Stocking Thrillers: The Perfect Books To Gift At Christmas

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The authors you'd love to see in stockings

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Richard Hopton selects his books of the year for 2022 – the perfect gifts this Christmas for the reading obsessed.

The 14 Books To Give This Christmas

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Our Book Of The Year

At a time when the world seems permanently lost and locked in crisis, a new way of framing society is needed. Jon Alexander’s Citizens (Canbury, £20) is a manifesto for a polity led by the people, for the people. His is an optimistic belief, passionately argued.

For… Memoir Maniacs

An inspiring tale of Edward Enninful’s rise to the heights of the fashion industry as editor-in-chief of British Vogue having arrived in Britain from Ghana aged 13 in 1985. A Visible Man (Bloomsbury, £25) is an exuberant story of hard work and talent overcoming prejudice and discrimination.

For… Gardeners

In How I Garden (BBC Books, £22), Adam Frost sets out his horticultural creed, explaining how to get the most from your garden, whatever its size. It’s a practical guide that includes some recipes, too, so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labours.

For… Historical Fic Fanatics

Cressida Connolly’s third novel Bad Relations (Viking, £14.99) tells the story of three generations of the same family from the Crimean War to Cornwall in the 1970s. Elegantly written, this subtle, satisfying, well-observed novel is a delight.

For… Fisherman’s Friends

Fishing is one of the most popular sports in Britain. In Illuminated by Water (Doubleday, £16.99), Malachy Tallack explains its allure, hopes and frustrations. He also has much to say on the countryside, ecology, and the morality of fishing.

For… Modern Fiction Fans

Monica Ali’s latest novel, Love Marriage (Virago, £18.99) is a reimagining of her celebrated debut, Brick Lane. It tells the story of the Ghorami family whose daughter Yasmin wants to marry out of their Indian community, bringing modern Britain colourfully to life.

For… Reflection

Colin Heber-Percy is a priest in rural Wiltshire. Tales of a Country Parish (Short Books, £12.99) is a charming humane and spiritual account of lockdown, of how this national trauma unfolded in one tranquil corner of the country.

For… Artists and Aesthetes

The artist’s studio has always exerted a fascination as the crucible in which the creative impulse achieves physical form. James Hall’s The Artist’s Studio (Thames & Hudson, £30) is an original account of the studio from earliest times to the modern era.

For… Learning

Greta Thunberg is a powerful advocate for action against climate change. Now she has produced The Climate Book (Allen Lane, £25), a collection of essays by scientists and campaigners setting out the full extent of the threat facing humanity. Essential reading.

For… History Heads

Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France (Picador, £12.99) is a history of that country like no other. Robb delights in the obscure and revels in the eccentirc as he cycles around the country immersing himself inits history.

For… Early Modern Erudites

In The Restless Republic (Williams Collins, £25), Anna Keay paints a vivid picture of England in the 1650s under the Commonwealth. Taking the lives of nine very different people, she illuminates this unique decade in history.

For… Home Chefs

Angela Hartnett is one of Britain’s leading chefs, known for her Michelin-starred restaurants but The Weekend Cook (Bloomsbury, £26) will enthuse readers with the food she cooks at home for family and friends. The recipes look fabulous: seabass, orange and fennel crudo, anyone?

For… A Moving Story

It’s notoriously difficult to make it in Hollywood but Viola Davis’s path from poverty to stardom was harder than most, plagued with violence, racism, and sexism. Finding Me (Coronet, £20) tells her shocking story, unvarnished.

For… Travel Addicts

Nicholas Allan’s When Dreams Collide (Nine Elm Books, £25) is an erudite, acutely observant account of the author’s quest to retrace Rebecca West’s Balkan journeys of the 1930s. In the process he illuminates the mysteries of this fascinating, beautiful, but troubled region where history hangs heavily.