These are my picks for the best books to gift a female friend in 2020. From light-hearted and classic, to inspiring and intriguing. The end of this post features ideas on gifts that go well with a book – in case you want something extra.
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Aged 21, I was given my first book present. It came in a decorative box filled with fancy chocolates and champagne. Out of the presents received that year, the book is the one I remember. It’s the only gift I still have.
How many other gifts can rival a thought-changing piece of literature? What else unwraps to escapism on a train ride home, a reason to not scroll social-media; a push to make substantial change. Books endure as a timeless, loving sentiment.
For Sex and the City lovers
If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you’ll know I love Sex and the City (SATC). The program draws up 6 pages of search results on The Style of Laura Jane (slightly worrying). While researching similar books, I came across the “original” SATC: The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe.
Published in 1958, the book reads like a modern script. Four women: Caroline (the ambitious career girl who dreams of becoming an editor), April (lives alone in a run-down apartment and picks the wrong men), Gregg (a wannabe actress who has an affair with a playwright); and Barbara (a single mother and divorcee who writes about lipstick).
The book paints the glamour of working in NY with the gritty, broke reality. Author Rona Jaffe, beautifully uncovers the emotions, anxieties and relationships that twenty-somethings face. From virginity, office dating and heartbreak, to work promotions, money issues, lustful bosses and of course, female friendship. It’s an absolute page-turner and one of my favourite night-time reads.
Click here to buy The Best of Everything.
For classic old souls
In terms of best books to gift, how can I not feature Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote? In likelihood, your friends have seen the film. They’ve fallen for Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly, deeming the character’s relationship with Fred as a romantic classic.
Put the film to one side however; the book is iconic on its own. On the surface, the story, narrated by a man above Holly’s apartment, recalls the brief time they lived in the same brownstone. The narrator cannot help but feel captivated by the teenage Holly’s wild, glamorous, partying ways.
She entertains much older men (a suggested escort), she lives with her belongings packed inside suitcases, and goes on weekly trips to meet a man in prison. Though her free-spirited lifestyle in New York feels exciting, Holly has a troublesome past and a hidden desire to find somewhere she belongs.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s isn’t a romance – it’s a short (around 100 pages) novel about a socialite who keeps trying to escape her problems of loneliness through the use of men and money. I’ve read the book several times throughout the years. Besides enjoying the story, Capote defines perfect writing. If anyone asked me for inspiration on how to form perfect sentences, I’d recommend his work.
The tale of trying to find yourself and figure your life – it’s one for the ages. It’s an ideal gift for a glamorous friend, one who’s watched the film, an aspiring writer and friend who can get swept in Holly’s wild adventures. Plus I have to mention: the book is funny!
For determined go-getters
Do you have a friend with big business goals for the year ahead? Or perhaps a friend hoping for a career change, or simply a better understanding of themselves?
Defining You by coach and psychologist, Fiona Murden, offers step-by-step guidance on how to reach your potential. Using her experience of helping some of the most successful people, you’ll uncover an in-depth understanding of who you are and what makes you tick. As a huge analyser, I was surprised by the new introspection this book provided.
The detailed exercises throughout, separate Defining You from the populated self-help genre. As I read through the three different chapters, Fiona’s experience became evident – some self-help books seem to lack the ability to connect science to action. With each topic, you’ll find easily digestible research, observations, tasks to complete, and friendly advice to improve your findings.
For hopeless romantics and poetry lovers
My best books to gift guide wouldn’t be complete without my own published work. As a writer, I’ve interviewed brand CEO’s and toured London hotels for editorials. While fun and rewarding – one of my biggest passions resides in poetry.
Not in a Fairy Tale, describes the ups and downs of passion, love, heartbreak and sorrow. It shares the many stories of love and romantic feelings. From adultery, regret, falling in love and sweet butterflies, to grief, broken relationships, love-making and moving on. Both intimate and personal, the book translates the emotions from complicated love scenarios with elegance and power. It will feel relatable to anyone who has felt the deep pangs and joys of love.
Every poem in Not in a Fairy Tale reveals a story – without inspiring messages. It’s a book encouraging you to express your emotions and come to terms with past pain. One review noted:
“This is not boring or ‘artsy fartsy’ but a genuine form of ‘The Arts’ that assaults our senses and our mind which is what art is supposed to do”. Opening light and dark feelings within, placing you on a visually emotional journey – you don’t have to adore poetry to appreciate this collection.
For Audrey Hepburn enthusiasts
Who doesn’t like Audrey? A talented actress, style icon, Ambassador for UNICEF – her legacy remains ever popular decades after her death. How many people have her picture hanging in their rooms? (Okay, I’m one of those people, but it’s a classy canvas so don’t judge).
We usually view Audrey as a 2-dimensional figure. Kind, sweet, elegant, sophisticated. Audrey: Her Real Story by Alexander Walker, let’s her personality breathe. It’s a more rounded portrait of a woman who lived through WWII, kept a painful family secret, once danced in London, Piccadilly before Hollywood came calling, and dated a multimillionaire while on the cusps of stardom.
To enjoy the book, you’ll want to gift to a friend who admires Audrey and finds her growth from almost ballet dancer to legendary star fascinating. With that said, Audrey’s story naturally intertwines lessons and wisdom that can help any friend navigate big life choices. The end pages reveal some of Audrey’s last advice shared which isn’t documented on social media quotes. For history lovers, the context of WWII to Hollywood in the 50’s makes for an interesting read.
Gifts that go well with a book
Once you’ve decided on which of the best books to gift, you may want to consider a complimentary present. I love the idea of a small decorative box with tinsel paper, scrunched up tissue (any form of padding) with a book and secondary item.
This item could be a:
- Cute “Shoot for the Moon” bookmark
- Reusable travel mug
- Humorous ceramic coffee mug
- Wine glass with a funny message
- “Shhh I’m Reading” ankle socks
From this selection of best books to gift, which interests you the most? Are there any particular books you would love to be gifted?
If you’re searching for non-fiction, why not check out my post: 3 Non-fiction Books That Will Make You Smarter