The festive season is upon us, and you’re no doubt compiling your own naughty and nice lists, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to pop a few book-shaped presents under the tree. We’ll be bringing you our favourite titles that we know your family and friends will love, so you can relax with a glass of something mulled, and tick a few people off your list.

Our guide to rollicking reads covers some of the year’s big hitters, from the Man Booker Prize short-listed, to the idyllically rural. 

 

 

How to be Both 

Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

 

 

 
 

Two Years Eight Months & Twenty-Eight Nights

After a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A gardener’s feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist wakes to a mysterious entity, an abandoned baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, and a seductive gold digger combats forces beyond imagining.

 

 

A God in Ruins

Teddy – a would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father, navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

 

 

 

Number 11

This is a novel about the hundreds of tiny connections between the public and private worlds and how they affect us all. It’s about the legacy of war and the end of innocence. It’s about how comedy and politics are battling it out and comedy might have won. It’s about how 140 characters can make fools of us all.

 

 

City on Fire

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the edge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in – and amidst the fireworks, an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park. Gunshots. Two of them. The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers. From the reluctant heirs to one of the city’s greatest fortunes, to a couple of Long Island kids drawn to the punk scene downtown. From the newly arrived and enchanted, to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground.

 

Dictator

There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles.

 
 
 

 

The Establishment

Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City.

 
 

 

Where my Heart Used to Beat

On a small island, an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer, is forced to confront the events that made up his life. The search for sanity takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

 
 

 

Satin Island

Meet U. – a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their ‘corporate anthropologist’ to help decode and manipulate the world around them.

 

 

The Shepherd’s Life

The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Modern dispatches from an ancient landscape tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape.

 
 
 

The White Road

A handful of clay from a Chinese hillside carries a promise: that mixed with the right materials, it might survive the fire of the kiln, and fuse into porcelain – translucent, luminous, white. Acclaimed writer and potter Edmund de Waal sets out on a quest. Along the way, he meets the witnesses to its creation; those who were inspired, made rich or heartsick by it, and the many whose livelihoods, minds and bodies were broken by this obsession.

 

 

 

What’s your top rollicking read? Let us know using #SeasonsReadings on the @PenguinUKBooks Twitter

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