Christmas Gift Guide 2013: 12 books that make perfect presents

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (£14)

Commander Chris Hadfield is everyone’s favourite Canadian; his tweets and Reddit AMAs from the International Space Station have inspired a resurgence of interest in space travel, and he became the first person to shoot a music video in space – one of our Tech Events of the Year.

Now he’s written this book – equal parts autobiography and advice manual, it’s packed with tips from his unique perspective. “Visualise failure,” so that you’re prepared for every eventuality that can possibly go wrong, is sound advice when you’re floating in a tin can in hard vacuum – and it’s just as useful on Earth, too.

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (£17)

This encyclopedia of the Legend of Zelda series was first released in 2011 – in Japanese. English-speakers have had a long wait to get their hands on it – but it’s worth it.

Packed with concept art, a detailed timeline that bravely attempts to make sense of the mutually-contradictory Zelda games, and a Skyward Sword manga, it’s perfect for Nintendo fans.

12 gadgets and gifts for gamers

More after the break...

The Hogwarts Library Boxed Set (£25)

Thought that you’d reached the end of the Harry Potter saga when you finished the seventh book in the series? Think again. This boxed set collects three bits of Potter ephemera, all penned by JK Rowling herself.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages are facsimile schoolbooks originally produced for Comic Relief, while The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of in-universe poems and short stories.

These lovely editions package the books as “property of Hogwarts Library,” and the scribbles in the margins are rather more effective in a printed copy than in the ebook editions.

It’s a good time to familiarise yourself with the books, too – JK Rowling herself is currently writing the script for an upcoming movie based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Sensible Software 1986-1999 (£25)

Gary Penn chronicles the history of Sensible Software, which dominated the 80s and 90s gaming scene with titles like Cannon Fodder and Sensible Soccer before its dinky little sprites fell out of favour with a public increasingly wowed by the PlayStation’s polygons.

Taking in everything from early titles like Wizball to the never-completed magnum opus Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll, the book's beautifully designed and stuffed with artwork and notes from the Sensible archives.

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