We are well into November now and Christmas is just around the corner, so it is the perfect time to start thinking of gift ideas for your friends and family. Unless you are as organised as my mother-in-law and did your Christmas shopping back in January! If on the other hand, like me, you wait for Christmas to do your Christmas shopping then you will not be feeling the heat just yet and are probably thinking there is plenty of time before you need to start sweating and running around the shops at the last minute.
According to Statista the UK had the highest average Christmas gift budget in Europe last year at €321. Spain came in at second place with €252 but this did not even come close to how much money the Americans spent. A mighty $906 (equivalent to about €763!). That’s 2.4 times higher than the British and 3.0 times more than the Spaniards. Not everyone sets a budget but its good to have these figures in mind when deciding when to stop.
It seems to get more difficult every year to think of a unique present for each member of your family, something that you didn’t get them last year or the year before either just to be safe. We all have those secret WhatsApp chats with everyone about everyone else. What are you getting them this year? That’s a great idea! What? You have already got it? These conversations just pile on the pressure even more, especially if you wanted to get that gift for them yourself. Now you have no ideas left and you are completely stuck! So the next logical step is to “google it” and find some inspiration. You spend hours scrolling through suggestions and recommendations until finally the light bulb in your head flickers to life and you get an idea.
Then you have to decide whether to go to the “real” shops or “do it all online”. Some people are very proud about their decision on this matter. “I did all of my Christmas shopping on the high street this year” or conversely “well I did it all online while I was in bed in my pyjamas watching Netflix”. There is no right answer as you either spend hours and hours browsing through stores or paying delivery costs for everything.
Some say that Christmas shopping really starts with Black Friday, which is on 23rd November this year but that is mainly because this is an American phenomenon and their focus on Christmas doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving. The craze crossed the pond to Europe and this year MadRead will have its first ever Black Friday event not to miss out on!
To help save you a little time when it comes to book ideas we have prepared a few recommendations to give you some inspiration and help you find the right gift for somebody. We hope that it helps and the best thing about buying your books from MadRead is that there is FREE delivery to anywhere in Spain. If you are sending books to the UK then we also now do this for just €1 per book.
MadRead has just introduced Gift Vouchers, which are available from €5 to €100 and very soon we will be offering Gift Subscriptions for 3, 6 or 12 months where the gift recipient gets sent a book to their door each month. The books we send are always new releases and are personally selected based on the recipients unique reading tastes and preferences. You can find our Gift Vouchers, Gift Subscriptions and gift recommendations on our Gift Store. Good Luck and let us be the first to say we wish you a very Happy Christmas from MadRead!
Gifts for People Who Like to Read About Other People
Blowing the Bloody Doors Off by Michael Caine. Hollywood legend and British national treasure Sir Michael Caine shares the wisdom, stories, insight and skills that life has taught him in his remarkable career – and now his 85th year. Great for anyone who loves his films and stories from Hollywood.
Up by Ben Fogle and Marina Fogle. Part memoir, part thrilling adventure, Ben and Marina’s account of his ascent to the roof of the world is told with their signature humour and warmth, as well as with profound compassion. Perfect for the explorer and adventurist in the family.
Ed Sheeran by Sean Smith. If you have read about how Ed Sheeran got to where he is now you will know how hard he has worked to get there. Now he is the most successful solo star on the planet, earning 83 million last year. Yet in the middle of his record-breaking 2018 UK tour, he played for just 400 people at a charity night to raise money for the homeless. Great for musicians looking for inspiration to keep practicing or anyone looking for courage to pursue their dreams.
Becoming by Michelle Obama. A highly anticipated book. Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. Inspiration for Super Moms anywhere.
The Last Girl by Nadia Murad. Jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year, Nadia Murad tells her story of captivity and her fight against the Islamic State. This inspiring memoir takes us from her peaceful childhood in a remote village in Iraq through loss and brutality to safety in Germany. Courage and testimony can change the world: this is one of those books.
Journeys to the Other Side Of The World by David Attenborough. Following the success of the original Zoo Quest expeditions, in the late 1950s onwards the young David Attenborough embarked on further travels in a very different part of the world. From Madagascar and New Guinea to the Pacific Islands and the Northern Territory of Australia. Written with David Attenborough’s characteristic charm, humour and warmth, Journeys to the Other Side of the World is an inimitable adventure among people, places and the wildest of wildlife. For all wildlife fans and admirers of this incredible narrator and naturalist.
To Obama by Jeane Marie Laskas. More stories from the Obama household this Christmas time. One of the most important politics books of the year, To Obama is a record of a time when politics intersected with empathy. Every day, President Obama received ten thousand letters from ordinary American citizens. Every night, he read ten of them before going to bed. In To Obama, Jeanne Marie Laskas interviews President Obama, the letter-writers themselves and the White House staff in the Office of Presidential Correspondence who were witness to the millions of pleas, rants, thank-yous and apologies that landed in the mailroom during the Obama years. An intimate look at one man’s relationship with the American people, and at how this extraordinary dialogue shaped an era-defining presidency.
First Man by James R Hansen. Now a major film, First Man offers the only authorised glimpse into the life of America’s most famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong – the man whose “one small step” changed history. This book reveals the man behind the myth. In a penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. Perfect for space fans.
David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones. Drawn from a series of conversations between David Bowie and Dylan Jones across three decades, together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators. This award winning book will reveal a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time. For music fans this is not to be missed.
Educated by Tara Westover. A truly fascinating story. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home. For anybody wondering if change is possible, this book will give you the answer.
Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. Academy Award–winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm. This is a great fun book for fans of Reese or anyone looking to bring a little southern side into their home and life.
The Girl Who Climbed Everest by Bonita Norris. One woman’s journey facing the world’s toughest and most dangerous summits and the lessons she has learnt along the way. Gripping and inspiring, this is a story of determination, passion and overcoming fear. For anyone seeking a challenge next year and needs a little motivation that anything is possible.
Gifts for Story Lovers
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot—the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930. The perfect book to keep the detective in the family entertained for hours.
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author returns to the magnificent universe he constructed in his bestselling novels The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven in this riveting series finale—a heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain.
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continues with Ken Follett’s magnificent, gripping A Column of Fire. Set at Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. For fans of historical fiction.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing. Alternating and whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. If you like his films, you will like his writing.
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. According to the Financial Times “It’s hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes” and we completely agree. A hostage situation takes place at a centre for women’s reproductive health and the book starts at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release before unravelling backwards to how each of the characters cam to this point. Jodi grapples with difficult subjects and always gives the reader lots of moral dilemmas to ponder.
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Circumstances lock them together for seven days and as one member of the family hides a secret, not much can stay hidden for long but nothing is more shocking than the unexpected visitor who is about to arrive. A fun book for the Christmas period. You won’t be able to help imagining what might happen if it were your family in the story!
Snap by Belinda Bauer. This book has been widely acclaimed as one of the best crime books of the year. Snap decisions can be dangerous! Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever. Highly recommended for crime and mystery lovers.
The Little Strangers by Sarah Waters. Now a major film, this book was shortlisted for the Man Book Prize. Hundreds Hall has been home to the Ayres family for over two hundred years, but has now fallen into decline. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. A gripping novel for fans of scary stories.
Accidental Further Adventures of The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson. It all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harbouring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un. A laugh out loud novel about ageing disgracefully.
The Last Secret of the Deverills by Santa Montefiore. Kitty Deverill has come to terms with her life with her husband Robert, and their two children. But then Jack O’Leary, the love of her life, returns to Ballinakelly. And this time his heart belongs elsewhere…. Christmas is the time for a little romance and nobody does epic romance like Santa Montefiore.
A Question of Trust by Penny Vicenzi. 1950s London. Tom Knelston is charismatic, working class and driven by ambition, ideals and passion. He is a man to watch. His wife Alice shares his vision. It seems they are the perfect match. Then out of the blue, Tom meets beautiful and unhappily married Diana Southcott. Tom is forced to make decisions. For fans of historical fiction and romance fans. Penny combines old-fashioned virtues of gripping story-telling with a modern feel for insight into the lives of the characters.
Gifts for Foodies
Jamie’s Friday Night Feasts by Jamie Oliver. Packed with show-stopping dishes for the weekend and special occasions, this is the ultimate in indulgent food. Learn and master the dishes made in the famous caff on Southend pier by Jamie and his star-studded guests. From Party-time Mexican tacos with zingy salsa and sticky BBQ British ribs, to Steak & Stilton pie and the Ultimate veggie lasagne made with smoky aubergine, we’re talking about big-hitting, crowd-pleasing recipes that everyone will love.
A Burger to Believe In by Chris Kronner. A deep-dive into the art and philosophy of making the perfect hamburger, with recipes for game-changing burgers and all the accoutrements. In his debut cookbook, this trusted chef reveals the secrets behind his art and obsession, and teaches you how to create all of the elements of a perfect burger at home.
Joe’s 30 Minute Meals by Joe Wicks. Bestselling author Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, presents this gorgeous book featuring more than a hundred nutritious recipes that are perfect for sharing. Proving once again that you don’t need loads of time to cook great food, Joe’s 30-Minute Meals is packed with everyday healthy dishes that you’ll want to make, time and time again.
A Table In Venice by Skye McAlpine. Hundreds of thousands of tourists pass through the city of Venice each year, eat at trattorie, and leave having dined in Venice, but not having eaten well. It is the food cooked in homes and made with local ingredients, the recipes passed down through generations that is real Venetian food. It is romantic and it is exotic.
A Journey Through Wine by Adrien Grant. Wine has rolled its barrel from the shores of the Black Sea to the mountains of the Andes, following humans and their dreams. But just how did a Pyrenean grape variety end up in Uruguay? And by what means were grapevines able to reach Japan? This book goes back through time to retrace the grape’s conquest of the world, stopping in each winemaking country, from the oldest to the most recent, to discover wines past and present, while also looking to the future.
World On A Plate by Jack Stein. Jack Stein combines his culinary experience from working in restaurants around the world and his passion for British produce to create 100 dishes to enchant and entice home cooks. From dishes such as chilli crab (using the very finest Cornish crab) and Szechuan-style pigeon to hot and sour Sumatran soup and XO clams, the recipes featured are all easy to follow and simple to make, bringing the taste of exotic holidays to our own kitchen tables.
Basque Country by Marti Buckley. Featured as one of Food & Wine’s Best Cookbooks coming out this fall. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Spain, the Basque Country boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other region in the world. Marti Buckley, an American chef, journalist, and passionate Basque transplant, unlocks the mysteries of this culinary world by bringing together its intensely ingredient-driven recipes with stories of Basque customs and the Basque kitchen, and vivid photographs of both food and place. And surprise: this is food we both want to eat and can easily make.
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Powerhouse author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern–inspired flavors, all simple in at least (and often more than) one way: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly, deliciously simple meals.
Deliciously Ella by Ella Mills. Ella’s latest book features the most popular, tried and tested recipes from her supper clubs, pop-ups and deli to show how delicious and abundant plant-based cooking can be. The simple vegan recipes cover everything from colourful salads to veggie burgers and falafel, creamy dips and sides, hearty one-pot curries and stews, speedy breakfasts, weekend brunches, muffins, cakes and brownies.
The Little Swedish Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. Complete with stunning location and food photography, Rachel’s new cookbook lets you in on what the Swedish like to call Lagom . . . the art of not too little, not too much but just the right amount. Learn how to cook beautiful, fuss-free food. With over 100 recipes, Rachel explores Sweden’s simple and balanced approach to cooking, celebrates their best-loved ingredients and reveals a must-try cuisine that is about far more than just meatballs, fika and cinnamon buns.
Nadiya’s Family Favourites by Nadia Hussain. This cookbook shows you how to create the perfect dishes to complement the moments we all love, from days out with friends to big get-togethers and lazy weekends at home, as well as simple and satisfying solutions for busy weeknights and speedy showstoppers for impromptu guests.
We hope that this has given you a little inspiration to start you off on your Christmas shopping extravaganza this year. If you are organised and already know what book you want but you don’t see it on our shelves, then just contact us and we will order it in for you and deliver it for free.