Books make great gifts because they can be thoughtful, and sometimes also thought-provoking…

Still looking for some great gifts for the people in your lives? Our friends at the Emirates Literature Foundation always remind us, books make the perfect present — no matter the circumstance.

Be it a stocking stuffer for a beloved family member, or a secret Santa gift for a friend or co-worker, there’s a book out there for everyone’s interests. And with the 2023 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature taking place early next year, you’ll also have the chance to meet any one of these authors and get your books signed.

Here are a few to help you get started:

For the young at heart…

The Night We Got Stuck In A Story by Ben Miller

Ben Miller

You might know him as an actor from hit shows like Bridgerton or beloved movies like Paddington 2, but comedian-turned-author Ben Miller has also been working as a children’s author, regularly releasing charming tales aimed at younger readers that capture the wonder and joy of stories and fairytales and the way they capture our imagination.

The Night We Got Stuck In a Story is no exception to that. Siblings Lana and Harrison are staying with their grandparents when they discover that the beloved tree they play in also contains a portal to a fictional kingdom. However, when Harrison is kidnapped by the terrifying Spider Queen who rules over the land, Lana must do everything in her power to save the villagers and restore balance before the night ends, or they risk getting stuck there forever…

Just like his previous bestseller The Day I Fell into a Fairytale, Miller once again transports readers to an imaginative realm, all told in prose that is easy to follow along with but still feels a lot like the classic children’s books older readers might have grown up reading. With the perfect balance of adventure, humour, and heart, don’t be surprised if whoever gets this is already asking for the next book!

Purchase tickets here.

For the whole family…

Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Drago

Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Drago

Halloween might have already passed, but December features its own share of seasonal ghosts — A Christmas Carol, anyone? — which makes this the perfect time to pick up this hauntingly sweet tale from author and illustrator, Flavia Drago.

As the title suggests, Gustavo the Shy Ghost tells the story of a young ghost who wants nothing more than to make friends. Unfortunately for Gustavo, he’s too shy to speak to the other children. But when he decides to throw a party, he’ll have no other choice than to confront his fears…

Gustavo’s story will be relatable to anyone who’s felt shy in social situations, but as with most picture books dealing with this kind of subject matter, the final solution is both something kids (and any adults reading) will be encouraged to try, and something that can actually be followed. What really makes this short story stand out is Drago’s charming illustrations. Gustavo’s world has a welcoming, hand-drawn feel, with several pages and illustrations stealing the spotlight with their humour and warmth. It’s the perfect addition to the family holiday bookshelf!

Purchase tickets here.

For the comedy lovers…

Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle

Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle

If you’ve been on social media over the last few years, odds are that you’ve seen Nathan Pyle’s hilariously extraterrestrial creations — or at least been sent them by a friend or family member who finds the short webcomics they appear in relatable. If you haven’t discovered their amazing presence just yet, then that makes this the perfect time to pick up this short (but no less funny) collection of some of Strange Planet’s most memorable comics.

Written and drawn by Pyle himself, each short comic focuses on a group of lavender aliens who’ve travelled to Earth (the titular “strange planet”) to investigate and explore life here. And as millions of readers around the world have quickly discovered, each installation of Pyle’s comic deftly explores various aspects of human life with warmth and wit, revealing humankind to be the uniquely strange, and delightfully hilarious creatures we truly can be. Pyle’s writing is funny, concise, and endlessly quotable while the accompanying illustrations only drive home the point while being cute and easy to look at and follow. While Strange Planet is the book that started it off, any of the offerings in the series is sure to be a hit with whoever receives it.

Purchase tickets here.

For the sophisticated foodie…

Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn

Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn

In the last few years, Vietnamese food has entered the zeitgeist, with many people lauding the country’s cuisine for its fresh flavours and deceptively simple cooking techniques that belie a tremendous depth of flavour. However, despite its rise in popularity within the food world, restaurants that serve good Vietnamese food can be hard to find in even the most metropolitan of cities.

Enter Chef Bobby Chinn’s Wild Wild East, which not only introduces readers to the incredible diversity of Vietnamese cuisine but also walks them through how to make hundreds of classic recipes. But while there are plenty of cookbooks and country guides available on the subject of Vietnamese food, what truly sets the Top Chef Middle East judge’s book apart from the rest is the fact that it offers an insight into how millions of Vietnamese people eat every day, while also offering advice on how readers can adapt some of the more traditional recipes. Whether you’re hankering for a banh mi or eager to curl up on the couch with a bowl of pho, Chinn’s book is a must-read for everyone interested in Vietnam.

Purchase tickets here.

For the casual history buff…

Gothic: An Illustrated History by Roger Luckhurst


The word “gothic” has come to signify a specific kind of horror and supernatural-inspired mystery and gloom, much like that found in works like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as well as their onscreen adaptations. However, as the author and academic Roger Luckhurst explains in this illustrated history, the “gothic” isn’t simply limited to the realms of literary fiction and classic horror movies. Its influence has since found its way into architecture, art, video games, and even films that aren’t adaptations of popular gothic novels!

Divided into sections organised by theme and filled with colourful illustrations, Gothic sees Luckhurst break down what it means to fit into the gothic style, and how that, in turn, is translated into different settings and traditions around the world. In doing so, he ends up exploring human nature itself — including what it is we find monstrous and scary, and how that’s shaped our shared cultural fears and anxieties. Told in simple, easy-to-follow language, and packed with a wealth of information, Gothic is a treasure trove both for the casual reader and for the dedicated history and horror fans alike.

Purchase tickets here.

f you enjoyed today’s variety of book recommendations from Nivea Serrao, the Website Content Manager at the Emirates Literature Foundation, then you should check out his other suggestions on their blog. For more recommendations, tune in to their podcast, the Boundless Book Club and follow them on social media and YouTube to enjoy full sessions, author interviews, fun reels – everything in the name of books.