Gift Ideas: Fiction, Romance, Poetry

Let us be your personal shoppers!

ABC’s booksellers don’t just sell books: as well as being voracious readers, almost all ABC staff members are personally responsible for buying the books for one or more sections in the stores. That means you’ll always find someone who can put exactly the right book in your hands when you need it. We asked our buyers for their tips for the best gifts for the upcoming holiday season, and they came up with some great ones: new books, classic books, magazines, games, merchandise, and stationery.

Today you’ll find gift ideas for Fiction, Romance and Poetry as supplied by Simone and Sophie.

Even more gift ideas can be found here and here!


Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel

But you thought Bring Up The Bodies was this year’s Man Booker Prize winner?  So it was – but you have to walk before you can run, and Wolf Hall is the first part of Mantel’s much-lauded Thomas Cromwell trilogy, with Bringing Up The Bodies part two.

The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year – Sue Townsend

The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she’s wanted to yell at the world, ‘Stop! I want to get off’. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think.
Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-year-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention-seeking to new heights.
But word of Eva’s refusal to get out of bed quickly spreads. (more…)

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

Read Katherine Matthews’s review here and David Young’s review here. And look here for Chip Kidd’s great TED talk on book design!

Back to Blood – Tom Wolfe

As a police launch speeds across Miami’s Biscayne Bay-with officer Nestor Camacho on board-Tom Wolfe is off and running. Into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day, loin lock by night-until lately, the love of Nestor’s life; a refined, and oh-so-light-skinned young woman from Haiti and her Creole-spouting, black-gang-banger-stylin’ little brother; a billionaire porn addict, crack dealers in the ‘hoods, “de-skilled” conceptual artists at the Miami Art Basel Fair, “spectators” at the annual Biscayne Bay regatta looking only for that night’s orgy, yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers at an “Active Adult” condo, and a nest of shady Russians. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe’s previous bestselling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

Both Flesh and Not: Essays – David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was beloved for his inimitable voice and wit-and, for many of his readers, admired as much for his astonishingly perceptive and inventive essays as he was for his fiction. Both Flesh and Not gathers fifteen of Wallace’s seminal essays, all published in book form for the first time.
Never has Wallace’s seemingly endless curiosity been more evident than in this compilation of work spanning nearly 20 years of writing. Here, Wallace turns his critical eye with equal enthusiasm toward Roger Federer and Jorge Luis Borges; Terminator 2 and The Best of the Prose Poem; the nature of being a fiction writer and the quandary of defining the essay; the best underappreciated novels and the English language’s most irksome misused words; and much more. (more…)

The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, The Yellow Birds is already being hailed as a modern classic. Everywhere John looks, he sees Murph. He flinches when cars drive past. His fingers clasp around the rifle he hasn’t held for months. Wide-eyed strangers praise him as a hero, but he can feel himself disappearing. Back home after a year in Iraq, memories swarm around him: bodies burning in the crisp morning air. Sunlight falling through branches; bullets kicking up dust; ripples on a pond wavering like plucked strings. The promise he made, to a young man’s mother, that her son would be brought home safely. (more…)


The Perfect Hope – Nora Roberts

Part 3 of the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, just in time for these dark days! Our Lady of Romance has never let us down yet, and I fully expect her to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the stories of Beckett, Owen, and Ryder.

Venetia – Georgette Heyer

If you love Jane Austen, you’ll love Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, and this is one of her funniest and most endearing.

Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire

One of the plethora of Fifty Shades readalikes.

Fifty Shades of fancy hardcovers! Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed – E. L. James

…and while we’re on the subject of Fifty Shades: if your copies have been quite worn down (or you know someone with this particular problem ;-)) why not replace them with these beautiful – and sturdy – hardcover editions?


Life on Mars – Tracy K. Smith

In this brilliant collection of new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant and revisits kitschy concepts like ”love” and ”illness”, now relegated to the ”Museum of Obsolescence”. With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe, accompanying the discoveries, failures and oddities of human existence and establishes Smith as one of the best poets of her generation.

This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry!

Chorus: A Literary Mixtape – Saul Williams

Chorus is the anthem of a new generation of poets unified by the desire to transcend the identity politics of the day and begin to be seen as one. One hundred voices woven through testimony and new testament. It is the cry of the unheard. The occupation of the page itself. It embodies the “speak-up” spirit of the moment, the confidence propagated through hip-hop, and the defiant “WTF?” of the now. It is the voice that comes after the rebellious voice that once cried, “I want my MTV!” branded back to where punk was, slammed up and beyond it. A combination of trash, heart, and craft. An anthology in rant.

Catching Life By The Throat – Josephine Hart

Following the hugely successful Josephine Hart Poetry Hours at the British Library where actors such as Roger Moore and Juliet Stevenson have read poetry from Auden to Eliot, from Larkin to Plath – comes the book and a complimentary CD.