Christmas Gift Guide 2013: 12 books that make perfect presents

We've scoured the shelves of bookshops to come up with a collection of tomes that deserve to be wrapped up under your Christmas tree

Ah, books – the perennial Christmas gift.

We’ve rounded up a selection of texts ranging from future-gazing explorations of tech to tales that’ll thrill and entertain, to gorgeous, inspiring design work.

And with Kindles and tablets meaning that ebooks are vastly more convenient that traditional paper and print books, we’ve aimed to find books that will impress as physical objects, too – worthy of wrapping up and putting under your tree.

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products (£15)

For the Apple fan who has everything, Leander Kahney's biography of the design guru behind the iMac and iPhone makes for an excellent companion piece to Walter Isaacson’s life of Steve Jobs.

As well as profiling the man himself, it’s an interesting look at how design came to dominate Apple’s philosophy – to the point where Ive now calls the shots across software and hardware design at the company.

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Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (£25)

This compilation of important – or just plain interesting – correspondence draws from the Letters of Note website. It’s worth picking up the book, though – it’s a beautifully-designed collection, presenting the letters in facsimile form alongside photos and doodles.

Everyone from Elvis to the Queen is represented, with letters that range from the uplifting – Iggy Pop’s advice to a young fan – to tragic – Virginia Woolf’s suicide note.

More after the break...

S. (£20)

In a world where reading is increasingly the preserve of ebook readers and tablets, what place is there for the physical book? Star Trek director JJ Abrams and author Doug Dorst have attempted to answer that question, creating a book that can only really be experienced when you’re holding it in your hands.

Ostensibly a novel called “Ship of Theseus,” S. features a second, intertwining narrative, told through marginalia and artefacts slipped between the pages; postcards, a map on a napkin, newspaper clippings and so forth. A unique celebration of the tactile experience of reading a book – and a proof that there’s life in the old tome yet.

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Historic Heston (£63)

Let’s be honest: despite the weights and measures and cooking times, you’re not going to use this Heston Blumenthal tome as a cookbook – unless you have access to his vast array of culinary technology. But as a record of how he’s gone about using modern techniques to revive historic dishes – including his “meat fruit,” a sort of paté disguised as an orange – it’s a fascinating read.

Plus, as an object in its own right, the book’s rather sumptuous – a weighty volume packed with food-porn photos and illustrations from Sandman cover artist Dave McKean. Sambocade, anyone?

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