. 

Pretty Honest by beauty journalist Sali Hughes is high on my list and I'm reliably informed I will be opening it on Christmas morning. Yay! Hughes provides twenty years of expertise and advice on all things beauty- this is supposedly a great read told from a funny, feminist perspective. 
Buy for: Beauty lovers who like a bit of a bite to their reading material.

Children's Books:

I love the sound of Roddy Doyle's Brilliant, in which two kids overhear that their uncle has a "black dog" on his back after losing his job. They decide to hunt down the black dog and get rid of it but they soon discover lots of other children in Dublin are hunting him down too as the adults in their lives are affected by him as well. 
Buy for: an older child with an inquisitive nature who you think is ready to learn about the reality behind depression and mental illness.

Everyone loves Moone Boy, am I right? The book based on the TV show by Chris O'Dowd and Nick V Murphy is bound to be a winner this Christmas. 
Buy for: fans of the brilliant and hilarious program of the same name.

I loved B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (a book for adults) and The Book With No Pictures (written for much smaller peeps!) has been hugely successful this year. 
Buy for: little'uns with big imaginations and adults who have no problem making fools out of themselves by making crazy sounds.

And that's your lot! Any of these making your own wish list? Have you bought any books as presents this year? To the comments!


  1. Thank you for being my book guru this year, your recommendations are fantastic! Stephen King is next on my list, seen all the movies yet im just to scared to read the books :).

  2. Fantastic book guide! I know that the Stephen King and BOD ones are waiting for me, but I'm really looking forward to reading Moone Boy too, I got it for my eldest. Panti and Graham are on my list, as is Alan Cumming - I haven't read nearly enough autobiographies this year. I'm finding 'Us' hard going but I'll stick with it, I've heard such good things about it. Getting through the Lena Dunham one too, really enjoyed Amy Poehler's book. You've got something for everyone here, brilliant!