The Omnivore’s Actually Quite Useful Christmas List

Art & Culture

There are only 21 Amazon-shopping days till Christmas, and the broadsheet bookpages have embarked on their annual round of yuletide log-rolling. If you’re still stuck for what to buy your nearest and dearest, and after a more reliable guide than John Banville or Tariq Ali, The Omnivore have put together a Christmas List that should solve all present-deciding problems. Each title links to further reviews and order details.


For the disciplinarian:
'Bismark: A Life' by Jonathan Steinberg

He might also like:
'Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England' by Thomas Penn

For the person with strong feelings about the 16:9 aspect ratio:
'The Good the Bad and the Multiplex' by Mark Kermode

For the man who thinks he’s always right:
'Arguably' by Christopher Hitchens

For the jolly old bore:
'P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters' by Sophie Ratcliffe

For the man who misses Berlusconi:
'Death and the Dolce Vita' by Stephen Gundle

For the armchair philosopher:
'The Better Angels of Our Nature' by Steven Pinker

They might also like:
'The Brain is Wider than the Sky' by Bryan Appleyard

For someone who already has all the cookbooks:
'The Table Comes First' by Adam Gopnik

For someone who wishes he’d gone to war:
'Soldiers' by Richard Holmes


For the person with a passion for Tolstoy:
'The Possessed' by Elif Batuman

For the granny with sapphic tendencies:
'As Good as God, As Clever as the Devil' by Rodney Holt

For someone who prefers their dog to their family:
'In Defence of Dogs' by John Bradshaw

For someone who longs for the good old days:
'Millions Like Us' by Virginia Nicholson

For someone who doesn’t:
'Leningrad' by Anna Reid

For someone who likes their crime psychological and old-fashioned:
'The Pursued' by C.S. Forester

For someone who needs an escape but can’t afford a holiday:
'Gillespie & I' by Jane Harris

They might also like:
'Pure' by Andrew Miller

For someone who prefers their literature in small doses:
'New Selected Stories' by Alice Munro

They might also like:
'The Doll' by Daphne Du Maurier


For the precocious youngster:
'Life: An Unexploded Diagram' by Mal Peet

For the wannabe beat poet:
'The Sea is My Brother' by Jack Kerouac

For the budding artist:
'Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored' by Tom Lubbock

For the comic-loving manchild:
'Supergods' by Grant Morrison

They might also like:
'Habibi' by Craig Thompson

For someone who thinks Hollinghurst is too mainstream:
'At Last' by Edward St Aubyn (and the rest of the trilogy)

For someone who thinks Shakespeare is too mainstream:
'Ben Jonson: A Life' by Ian Donaldson


For the girl who’s too sophisticated for Twilight:
'David' by Mary Hoffman

For the teenager with existential dread:
'There is No Dog' by Meg Rosoff

For the hipster daughter:
'Harlem is Nowhere' by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

For the niece considering a vajazzle:
'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran

For someone with a crush on Don Draper:
'The Best of Everything' by Rona Jaffe

For the glamorous bluestocking:
'Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller

Standby gifts for unwanted guests

'Nick Clegg: The Biography'

'Public Enemies' by Michel Houellebecq and Bernard Henri-Lévy

'Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography'


Want to know what the critics made of the latest book, film or play? The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews, bringing you a cross section of intelligent opinion.
"The internet has revolutionised arts criticism. From blogs to Amazon reviews to social networking sites, it’s never been easier to tell millions of people your opinion on what you’ve just read or watched.
We think this is great. In fact, we’re no strangers to online reviewing ourselves.
But with so many critics out there, it can be a challenge to identify those voices we trust. Which is why we believe professional criticism is still so important, and why we’re committed to making it accessible and relevant.
The Omnivore team scours newspapers, magazines and literary journals to bring you the opinions that matter, from people you’ve heard of."

Their comprehensive, rapidly expanding database of critical quotations and links to full reviews of books, films and plays makes it easier to decide what to read or watch next. And if you do find a book you like the sound of, there’s a convenient link to Amazon.
They currently have reviews for over 5,000 books, 500 films and 150 plays. With about 40 different books reviewed in the national press each week, the Omnivore is quickly growing into an invaluable cultural resource.

We advise you check it out in full here – The Omnivore Blog – Your friendly guide through literary critisism.

Also check brought to you by The Omnivore, is the Hatchet Job of the Year Award, which will be presented to the author of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months.