Scotland on Sunday: Scottish Book Trust - Christmas Gift Guide

Give the magic of a good book this Christmas. The team at Scottish Book Trust has recommended reads that are perfect to put under the tree, whoever you are buying for.

This Christmas will be a difficult one for many families. The charity wants to spread joy and create special moments by gifting books to families who are depending on food banks and community hubs over the festive season.

Books bring families together, comfort children and inspire joy. For many families, the books provided by Scottish Book Trust will be the only ones in their home.

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Every donation will make a difference to children and adults in Scotland and will enable Scottish Book Trust to deliver more life-changing work.

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, by Craig BrownOne Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, by Craig Brown
One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, by Craig Brown

Scottish history

​Denise Mina’s Rizzio is a short novella that focuses on a single day and the brutal assassination of David Rizzio in an attempted coup against Mary, Queen of Scots. A riveting, gripping read that explores how far people will go to gain power. ​

A Quick Read

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (translated by Allison Markin Powell) explores the relationship between thirty-seven-year-old Tsukiko and her former high school teacher that she meets at a local bar. A novel about the power of love across ages, it captures the quiet intimacies of Japanese izakaya bars, contrasted with the beauty of the countryside.

Mayflies by Andrew O’HaganMayflies by Andrew O’Hagan
Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan


An Edinburgh author, Gavin Francis has written several books that benefit from his medical knowledge and experience in a highly accessible way, enriched by literary and historical comparisons. A compelling page-turner, Shapeshifters focuses on major transformations in the human body, brought to life by examples from patients from throughout his career.

A Poignant Read

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan is a touching, funny and heart-breaking read. The first half of the book celebrates the exuberance and joy of youth, following a group of boys from Paisley as they head off to Manchester for a music festival in the 80s, before becoming a poignant look at love, loss and growing older in the present day.


A revealing glimpse into the kind of stories you don’t often see in a biography, One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown is a collection of stories of the Fab Four – great for any lover of non-fiction and music and perfect to dip into.


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Bridget Collins’ The Betrayals is a dark and evocative story, set in a grand and secretive academy tucked away in the mountains. Full of secrets and sinister politics, The Betrayals is a gripping and mysterious read from the author of The Binding.


Impossible to define, impossible to put down, Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie is a beautifully written collection of essays that feature archaeology and take us from North America to Asia and even Orkney. Part memoir, it has incredible stories of people and landscapes.

Crime Fiction

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The Shadows of Men, the fifth book in Abir Mukherjee’s Windham and Banerjee series set in 1920s India, is possibly the best yet. Caught up in the murder of a Hindu theologian, Sam and Surendranath must travel from Calcutta to Bombay to try to solve a crime which threatens not only political repercussions, but personal ones too.Real-life

The Shed That Fed 2 Million Children by Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow tells of the creation of the charity Mary's Meals, showing how it grew from humble origins to being able to feed and educate two million children. A heart-warming read for this Christmas.

Everyone deserves a little bit of magic at Christmas. If you are able to, please donate so that we can support those most in need. Find out more at

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