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Spread some literary magic this Christmas with our recommended books to gift to adults.

Let your partner, friends and relatives go on a thrilling ride through Geneva and the world of biotech, delve into the dark mind of serial killers, laugh and cry with a Cape Town suburban wife and mom, indulge in Asian culinary delights, and much more as they immerse themselves in these exciting reads. These are our suggestions for the best books to gift to adults this festive season.

Take a look at our selection of recommended books to gift to children.

Something for men and women

How to Hide Inside a Three by Jane van der Riet

An unfulfilling marriage, a bed-wetting child, a batty friend who constantly offloads, a crush on a colleague, and the ever-increasing demands of work! These are Leigh-Anne’s daily reality. On the surface, it looks like her 2017 Cape Town suburban life is under control, but she’s really falling apart. Armed with plenty of chocolate and wine, she makes lists of threes and multiples of threes to try to order her world. Lurching from one domestic drama to another, getting fatter and drunker, Leigh-Anne must deal with her Dad’s sordid past and recognise her culpability. An intriguing yet unsettling read that deals with white angst, post-apartheid guilt and the freedom of finally coming out of hiding

(Penguin Random House R290) 

Geneva by Richard Armitage

For lovers of suspenseful thrillers, this debut novel centres around Nobel Prize-winning Sarah Collins, who is experiencing symptoms of early Alzheimer’s. Spurred on by her neuroscientist husband, she reluctantly agrees to be the guest of honour at the Schiller Institute Conference in Geneva, where groundbreaking medical technology is being launched – technology with the potential to save her life. However, things soon get out of control, and Sarah realises many people want to use her purely for their own gains, leaving her uncertain as to who can be trusted. Filled with plot twists, betrayal and greed, this thrilling read also deals with relationships, love and fear.

(Jonathan Ball Publisher, R375)

Catch Me A Killer by Micki Pistorius

A profiler’s true story, this one is for those who enjoy looking beyond the crime. Psychologist Micki Pretorius, a profiler for the South African Police Service, details the cases she worked on during a time when the country was reeling from brutal serial killings. The book describes the background and case history behind tracking down some of the country’s most notorious serial killers, and is written with a deep insight into the dark minds of killers. 

(Penguin Random House, R300)

The Secret Life of John le Carré by Adam Sisman

Years after his death, spy thriller author John le Carré’s biographer lifts the lid on the previously taboo subject of the many love affairs, le Carré (real name David Cornwall) conducted during his lifetime. The book is an add-on to Sisman’s earlier biography of le Carré. In that biography, details of the author’s love life were deliberately withheld in exchange for access to information and interviews.

The Secret Life of John le Carré reveals those untold details. Calling on his extensive knowledge of the craft of spying, le Carré used code names, safe houses and dead letter boxes, among others, to cover up his affairs during his 66 years of marriage to two wives. Speaking to the subject’s numerous lovers, the biographer seeks to probe the success behind le Carré’s literary fame – did the affairs influence and inspire the characters and events in his book? Many of the women interviewed claim to recognise themselves in certain scenes and characters. This is a fascinating read about the man behind the man behind the mask portrayed to the world for decades. 

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R475)


For the cooks

Bao & Dim Sum by Orathay Souksisavanh with photography by Charlotte Lascèe 

Those with a palate for oriental food will relish this wonderful cookbook. It  contains numerous recipes for simple bao bun and dumpling meals. Plus, there’s a step-by-step guide to folding the dumplings, and tips and lists of ingredients and equipment needed. Who knew there were so many different kinds of fillings? The book also includes some recipes for side dishes and various sauces. Just looking at the images is enough to make your mouth water.

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R410)

Simple Noodles by Pippa Middlehurst

Still hankering for the flavours of East and South East Asia? Simple Noodles is your go-to for noodle recipes. Everyday fuss-free to Udon, soups to salad, and mild to spicy, there’s a recipe for all dietary preferences – vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian and meat eaters. Some recipes remain true to the original, while others have been adapted by the author. There’s also info on preparation and technique, equipment, ingredients and freezing.

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R485)

This selection of books to gift to adults is sure to bring reading pleasure to everyone.