Best-selling books for Christmas

Whether you're a fiction fan, a cooking nut or just looking for something to dip into, a book makes a wonderful gift at Christmas. If you don't have time to peruse the high street bookshops, here are our top literary picks to give you a few ideas.

Books for christmas 2012

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Earlier this year, Hilary Mantel became the first woman to win the Man Booker prize twice, and for anyone who found themselves utterly absorbed in her first prize-winning tome, Wolf Hall, the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies is an essential read. Charting the life of Thomas Cromwell amidst his dealings with a fickle King Henry VIII, it's a book filled with plotting and vengeance. And with a third instalment on the way in the near future, now's the time to find out what everyone's raving about.

No doubt most cooks' thoughts are currently centred around turkeys, mince pies and fruit cake, but there are plenty of cookbooks on the shelves to whet the appetite once the Christmas dinner is out of the way.

Fans of Nigella Lawson and her sensual take on Italian cuisine will be keen to get their hands on Nigelissima. Fresh, tasty and unpretentious is what's in store, and that means big flavours and robust meals inspired by traditional Italian kitchens, that don't take a culinary genius to create.

When it comes to speedy gastronomy though, Jamie Oliver's your man. Following the success of his 30-Minute Meals, the Naked Chef has halved the time you need to spend in the kitchen, with a selection of recipes that can be ready in just 15, so there's really no excuse for grabbing a ready meal.

The nation came alive for this year's summer of sport, with Brits up and down the country catching Olympic fever throughout London 2012. And that means there are a whole host of sporting stories to be told. Topping the list is Bradley Wiggins: My Time. Charting his rocky road to Olympic success and Tour de France glory, Wiggo's book is honest, outspoken and often funny. Autobiographies by the likes of Victoria Pendleton and commentary queen Clare Balding will also go down a storm.

But if tawdry tales of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are more your style, you'll be more than entertained by Rod Stewart's tell-all tome, Rod: The Autobiography.

This year's non-fiction must-read is undoubtedly Wade Davis' Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest. It tells the story of a group of young men who left the horror of the trenches and embarked on an epic journey to Everest.

Alternatively, impress your friends with your superior knowledge by investing in 1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Mind.

Coffee table books
A good coffee table book makes an excellent Xmas present, and they don't come much more extensive and informative than The Art Book. The updated version is out now and features an A-Z guide of artists and their works from medieval times to the present day. Meanwhile, movie buffs and fashionistas alike will enjoy a glimpse into the world of Hollywood's golden age with Hollywood Costume, telling the story of the costume designer's place in cinematic history.

What book are you hoping to find under the tree this year? Let us know below...
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