It's the final countdown to Christmas, so to keep the blog in the Christmas spirit, I thought I'd number my 12 all-time favourite books to give (or receive) as gifts.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Don't let yourself be fooled by the label on these books; yes, they are children's books, and I frequently see them shelved in Middle Grade section in Waterstones, but this is a bit of a Harry Potter kind of situation, in that while they might have been written for children, about children, they touch on much deeper, very important topics that adults can enjoy just as much as kids.
Also, a handy hint and tip for anyone feeling pressured into reading Milton's Paradise Lost, but are having trouble coming to grips with the language and heavy imagery: read Pullman. He synthesises the main points of Milton in a way that makes it easy to grasp and is entertaining to boot. Trust me, I wanted to do my final book report for high school on His Dark Materials, but my teacher convinced me to read Milton and do it on Paradise Lost instead, since Pullman is so heavily influenced by Milton. I didn't enjoy the epic poem as much as I did Lyra's daring adventure, but I definitely saw the influence that leaked through into Pullman.
Again, if your giftee doesn't like reading, the first book in the trilogy is a movie, The Golden Compass, with Nicole Kidman. The movie isn't as good as the books, though, so maybe give the book anyway, because that's a good place as any to start a love for reading.