Books to blow their socks off at Christmas

While I’m not a fan of starting the festive season too early I realise you can also go the other way and leave it until far too late. This morning I logged into my mail to find not one but eight messages from retailers advising me that the end… I mean Christmas was nigh and I really need to get proper presents right now or I will end up gifting everyone socks due to lack of other options. Again.

So – with my apologies to those of you who were hoping to get socks for Christmas – here are a few bookish recommendations for those hard to gift people you haven’t found something special for. These books are all recent publications so you don’t need to worry that the recipients have had them on their shelves for the last 5 years or worse, that you already bought it for them last year.

What do you buy the globe-trotting style queen who has everything (but especially has socks more stylish than any you could ever find them)? Normally they can be a bit of a nightmare to find something for but the recently released Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to Paris, New York, London and Rome might be just be the perfect fit; compact, chic, full of style tips and illustrations, and elegantly presented in red linen. Even if they can’t afford to go traveling right now this is a book to treasure and that cute cover has a practical side; this guide can take a beating in their bag and still be looking stylish when they finally get around to taking it on their sartorial world tour.

For those who would prefer someone else do the traveling for them, motorbike aficionados or lovers of comedy with a serious slant, Billy Connolly’s Route 66 might be just the ticket. Starting in Chicago, Billy takes his trike (a 2011 Boom Lowrider Muscle, if you are wondering) on the ultimate American roadtrip along all 2,488 miles of this iconic road, through the Wild West of Oklahoma and Texas, past the Grand Canyon and deserts of New Mexico and on out to the beaches of the Pacific and Santa Monica. Route 66 is a travelogue and an exploration of American culture and history, all told with Billy’s eye for the absurd and his legendary sense of humour.

If you’d like to keep the gifts a bit closer to home, Underbelly – Razor is set right here in Australia and perfect for the crime fan in your life. Giving them books on murder is always a little off at Christmas but this year you can say that the dirty deeds aren’t gratuitous, they are historical. This  TV tie-in examines the bloody history of the 1920s and ’30s in inner Sydney when, after the New South Wales State Parliament imposed severe penalties for carrying concealed guns, Sydney’s gangs tooks razors as their preferred weapons – chosen for their capacity to inflict disfiguring scars. Underbelly – Razor revolves around the feud of two of Sydney vice queens, brothel madam Tilly Devine and sky grog queen Kate Leigh, and contains enough blood, guts and grisly murders to get readers through even the most saccharine of the Santa season.

And, just in case none of these appeal for your nearest, dearest and most awkward, when all else fails remember that a gift vouchers are an excellent alternative to socks or pot pourri. Unless, of course, that is what they want.