Gift Ideas: Books

Best books to give as gifts for the 2010 holidays Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.12.2010 13:40:29 (updated on 03.12.2010) Reading time: 4 minutes

For many people, books are the can´t go wrong, go-to gift. There is probably something written about nearly everyone´s interests; and there´s no age limit for enjoyment. While the variety and cost of English language books is widely debated in Prague; there are a number of places where you can find the written word. Big Ben Bookshop is a long time favorite, and they will place orders for you. The Globe and Shakespeare & Sons are two others that specialize in English language books, while Palac Luxor, with seven locations in Prague has an English language section. I´ve found the one at the Nový Smichov mall, while not huge, reasonably priced.

We´ve broken down the books into giftee categories, meaning the type of person/reader who may enjoy the books suggested. Links on the book go the book´s product description page on Amazon, if available.

Literary types:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Raved about book, even called the “Great American novel for our time.”

Red Plenty
by Francis Spufford. A fiction-history hybrid, the author looks at life in the USSR under Khrushchev and what may have happened if Communism would have succeeded.

Book club types:

by Emma Donoghue. The story of a woman and her son held captive, told from the 5-year-old boy´s perspective.

The Privileges by Jonathan Dee. The story of a successful couple dealing with change over time.

Romantic types:

One Day by David Nicholls. Story spans 20 years, revisiting a pair of friends every year on the anniversary of the day they met.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. A historic novel full of memorable characters.


Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 23m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 23m2

Čs. armády, Praha 6 - Bubeneč

Apartment for sale, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 54m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 54m2

Révová, Plzeň - Doudlevce

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 70m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 70m2

Sazovická, Praha 5 - Zličín

Apartment for sale, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 51m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 51m2

Mánesova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Current Event types:

War by Sebastian Junger. The author, a journalist, spent one year with a US army battalion in Afghanistan.

All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. An in-depth historical look at what led up to the financial crisis.

Poetry lovers:

Human Chain by Seamus Heany. Long awaited new collection by this Nobel Prize winning poet.

White Egrets by Derek Walcott. Another new collection from an acclaimed poet.

History types:

The Crusades: The War For The Holy Land
by Thomas Asbridge. Tells the story of the epic struggle from both the Christian and Muslim perspectives.

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor. Written by the director of the British Museum, MacGregor tells his story strictly through objects humans have made.

Sports nuts:

The Grudge by Tom English. For rugby fans; tells the story of England´s 1990 defeat by an underrated Scottish team.

Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
by James S. Hirsch. An engaging biography of the baseball great on and off the field.

Children´s books:

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Classic Christmas story about a snowman come to life.

The Unravellers by Tracey Morley. Mystery chapter book with illustrations.

The Ha Ha Bonk Book
by Janet Ahlberg. A joke book for the budding comedian.

The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer. Another mystery, good for around middle school aged readers. What happens when two kids find the body of the owner of the local pickle factory dead in a basement?

The Jolly Christmas Postman
by Allan Ahlberg. Another classic Christmas story, with super illustrations.

It´s Christmas, David
by David Shannon. About a naughty little boy who just can´t wait for Christmas.

While giving books as gifts seems easy enough, compiling a list of recommended titles is difficult – there´s just too much good stuff out there. Here are some other interesting titles that might match someone on your list.

Sexually, I´m more of a Switzerland compiled by David Rose. Personal ads from the London Review of Books.

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. For anyone who fears for America´s future.

Restless Cities edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart. A collection of essays on metropolises and the metropolitan experience.

The Passage by Justin Cronin. A different take on Vampire lore, involving a death row inmate, an abandoned girl and a Harvard professor

Life by Keith Richards with James Fox. Everything you may or may not have ever wanted to know about the Rolling Stones.

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier. Always entertaining travel writer Frazier takes us along to Siberia.

Solar by Ian McEwan. A fun climate change romp with a slightly mad physicist.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. Winner of the Man Booker Prize; Jacobson´s funny story of history and friendship.

The Present Finder allows you to change the name of a character in a selection of well-known books. So, for example, if someone on your list has always wanted to go through the looking glass or follow the yellow brick road, their gift is in the bag. We didn´t list any specific suggestions here, but antikvariáts can be a great place to find quirky books to gift as gifts. If you can´t find what you are looking for in the bookstores of Prague, you can order via both Amazon and The Book Depository.

Buying books this year as gifts? Or have you read something that should be a gift? Share your suggestions below!

Other Reviews: brings you book reviews in cooperation with the Big Ben Bookshop, an all English language, customer-service oriented bookshop established in 1994. Big Ben specialises in all sorts of English books, from dictionaries, teachers’ resources and course books, to a full range of fiction and non-fiction titles.

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