The books that authors will buy this Christmas

Night School by Lee Child, published by Bantam
Night School by Lee Child, published by Bantam
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So many books, so little time to choose them! But there’s no need to fret - we’ve asked some top authors (whose latest titles may already be on your wish list) to reveal what’s top of their reading lists this festive season.

Recommendations don’t come much better than this...

IAN RANKIN

Top thriller-writer Rankin, creator of the Rebus series, chooses The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill (Profile, £9.99). “This is a brand new collection of ghost stories from the ever-reliable Hill, who knows more than most how to send a shiver up the spine - just right for fire-lit winter nights as the weather rages outside.

“I also want to read Conclave by Robert Harris (Hutchinson, £20). Each Robert Harris thriller is very different but of exemplary consistency. This time round, he’s dealing with intrigue and skulduggery in the Vatican, as elections for a new Pope commence.”

JEFF KINNEY

Bestselling children’s author Kinney, the man behind the popular Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series, says: “These days, my favourite books are the ones that challenge me to think in different ways, and to improve myself in the process. My choice is Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets Of Being Productive by Charles Duhigg (William Heinemann, £20). Last year I read Duhigg’s The Power Of Habit, and it helped me understand why I behave in the ways I do, and what I might be able to change to become a more effective person. Smarter, Faster, Better is a study in productivity, the result of interviews with dozens of people who have mastered strategies to improve both productivity and quality of life.”

CLARE BALDING

Sports commentator Balding, who has branched out as a children’s author in recent years, says: “On my Christmas books wish list would be anything by Elizabeth Strout. I read Olive Kitteridge on holiday and love the caustic wit, so I’d love to read My Name Is Lucy Barton (Viking, £12.99).

“My friend Mark Chapman has written a book called The Love Of The Game: Parenthood, Sport And Me (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99), about his passion for ball games and how he sees his children consuming different sports. It should be right up my street.’’

CECELIA AHERN

Romantic novelist Ahern, bestselling author of P.S. I Love You, which was made into a movie starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, has recently written her first YA novel, called Flawed. She says: “My favourite genre is crime thrillers, and the number one book on my Christmas wish list is Lee Child’s Night School (Bantam, £20).’’ Her other choice is fellow Irish native Graham Norton’s debut novel Holding, a thriller. “I really like the sound of it, it’s a detective story set in Cork.”

LYNNE TRUSS

Truss, bestselling author of Eats, Shoots And Leaves, says: “Top of the list is the paperback edition of Philip Hensher’s two-volume The Penguin Book Of The British Short Story (Penguin Classics, £12.99), which I was too mean to buy in hardback.

“Meanwhile, there are two science books I’m keen to - try to - read: Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20), and Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal (Granta, £14.99).’’