Christmas Gift Guide 2016: 20 of the best books for readers

Brilliant leafers to wrap up for bookworms

Choosing books for the discerning devourer of all things written is a deceptively difficult task.

Sure, you could pick up a bestseller or choose something from the discount section, but doing so is to ignore the relationship a reader has with their latest page-turner. From afternoons on the couch to hours on the bus, burying your head in a book is an intensely involved experienced - so you'd better choose wisely.

We're here to help, though, with these 20 stellar shelf-fillers bound to bring book-lovers unbridled joy. You can thank us later.

The Making of Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', by Piers Bizony (£40)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 galaxy-spanning movie masterpiece remains a cornerstone of the sci-fi genre – and now you can go behind the scenes of the space epic that created space epics.

With a complete compendium of interstellar images captured during production, as well as concept paintings, designs and publicity prints, this is the perfect present for would-be visual visionaries. Sadly, there’s no HAL included.

Buy The Making of Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' here

Beautiful You, by Chuck Palahniuk (£7)

Think of Fight Club. Then think of the diametric opposite of it. Does it involve the world’s most potent sex toys, so effective that women flock in their millions to buy them from a rogue named C Li Maxwell? So magnificent that they stop leaving their rooms? No? Well it should, because the author of the former just wrote a book about the latter.

Buy Beautiful You here

Reel History: The World According to the Movies, by Alex Von Tunzelmann (£13)

If you’d rather revel in the roll without going full-nerd, this romp through movie history on a quest to discern fact from fib might be just the trick.

Did Cleopatra really bathe in milk? Was Abraham Lincoln really the first to patent swipe to unlock? Either of those may or may not be true, but if they’re featured in a flick then this book will probably tell you the truth.

Buy Reel History here

All The Birds In The Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (£6)

Two teenage outcasts struggle with their identities and infuriating families. So far, so usual. Except he builds time machines and super-computers, while she’s a witch who can talk to animals. Not to mention the unbalanced assassin following their every move.

Ten years later, they meet again in San Francisco and try and make sense of their unravelling world, where AIs play matchmaker and abandoning Earth via a wormhole seems a genuine option. The story pans out in touching, witty and downright dazzling way, as Anders masterfully combines the worlds of science and magic.

Buy All The Birds in the Sky here

Station 11, by Emily St. John Mandel (£6)

Station 11’s narrative straddles the end of life as we know it, thanks to a pandemic called Georgia Flu, and centres on one perspective from each side of the cataclysm.

Arthur, an actor jaded by Hollywood, and Kirsten, an actress with a roving band of Shakespeare performers 15 years later, are the two key protagonists, whost pasts and presents are inextricably linked. What emerges is a tense, slow-burning thriller and a poignant meditation on the nature of fame and fate. In other words, perfect beach fodder.

Buy Station 11 here

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