Inspired by our very own authors’ Secret Santa, we’ve been wondering what members of the Penguin, Puffin and Ladybird family will be leaving under their trees this Christmas. Find out which literary delights they’ve chosen and get some inspiration for what to give the bookworms in your life.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The one book I’ll be putting under the tree this Christmas is Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North; humanity trumping atrocity would be a good message for Christmas 2014, one told with spine-tingling skill; I am especially jealous of the way the past melts seamlessly into the present in his writing.- Jane Shemilt, author of Daughter.


Cathy Cassidy EBook

I’ll be buying my little sister a the new e-book short story, Snowflakes and Wishes, from author of Chocolate Box Girls series, Cathy Cassidy. A quick read at only 52 pages, it’s the perfect way for any Cathy Cassidy fan to fill the time between present opening and Christmas dinner.- Julia Teece, Marketing Manager, Penguin Random House Childrens.


Jamie Oliver Comfort Food

I’ll be leaving Jamie’s Comfort Food for my soon to be Mother-in-Law under the Christmas tree, guaranteeing me some excellent home cooking over the festive period … unless I keep it for myself!- Katie Sheldrake, Publicity Manager, Michael Joseph.


Paper Towns John Green


My twenty-three year old brother loved The Fault In Our Stars by John Green so I’ll be getting him a copy of Paper Towns this year – he definitely needs to read it before the movie comes out!- Kimberley Atkins, Marketing Manager, Michael Joseph.


Rick Stein's India

I love giving recipe books for Christmas – mainly because they look nice – but I have cooked a lot from Rick Stein’s India this year and it’s amazing, so I’ll definitely be giving that as a gift. The other book I want to give to all my friends is The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice – it’s a really enjoyable read.-Francesca Pathak, Assistant Editor, Century.


Not That Kind of Girl- Lena Dunham

I’ll be buying Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham for my little sister for Christmas (she’s 21 so not that little).- Lydia Good, Editorial Assistant, Michael Joseph.


H is for Hawk- Helen Macdonald

I’ll be giving H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald to give to my dear friend who loves the countryside and lost someone close this year. It is restorative, lyrical and magical.- Alison Barrow, Director of Media Relations, Transworld


Elizabeth is Missing- Emma Healy


I would like to give my best friend Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, dementia is something that has touched her life and I know she would find this book comforting, poignant and gripping. For me, it’s one of the best books of 2014.- Tessa Henderson, Press Officer, Transworld.


Campari for Breakfast- Sara Crowe

I’d going to give Campari for Breakfast by Sara Crowe to my sister. She loves Nancy Mitford, Love, Nina and I Capture the Castle, and this reminded me of all of these. It’s the most delightful and hilarious novel, and I’ve laughed and smiled over it so many times this year.- Bella Bosworth, Assistant Editor, Transworld.


The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

My friends will each be receiving a copy of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project this Christmas. I read this novel for the first time this year and it was completely uplifting, sensitive and funny. If anyone is ever stuck for something to read, I always suggest this wonderful book!- September Withers, Marketing Executive, Transworld.

Plenty More Yotam Ottolenghi

I’ll be giving Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More to my big sis this Christmas. She’s the biggest Ottolenghi fan, and as a vegetarian myself it’s also sneakily a present for me too – as I’ll look forward to sampling some of the amazing concoctions she’ll cook from it!  (Might even end up having a collection of the dishes as a delicious alternative Christmas dinner – it’s happened before…)- Sarah Whittaker, Designer, Transworld.

The Vampire Academy Last Sacrifice-


I will be giving The Vampire Academy series to my sister, as they are page turners that I just couldn’t put down.- Holly Tonks, Editorial Assistant, Penguin Random House Childrens


Cleopatras Sister

Cleopatra’s Sister by Penelope Lively was one of my surprise favourite books this year, even though it’s been 20 years since it was published. I randomly picked up a copy at work and then couldn’t put it down again, so that would probably be the book I’d choose to give this Christmas (if for some horrible reason I could only pick one!).- Beth O’Leary, Junior Editor, Penguin Random House Childrens.


The Paying Guests Sarah Waters

I will be buying Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests for several of my friends because when you read something a book good as that you just want to share it with everyone you know.- Elizabeth Fremantle, author of Sisters of Treason.


Nairn's London

I’m going to be giving Nairn’s London to my little sister Alix. As a fledgling Londoner, I’m excited for Mr Nairn to inject a little bit of the Swinging Sixties into her modern experience of the Big Smoke. He’s funny, she’s funny and I hope it helps her appreciate the joy of heading to the top deck of a Routemaster, getting comfy, and not necessarily knowing where you’ll end up.- Natalie Williams, Social Media Manager, Penguin. 


Nora Webster- Colm ToibinI’ve long been a fan of Colm Toibin, and would give any of his books as a Christmas gift, but was completely taken aback by how much Nora Webster affected me. It is a perfect insight into what life in Ireland must have been like in the late sixties/ early seventies. Pretty much everything about this novel is perfect as far as I am concerned. The language, the sharp eye for detail, the humour, of which there is much to be found even in dark moments, the way events, now part of our history, are weaved into the narrative. I can’t think of a novel I have enjoyed more this year.- Vincent Kelleher, Digital Marketing and Publishing Manager, Cornerstone

Perfidia- James EllroyThe book I’d leave as a gift under the tree is Perfidia by James Ellroy. Its rich and rewarding fayre, an extraordinarily powerful account of war fever infecting Los Angeles on the eve and aftermath of Pearl Harbour, the characters spark and crackle from the page. (its also festively packaged in Santa’s livery).- Glenn O’Neil, Deputy Art Director, Cornerstone. 


Find more recommendations for bookish gifts on the Penguin Books Pinterest and see what some some very special Penguins have been giving this Christmas in our own Secret Santa.


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. […] And check out Penguin’s “under the tree” blog, which features gift suggestions (here). […]


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