There’s just over a week until Christmas, so no doubt most of you have sorted out gifts for your friends and family. But for those of you who are still struggling with what to buy, we have two words: a book. Specifically, a 2018 non-fiction release.
We’ve got recommendations for members of every tribe, from athlete to travel addict. You’re welcome.
For the activist
Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement by the founders of March For Our lives
February 14, 2018, was the worst day of a group of high schoolers’ lives – 17 students and staff members were killed, and 17 others injured when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. But the survivors have taken power from their grief and inspired a massive social movement, dedicated to changing gun laws in the US. This collection of essays and excerpts from speeches is a reminder of the reality of gun violence in the US, but also a guide to galvanising people into action when the prospect seems too huge.
The Revolution Handbook by Alice Skinner
A guided journal for anyone who switches on the news, and is tired and frustrated by what they see. If you dream of a better world, and believe you can contribute to that improved place, this book will help you cement your ideas and be inspired to make change.
For the sports lover
A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory
In 1988, an 11-year-old boy became the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel – the body of water between France and England. That record still stands (granted, new rules set a minimum age of 16 for those wishing to attempt it); this memoir tells of the training, and of the struggles and triumphs of the swim itself. Inspiration for any athlete and a reminder of what the human body is capable of.
Mbappe by Luca Caioli
A star on the rise, Kylian Mbappe was critical in leading France to World Cup victory earlier this year. He’s been breaking record after record since he became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958, and there’s so much to learn about him, despite the fact he only turns 20 this week. This biography reveals facts and exclusive interviews about the young star.
For the fashionista
The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair
If you’re serious about clothes, you need to understand the foundations of what is needed to create them. This book looks at history from the perspective of fabric, what it meant and means, and its impact on shaping society.
Fashion Climbing: A New York Life by Bill Cunningham
The late, great Cunningham started out as a fashion designer, but was best known as a fashion photographer, who captured candid shots of women on the streets of the Big Apple. This memoir reflects his pure love of fashion, and includes many examples of the art that made him so famous.
For the foodie
How to Eat by Nigella Lawson
This is a bit of a cheat, as the book was originally published in 1998. But this year saw the release of a new edition of the book that popularised food writing for “regular” people – her descriptions of dishes is lyrical, her tone is rapturous, and her recipes hugely accessible – she has always denied being a chef – and encourages other home cooks to make dishes her own. This is the book to get a friend who doesn’t have much kitchen space, but will describe in detail every item they cook or eat.
Food Fight!: A mouthwatering history of who ate what and why through the ages by National Geographic Kids
A fascinating 160 pages for readers who’ve ever wondered how long apples have existed, why M&M’s were invented, or what the medieval equivalent of a PSL was. Written for tweens, but fascinating for all ages.
Completely Perfect by Felicity Cloake
Cloake writes a long-running column in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, in which she tests multiple recipes for dishes, takes the best facets of several, and creates her own, “perfect” version. This book contains recipes for 120 classic dishes, and is perfect for anyone who wants to perfect the basics, or are learning to cook for themselves for the first time.
For the muso
Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music by Michael Azerrad
The acclaimed music journalist has written a tongue-in-cheek guide to what not to write in a music review. Consolidating his Twitter feed, he playfully mocks the clichés beloved by some of his colleagues. Even if the sarcastic approach is not to your taste, he makes some good points about the importance of trying to keep your writing fresh to keep your readers hooked.
Voices: How a Great Singer Can Change Your Life by Nick Coleman
The author is a music journalist – who suffered temporary deafness for some months, and remains deaf in one ear. Something of a problem in his line of work. In this book, he dissects some of music’s most famous vocals – Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra – and the effect of those on him and his coming of age. You may not agree with his assessments – or even have heard all the artists he talks about, as he focuses on the rock era – but it will definitely give any music lover a push to think about the voices that have shaped their own tastes.
For the traveller
Travel, Forever.: A Guide for Aspiring Adventurers by Trent Matthews
If you have a friend who’s planning a year out, or has always wanted to travel the world alone, this could be the ultimate gift, with useful tips on how to save money before and during a trip. What’s more, profits from the book go to charity This World Exists, which aims to fund schools and education projects around the world – so far they’ve contributed to the building and renovation of three education facilities in Nepal and Cambodia.
The Travel Book : A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is possibly the most respected (or at least most prolific and accessible) brand of travel publications and this latest release offers loads of inspiration for the wannabe nomad. It features details of every United Nations-approved country in the world, and includes information on the countries culture, plus gorgeous photographs.