HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: Which books to buy for who this Christmas, an imperfect guide.

Friends, this is not a Books Of The Year list. I don’t like those lists. Books aren’t a competition and also I’m a writer who knows how it feels to be sometimes on those lists and sometimes not and also if you’ve read the first book on this list (Yellowface, hard recommend) you know that what makes a “hot” book of the year is a fix, to some extent. 

Thank you for listening to my abbreviated brief Ted Talk.

So no, this is not a Books Of the Year list. It’s a Booky Gift Guide. Because if you’re buying a book for yourself, you need a whole lot of context about what it’s about and why it’s worth your time and dollars. But if you are buying a book for someone else, you just need to know if it’s the kind of thing they’ll like. 

I already said, in my other gift guide (just call me Santa), that if I DID have to pick a book of the year, and a book that everyone on the planet should be delighted to receive, it’s Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (technically, it came out last year, so I’ve already screwed that). But for your more specific requirements, please enjoy…

Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang for a young, smart human who’s extremely online.

Image: Supplied/Holly Wainwright.

I Look Forward To Hearing From You by Nick Bhasin for your deeply sarcastic, obsessed with US-comedy-writing friend.

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Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld for your mate who knows which celebrity is dating who, but, you know, in a smart, ironic way.

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Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth for that person who always thinks they can solve the true-crime podcast before the end.

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Bright Shining by Julia Baird for your mate who keeps telling you how dark the world is right now (they’re right & this helps).

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The Compost Coach by Kate Flood for that one (hi) who has been boring you with how they’re ‘really’ going to start composting.

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The House That Joy Built by Holly Ringland for a woman who writes but feels too small to call herself ‘a writer’.

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Girl In A Pink Dress by Kylie Needham for your friend with quietly exquisite taste.

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Now. DID YOU KNOW you can gift audio books?! This is not an ad, you can go figure it out wherever you listen, but I’ve embraced them thoroughly this year & so have the class acts reading these.

Friends, Lovers & The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry. For anyone who thinks addiction is a choice. Narrated by the late man himself.

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Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. As discussed. But Charlie Thurston will forever be Demon’s voice for me.

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The Woman In Me by Britney Spears. For your person who would never read a Britney bio (unless it was narrated by Michelle Williams).

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Tom Lake by Anne Patchett, narrated by Meryl Streep. For a grown-up woman with daughters.

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AND – a special mention: Something Bad Is Going To Happen by our own Jessie Stephens in whatever hell format you want – for ANY young woman in your life.

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This list also appears in Holly Wainwright’s newsletter, Interesting. To sign up, click here

Feature image: Supplied.