Christmas Gift Guide 2020

Can’t decide what to give your friends and family this year? Our Christmas Gift Guide is here to help. We’ve rounded up our top recommendations for everyone on your shopping list (or even a treat for yourself), from prize-winning new fiction to the perfect stocking filler.

 

We’ve got lots of fiction to choose from this Christmas. First up, don’t miss new work from award-winning Irish authors Eimear McBride and Edna O’Brien, with Strange Hotel and Girl.

Featured on Between the Covers, Ingrid Persuad’s debut novel, Love After Love, is the perfect book to curl up with in winter, as she takes us to Trinidad to meet the Ramdin-Chetan family. Or travel to twenty-first century Dopamine City in DBC Pierre’s new novel: Meanwhile in Dopamine City is the story of a father, a daughter and a devious device.

Out in paperback this autumn, Petina Gappah tells the story of David Livingstone’s funeral party in Out of Darkness, Shining Light, giving voice to the men and women who carried his remains for 1,500 miles back to the coast. Also available in paperback is Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay, which tells a powerful and moving family story, perfect for fans of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout.

If you’re looking to read about unforgettable characters, Andrew O’Hagan’s new novel, Mayflies, is a heartbreaking story of an extraordinary lifelong friendship, while Akwaeke Emezi’s The Death of Vivek Oji introduces a whole host of characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek Oji’s gentle and enigmatic spirit.

Finally, why not try acclaimed novelist John Lanchester’s deliciously dark ghost stories in Reality, and Other Stories and bring in the new year with our reissue of The Snow Ball, the scandalous 1960s cult classic from Brigid Brophy, with a new foreword by Eley Williams.

 

We’ve also got you covered with some fabulous stocking-filler recommendations from across the Faber list, starting with the Faber & Faber Poetry Diary 2021 and our pocket-sized edition of the two brand-new Talking Heads from Alan Bennett, containing a pair of monologues that were recorded for the BBC and performed by Sarah Lancashire and Monica Dolan earlier this year.

Fans of Normal People will delight in the complete screenplays of the Emmy-nominated drama based on Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel. Normal People: The Scripts includes an introduction by director Lenny Abrahamson and features iconic images from the show. Another beautifully packaged gift book for Christmas is Gender Swapped Fairy Tales from Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett, a collection of fairy tales with a difference.

Curious thinkers will love the latest offering from the QI Elves, Funny You Should Ask . . ., and Alex Bellos’s The Language Lover’s Puzzle Book is perfect for crossword addicts and scrabble champions alike. 

Father Ted co-writer Arthur Mathews gives us a hilarious insight into the mind of the government’s chief adviser in The Cummings Files: CONFIDENTIAL, while Jay Rayner embarks on a journey through his life in food, in pursuit of the meal to end all meals in My Last Supper, a great gift for the foodies in your family.

Kae Tempest’s small but mighty work of non-fiction, On Connection, is a powerful meditation on creative connection and a call to arms that speaks to a universal yet intimate truth, while Adrian Tomine mines his conflicted relationship with comics and writing in The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, the comics legend’s first book since bestseller Killing and Dying.

Liverpool fans should look no further than Anthony Quinn’s love letter to the football club’s iconic manager in Klopp and for those who enjoyed What Would Boudicca Do?, Elizabeth Foley and Beth Coates are back with a new, witty, inspirational gift book: You Goddess!

 

Whether they’ve become captivated with the British countryside over lockdown or they’re looking to learn more about the wider workings of the universe, we’ve got some brilliant non-fiction recommendations for your loved ones.

Nature diary The Stubborn Light of Things charts author and podcaster Melissa Harrison’s journey from urban south London to the rural Suffolk countryside. Stephen Moss’s The Accidental Countryside will also take the reader on a journey of discovery through Britain, in search of the hidden corners where wildlife survives against the odds.

Stuart Clark explores how the stars have shaped the history of humankind in Beneath the Night, resulting in an awe-inspiring story of the universe and our place within it, while Marcus Chown’s The Magicians relays spellbinding stories of the scientists whose eureka breakthroughs in modern physics reveal science’s astonishing predictive power.

 

We’ve got lots to offer you on the crime and thriller front. Peter Swanson was back this year with Rules for Perfect Murders, which explores how a series of unsolved murders starts to bear an eerie resemblance to crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

Fans of classic detective stories will enjoy P. D. James’s A Mind to Murder and Nicola Upson’s Sorry for the Dead, in which protagonist Josephine Tey is accused of being complicit in a crime committed over twenty years ago. John Banville’s Snow is another detective story not to miss this winter, full of secrets and an ever-expanding murder mystery.

If you’re after the ultimate page-turner, Gabriel Bergmoser’s shocking and relentless plot in The Hunted definitely won’t disappoint (and will keep you up all night), while The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone takes place over the course of one nail-biting day in Paris. The stakes are equally as high in Brad Parks’s latest thriller, The Last Act, as an actor playing a failed bank robber goes undercover for the FBI.

 

You can’t go wrong with a book of poetry. Simon Armitage is back this year with Magnetic Field, which brings together the Poet Laureate’s Marsden poems, from his very first pamphlet to new work from a forthcoming collection. 

For fans of Barbara Kingsolver’s prize-winning fiction, How to Fly makes a wonderful gift edition of her luminous poetry. Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T. S. Eliot Prize, Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem should also be high on your list.

Don Paterson and Andrew Motion are both back with new poetry collections this year. Zonal is an experiment in science-fictional and fantastic autobiography, with all of its poems taking their imaginative cue from the first season of The Twilight Zone, while Andrew Motion’s Randomly Moving Particles creates a richly layered portrait of contemporary life.

 

We’re all in need of a good laugh this year and we’ve got the best remedies from some familiar faces. Fly away this Christmas with Richard Ayoade and Ayoade on Top. Richard’s definitive guide to cabin-crew dramedy View from the Top starring Gwyneth Paltrow is now out in paperback, as is fellow comedian Sara Pascoe’s bestselling book Sex Power Money, a funny and thought-provoking exploration of sexual representation and human interactions.

Dishonesty Is the Second-Best Policy for David Mitchell, as he brilliantly tackles the dumbfounding times we live in in this paperback edition. And for a trio of non-fiction that will bring you guaranteed hilarity, don’t miss New York Times-bestselling author Samantha Irby’s essay collections: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, Meaty and Wow, No Thank You.

 

How gorgeous are these fabric covers? Housed in exclusive Liberty prints, these eye-catching editions of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and the Booker Prize-winning Milkman by Anna Burns would make a handsome addition to any fiction fan’s bookshelves. 

Complete the trio and look ahead to the new year with the Liberty Faber Poetry Diary 2021, a week-to-view hardback diary with a brand new selection of forty poems and twelve illustrations carefully selected from the Faber Archive.

 

There’s something for children of every age in our Faber Children’s edit. Join Penelope Magnificent on an exciting adventure in Paris in The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle and conquer the Channel in Natasha Farrant’s epic middle-grade novel Voyage of the Sparrowhawk.

We have some wonderful hardback picture books that would make the perfect Christmas present for a little one, including The World’s Most Magnificent Machines by David Long and The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, beautifully illustrated by Chris Mould.

Gavin Puckett is back with My Daddy is Hilarious and everyone’s favourite real invisible cat returns in Squishy McFluff: On with the Show. If you loved The Hug, don’t miss While We Can’t Hug from Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar: a heart-warming new picture book this year that shows children ways to be affectionate while social distancing.

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed relay a heart-wrenching true story about life in a Kenyan refugee camp in When Stars are Scattered and for a festive treat, there’s Trouble on Planet Christmas with Kate Saunders.

 

If you’re looking for something that extra bit special, we’ve just released these two limited-edition letterpress prints signed by the authors, exclusively available for Faber Members. 

The first of these hand-printed letterpress prints features an extract from Kae Tempest’s critically acclaimed book, On Connection, a meditation on the power of creative connection. 

Taken from Sam Riviere’s latest poetry collection, After Fame, our second letterpress product contains a hand-printed poem of epigram [25]. The 118 poems in the collection cover timeless themes such as work, friendship, public life and sexual mores.

Join Faber Members for free here to get access to these two products in the Members Shop.

 

Don’t just take our word for it; guarantee yourself a good reading time with one of our nominated or prize-winning titles, such as Mary Jean Chan’s debut poetry collection Flèche, which picked up several prize shortlistings this year after securing the Costa Poetry Award.

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translated by Michele Hutchison was awarded this year’s International Booker Prize, while Tsitsi Dangarembga’s third novel This Mournable Body makes it to the Booker Prize shortlist. Both of these powerful and masterfully written novels are available in paperback.

The first writer to win the BBC National Short Story Award twice, Sarah Hall’s collection Sudden Traveller is perfect for short-story fans and Claire Adam’s novel Golden Child comes highly recommended after picking up another accolade this year for the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize. And for younger readers, Chloe Daykin’s magical third book, Fire Girl, Forest Boy, won the Gandys Children’s Travel Book of the Year award.

 

Our beautiful twenty-fifth-anniversary hardcover edition of Brian Eno’s A Year with Swollen Appendices has been redesigned in the same size as the diary that eventually became this book. It’s a candid and intimate insight into one of the most influential creative artists of our time and would make the perfect gift for fans of British music, both young and old.

The diary entries and essays featured in this edition come with a new introduction from the iconic musician, producer, visual artist and activist, making this an essential classic.

 

Last but not least, if you still don’t know what to buy someone this Christmas, then take your pick from some of our top highlights of the year. If you haven’t read Sunday Times bestselling novels Normal People by Sally Rooney, Lanny by Max Porter or Find Me by André Aciman, they’re all now available to enjoy in paperback.

Booker highlights come highly recommended in the form of International winner The Discomfort of the Evening and the shortlisted This Mournable Body, plus Costa Book of the Year-winning author of Days Without End Sebastian Barry was back this year with A Thousand Moons.

Hermione Lee’s incredible biography of playwright Tom Stoppard draws on several years of long, exploratory conversations with Stoppard himself to create a meticulously researched portrait. Our other non-fiction picks include Dylan Jones’s celebration of the New Romantics in Sweet Dreams and Francesca Wade’s spellbinding group biography Square Haunting, while Rachel Cusk is back with essays about choices, womanhood and art in Coventry. Another biography not to miss is Fiona MacCarthy’s Walter Gropius, illustrated with over 130 colour photographs and drawings.

And if you’re looking for a heart-warming read? For adults, Love After Love offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back, while, for children, While We Can’t Hug illustrates all the different ways you can show someone that you love them.

The Faber Shop is back online and ready to help you find your next read. Browse the full collection of what’s on offer here.

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