12 of the most thoughtful book gifts for women

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Joie book cover
Photo: Sanne Vliegenthart

There’s usually only one type of gift on my wishlist for birthdays and Christmas: books. (Well, and the occasional kitchen or food-related thing, but mostly books.)

Good books are unexpectedly some of the best gifts to share with bookworms, but which ones to choose? I’ve already shared my main books gift guide for the year and a collection of recommended book gifts for men, which leaves one collection to share: the best book gifts for women.

This gift guide brings together so many of my favourite books of the year, from five-star literary fiction I’ll be gifting to friends to gorgeous coffee table books I’m sharing with family members for Christmas and birthdays.

Whether you’re looking for the best books to gift a female friend or the perfect read for your wife or girlfriend, I hope you’ll find some excellent bookish present ideas here…

The best book gifts for her

If she loves travel and adventure

If she loves pretty books

If she loves reading classics

If she loves literary fiction

If she loves coffee table books

If she loves twisty thrillers

If she loves gripping historical fiction

If she loves cozy dinner parties

Joie: A Parisian’s Guide to Celebrating the Good Life by Ajiri Aki

See on Amazon | Bookshop US | Bookshop UK

Joie is one the best books to gift a woman who loves… travel, inspiring coffee table books, and most of all, Paris.

This gorgeous new book (which I chose as one of my favourite coffee table books of the year) is stunning. As you browse through these rejuvenating pages, you’ll uncover the Parisian secrets to celebrating life based on author Ajiri Aki’s time spent living in the city.

Collected Works by Lydia Sandgren

See on Amazon | Bookshop US | Bookshop UK

Collected Words is one of the best books to give as gifts to… fans of beautifully penned literary fiction about academia, art, and the twists and turns of love.

This Swedish bestseller is on the cusp of taking the rest of the world by storm. You can think of Collected Works as something like The Secret History meets Sally Rooney in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Bringing together the worlds of academia, literature, philosophy, and art with the story of a man’s missing wife over 600+ pages, this is a long, long book to escape into. And yet you won’t want to step away from the pages. This is quite possibly my book of the year.

The Golden Mole: and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell and Talya Baldwin

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The Golden Mole is a gorgeous book gift for… readers who adore nature writing and beautiful illustrations.

In the vein of Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beloved ode to nature, this delightful book is a celebration of the miraculous and astonishing treasure of our natural world.

Weaving Katherine Rundell’s captivating words with sumptuous illustrations by Talya Baldwin, The Golden Mole is a chance to be bewitched and lovestruck. Fall into its pages and learn about the two million kilometers a swift flies in its lifetime and the five hundred years a Greenland shark can swim our seas.

Magnolia Table, Volume 3: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

See on Amazon | Bookshop US

Magnolia Table, Volume 3 is one of the best book gifts for women who… love good food, hosting dinner parties, and beautiful table settings.

Not only is the new volume of Magnolia Table simply stunning, but it’s also one of the best new cookbooks of 2023. Here in Joanna’s third cookbook, she’s curated her favourite recipes from her years sharing delicious, nostalgic, and timeless recipes for today’s home cook. With stunning photographs, this is one of the most beautiful book gifts for women this year.

Emma by Jane Austen (Marjolein Bastein edition)

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Emma is the perfect book gift for… readers who adore Jane Austen, pretty books, and making their bookshelves that bit more beautiful.

With whimsical floral art in a romantic color palette, these exquisite editions illustrated by Marjolein Bastin are a treat for any Jane Austen fan. (It’d also be an excellent romantic book gift for your girlfriend.)

While Emma is airy and pink with peonies, the Bastin edition of Pride and Prejudice illustrates purple-blue hydrangeas on a twinkling nocturnal background. No matter which book you choose, I’m convinced they’ll be well-received by classic literature fans.

The Art of Home: A Designer Guide to Creating an Elevated Yet Approachable Home by Shea McGee

See on Amazon | Bookshop US

The Art of Home is one of the best book gifts for her if… she loves interior design and browsing beautifully made hardcover books.

I loved reading Shea McGee’s first book, Make Life Beautiful. This enchanting follow-up for 2023 is just as inspiring, showcasing what’s possible for every room of your home while keeping things friendly and approachable. If you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves design and home projects, The Art of Home is a wonderful choice.

The Notes to Mindfulness Journal by Intelligent Change

The Notes to Mindfulness Journal is one of the most beautiful book gifts for women who… love starting the new year with a gorgeous journal.

Produced by Intelligent Change, the makers of the equally excellent Five Minute Journal and Productivity Planner, Notes to Mindfulness is probably the most beautiful journal I’ve ever used.

It’s decorated with a sparkling gold-embossed cover and is full of stunning illustrations and inspiring prompts for a creative and reflective life. This has been my morning companion since the summer and I adore it.

Penance by Eliza Clark

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Penance is one of the best books to give as gifts to… readers who adore unputdownable thrillers with unreliable narrators.

What really happened to sixteen-year-old Joan Wilson a decade ago in Crow-on-Sea? Navigating the accounts of the small seaside town’s inhabitants, this dizzying new thriller places us in the hands of journalist Alec Z. Carelli. He’s adamant that this is the definitive version of the story that left the town in turmoil. But how much of it is really true?

Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury Anniversary Special Edition)

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The anniversary edition of Circe is the perfect book gift for… fans of Greek mythology and Madeline Miller, especially if they already own the anniversary edition of The Song of Achilles.

Amassing countless five-star Goodreads reviews and readers who adore its captivating prose and mythology, Circe is absolutely one of the best books of the last decade.

Published to mark the fifth anniversary of Madeline Miller’s bestseller, this red and gold hardcover edition is one of the most beautiful books of 2023. A gorgeous gift for book lovers to treasure, the hardcover also features a new foreword by Madeline Miller.

Leaving the Comfort Zone: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Olivier Van Herck and Zoë Agasi

See on Amazon | Bookshop US | Bookshop UK

Leaving the Comfort Zone is one of the best new travel books for… adventurers drawn to the road less traveled.

gestalten publishes some of the most beautiful travel books you can find, and this stunning hardcover documenting one couple’s adventure of a lifetime is no exception.

Detailing a 40,000-kilometre journey spanning four years and accompanied by awe-inspiring photographs, Leaving the Comfort Zone is the story of a shared dream and a desire to break free from expectations. For more like this, head over to my collection of the best new travel books to inspire wanderlust.

Four Seasons in Japan by Nick Bradley

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Four Seasons in Japan is one of the best fiction books to give as gifts to… readers who adore gently life-changing novels and stories set in Japan.

Another of my favourite new books of 2023 is Four Seasons in Japan by Nick Bradley. It’s heartwarming, incredibly relatable, and transformative, especially for readers feeling directionless in their work or creative projects.

The book includes a few overlapping stories – each one delightful – starting with that of Flo, an Oregon-born translator who’s living in Tokyo, achieving her dreams, but feeling more lost and empty than ever.

What follows is a gorgeous book within a book that threads together themes of meaning and purpose, youth and aging, and solitude and connection. I’ve been recommending this to everyone lately.

A Storm of Infinite Beauty by Julianne MacLean

See on Amazon | Bookshop US | Bookshop UK

A Storm of Infinite Beauty is one of the best romance novels to give as gifts to… readers who adore immersive novels with historical settings, buried secrets, and love stories that span decades.

While searching for an easygoing yet gripping novel to tumble into while on holiday this summer, an advance copy of Julianne MacLean’s A Storm of Infinite Beauty was exactly what I needed.

With a blend of romance and historical fiction, think Taylor Jenkins Reid meets Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. You’ll uncover a multigenerational plot, an emotional love story, buried secrets in the past, and wild and powerful nature in Alaska. I loved the flashbacks, the slow uncovering of the past, and the down-to-earth side of our main character, a beloved Hollywood icon.

For more of the best book gifts for women, you might also like…

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