I tend to find that the summer and autumn a very birthday-heavy seasons and I love taking the opportunity to give my friends not only something that I love, but also something that I think they’ll love. With that in mind, I’ve made a list of 10 books that I would give, have given or have been given myself by a friend in the past. Some of these have already been discussed in my Top 5, so I won’t bother explaining them again, but say hello to some new suggestions too!
1. How to be Parisian wherever you are by Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest
This non-fiction read aims to give readers a lively and colourful understanding of what it takes to be a true Parisian, from what to wear to how to act on a first date. It’s girly, funny and bonus: it’s got beautiful pictures. This makes for a great present for someone who loves a coffee table kind of book and French culture!
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I’ve already spoken about this book in my top 5 but I can’t rate it highly enough; I JUST LOVE IT and want everyone to read it!
3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
This is a bit of a controversial one; I buddy-read it with my friend and I loved it, but she hated it (sorry)! It tells the story of a couple who end up living on the remote island of Janus Rock as lighthouse keepers and consequently their lives begin to unravel. I can’t say much more without giving it all away, but just know that it makes for an interesting read, with a lovely literary style and it’s a beautiful book, making it a great present for someone who loves reading.
4. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr
Again, I’ve already talked about this one before but it’s one of my favourite books ever, so that should be persuasion enough.
5. Room by Emma Donoghue
I LOVED this book. Written from the perspective of 5-year-old Jack, Room tells the story of him and his mother, and, of course, Room, the personified room in which they live. Donoghue’s writing is inventive, heartfelt and so poignant, that I basically read this in one sitting and then got my sister to read it, so that we could discuss it. If you or your friend like fast-paced and unexpected thrillers, I would 100% recommend this one!
6. The readers of Broken Wheel recommend by Katarina Bivald, translated by Alice Menzies
Now, this one may not be to everyone’s taste because it’s just so cute! The story follows Swedish booklover, Sara, who travels to a little town in Iowa called Broken Wheel to meet her penpal, Amy. There, she discovers that she not only loves Amy, but that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some community, so Sara sets out to make that happen, revolving around her favourite thing: BOOKS. If you’ve got a friend who is a real bookworm and is just looking for an easy and very cosy read, give them this!
7. Atonement by Ian McEwan
Atonement was one of the books I first remember really enjoying once I’d finished my English Literature A Level (which totally put me off reading for a while, thanks to my literature teacher’s strange taste in poetry and fiction). Set in the lead up to the Second World War and continuing into the post-war years, Atonement tells the tale of Briony and Ceclia Tallis and Robbie Turner; it tells the tale of the consequences of lying and the destruction of war, and most importantly, it tells the tale of redemption and forgiveness. McEwan’s writing is exquisite and I’m desperate to pick up something else by him ASAP. I’d recommend this to a friend who likes literary and/or historical fiction.
8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I was recommended this book by my friend years ago (before I knew anything about booktube and bookstagram who also rave about it) and I must say, boy, does she have good taste! The Secret Life of Bees is a story of racial prejudice in the deep south in the 1960s, much like The Help; it follows Lily Owens in the years after her mother was killed and Rosaleen after she insults a group of racists in her town, who, together, escape to a new town, to be rescued by black beekeeping sisters. It’s fierce, fun and fabulous!
9. One Day by David Nicholls
I’m sure you’ve all heard about, if not read, One Day by David Nicholls. Taking place on one day (15 July) and spanning across the years, this novel depicts the journey two friends, Emma and Dexter go on throughout their lives, from meeting at university, to holidays together and through romantic relationships. It’s feel-good and gentle, yet gripping and a great read for a friend with a soft spot for the romantic.
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I was given The Book Thief by a friend when we were at school and it took me years to read it… I now regret that it did because it’s amazing. It had everything I like about a book; historical fiction, friendship, literary flavours, and a young, rebellious protagonist. I would recommend this book to everyone (BONUS: apparently there’s a film of it too!)