Festive guide: the books to get this Christmas

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By Weekend Editor Graham Chalmers

It must say something about the modern world of publishing that, when it comes to old-fashioned independent book shops, Ripon and Knaresborough, not Harrogate, are now the places to go locally.

As for the latter, in theory a large town, take away the usual suspects such as the supermarkets or WH Smith and what are you left with in terms of books?

Waterstones. In a way it’s amazing this long-established chain of book stores still survives in the digital era. As someone who loves books, it’s fair to say I’m glad there’s a branch in Harrogate.

So, having bought a few books as presents already, from a variety of sources, I wondered what the shop itself rated as the best Christmas gifts. Here is their top ten fiction books. . .

An Officer and a Spy - Robert Harris

(Hutchinson)

Solo - William Boyd

(Jonathan Cape)

A brand new James Bond adventure in which 007’s latest mission takes an unexpected turn whilst in Africa, forcing him to go ‘solo’ on a trip to America.

Sense and Sensibility - Joanna Trollope

(Harpercollins)

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

(Hodder)

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy - Helen Fielding

(Jonathan Cape)

Helen Fielding introduces readers to a whole new enticing phase of Bridget’s life set in contemporary London, including the challenges of maintaining sex appeal as the years roll by and the nightmare of drunken texting, the skinny jean, the total lack of twitter followers, and TVs that need 90 buttons and three remotes to simply turn on.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells - Sebastian Faulks

(Hutchinson)

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

(Little Brown)

A sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate. The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power.

The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton

(Granta Books)

The Embassy of Cambodia - Zadie Smith

Hamish Hamilton £7.99

Saints of the Shadow Bible - Ian Rankin

(Orion)