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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2020 has been tough on everyone. And with the holidays just around the corner, we’re hoping to make the added stress of choosing that perfect gift for a special someone a little bit easier with a series of gift guides.

Did you get someone for Secret Santa that you hardly know? Do you want to get them a book but you’re not sure what they like? Here’s a list filled with interesting, funny and most importantly short books that we think deserve a place in your gift this year.

From the bestselling author of The Essex Serpent, Essex Girls by Sarah Perry is a vehement feminist defence of the “Essex Girl” – too loud, too vulgar, and too disrespectful – arguing that the quintessential Essex Girl type is not bound by geography. Sandi Toksvig’s eclectic meander throughout the year in Toksvig’s Almanac 2021 is just as illuminating and funny as you would expect from the QI host and comedian. 

Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

How Should One Read A Book by Virginia Woolf

Woolf’s manifesto on the importance of literature and the joy of reading is reissued in this lovely little edition, making it a perfect stocking filler for somebody who loves books.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Men to Avoid in Art and Life by Nicole Tersigni

This hilarious book began as a Twitter thread, combining classical art with modern captions to truly represent the experience of mansplaining.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Intimations by Zadie Smith

Written during lockdown, Smith’s personal essays are short and succinct in her usual witty style, reflecting on her feelings and thoughts that the extraordinary events of 2020 have provoked.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division by Elif Shafak

Describing this time as an age of pessimism, author and activist Shafak’s reflections on optimism, hope and tolerance are a much needed antidote to the chaos that has been 2020. Signed copies available here.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Extra Time by Daniel Gray

For the football fan in your life, this collection of 50 short essays in poetic prose is a celebration of football fans and the glorious details of the sport beloved by so many. Signed and dedicated copies are available to pre-order here.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Whites by Otegha Uwagba

In this powerful essay, Sunday Times bestselling author Uwagba reflects on and examines the political moment of George Floyd’s murder, and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, exploring what true allyship means now.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Radical Attention by Julia Bell

This is an ideal stocking filler for somebody who has just deleted Twitter off their phone and is telling everyone about it. This short essay, written during the first UK lockdown, asks what we have given up in exchange for constant information and argues that in a world of infinite distraction, reclaiming your attention from the stronghold of your phone is one of the most radical things you can do.

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Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers of 2020

Serpentine by Philip Pullman

Lyra and Pantalaimon return to the north to visit an old friend. Set in the world of His Dark Materials, this short story is illustrated beautifully and a perfect stocking filler for someone already immersed in the world Pullman has created.

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