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What books do bestselling authors want to receive this Christmas?

As bookshelves groan under the weight of new releases for the festive season, we asked some of our favourite writers which titles are topping their wish lists

By Hannah Stephenson

Bestselling thriller writer Sophie Hannah, author of The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot (HarperCollins, £18.99)

"This Christmas, I'm hibernating in rural Gloucestershire, where I plan to do very little apart from swim, walk the dog, and read.

"The books I'd ideally like to find in my Christmas stocking are: some Ngaio Marsh Inspector Alleyn mysteries - I've never read Marsh's Golden Age detective novels, and it's about time I did. Adultery by Paulo Coelho (Hutchinson, £14.99), his new novel, about a woman's search for fulfilment, and The Devotion Of Suspect X, by Keigo Higashino (Abacus, £7.99), because I've heard that it's my very favourite thing: a crime novel with a supremely clever plot."

Bestselling novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, author of Moriarty (Orion, £19.99)

"It's time I read Don Quixote again - I was in my early 20s last time. It's such an epic story; part romance, part Arthurian quest, and I remember being quite moved when I finished it back then. It's strange that most people only remember those windmills. Anyway, I'm told that Edith Grossman's translation of Miguel de Cervantes' novel (Vintage, £10.99) is both witty and intelligent - and it's also the most recent, so I'd be very happy to find that in my stocking.

"For something lighter, I'll go for Stephen King's Mr Mercedes (Hodder & Stoughton, £20), a straightforward - which is to say, not paranormal - thriller, describing a duel between a 28-year-old man who deliberately kills a dozen people on a joyride and a suicidal detective. It sounds interesting and I often wonder, how does King manage to write so many pages, so many books? Will he never stop?"

Romantic fiction writer Cathy Kelly, author of It Started With Paris (Orion, £16.99)

"I'm a huge fan of India Knight's no-nonsense column and her marvellous take on life, the universe and shopping. I'd love to find her new book, In Your Prime (Fig Tree, £16.99), under the Christmas tree. I believe it covers ageing, shopping, parents, kids, the menopause, and what the effect is of looking at one's naked self from a mirror on the floor. Not a happy sensation, it seems ... it's sure to be deliciously funny.

"I love crime novels, and though I've read several of Iceland's Yrsa Sigurdardottir's novels, I haven't read The Silence Of The Sea (Hodder & Stoughton, £13.99) yet. There's something fascinating about Iceland - a country I've never been to despite its proximity to Ireland (where Kelly lives) - and the concept of this glorious landscape with its craters, hot springs and mystery. Our heroine, Thora Gudmundsdottir, is hired to find out what happened to the family who rented out the luxury yacht which arrives in Reykjavik harbour with nobody on board. Sounds thrilling.

"Finally, I love the Freakonomics team of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner and have been holding out on buying Think Like A Freak (Allen Lane, £12.99) on the grounds that somebody might buy it for me! This book offers more wacky but brilliant ways to understand our world from - apparently - the techniques of a Japanese hot dog-eating champion, to why Nigerian email scammers say they are from Nigeria, which seems contra-indicative - fascinating."

Radio 4 presenter and pop star-turned-vicar Rev Richard Coles, author of Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop To Pulpit (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20).

"I'm hoping to get AN Wilson's colossal biography of Queen Victoria (Victoria: A Life; Atlantic, £25), almost as long as the reign of that Sovereign Lady herself, but I can't think of anyone with a livelier feel for that era. I would love to find also a nice edition of the ghost stories of MR James, still for me the finest of the genre, and there's nothing like them on dark and misty evenings.

"And it would have to be a very big stocking, but there's a wonderful new book called Icons Of Northamptonshire (published by Northamptonshire County Council and the Northampton branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, £17.50), my home county, with photographs and essays on everything from Saxon churches to baroque palaces and Watford Gap Services. That's what I'm likely to nod off over after lunch on Christmas Day, when we shut up shop, light the fire, get into our pyjamas, settle down with the dogs and finally get some of that peace on earth and goodwill to all men we've been singing about since November."

Bestselling novelist and former stand-up comedian Jenny Colgan, author of The Christmas Surprise (Sphere, £12.99)

"I want Science For Her by Megan Amram (Hardie Grant, £14.99), which looks both useful and very, very funny; the new Stephen King, Revival (Hodder & Stoughton, £20), for that Boxing Day feeling when you can't do anything but lie there like a sated anaconda and let the pages turn themselves - King is great for that - and The Ghost Of The Marie Celeste by Valerie Martin (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £13.99), which looks very cold and chilly - I like a chilly book in the winter."

Children's author and Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon, author of Horrid Henry's Christmas Lunch (Orion, £4.99), and Do You Speak English, Moon? (Orion, £6.99)

"On my Christmas list - my husband has been notified! - is H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape, £14.99). I read medieval studies at university and have always been fascinated by hawks and falconry. I've read excerpts from this book and it sounds wild and strange and haunting.

"I would also like The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Virago, £13.99). I love her novels - I've read them all - but I know from past experience that, once started, they are almost impossible to put down, so Christmas is a time when I can read undisturbed for a day or two."

Bestselling novelist Daisy Waugh, author of Honeyville (HarperCollins, £7.99)

"I'll be finishing Straw Dogs by John Gray (Granta, £9.99), a book which looks at what it is to be human and how ludicrously self-important we are about our species. It needs to be read in short bursts interspersed with long recovery periods, due to the fact that it's intensely depressing - so depressing that it somehow bounces back on itself and becomes quite exhilarating.

"And I'll be reading the sequel to Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect (Michael Joseph, £12.99), because The Rosie Project, though a little too slick, made me laugh out loud many times.

And I'll be reading them all beside a heater in the Scottish Highlands, where I'll be staying with my many Scottish in-laws."

Bestselling novelist Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist (Picador, £12.99)

"As a non-fiction treat, I would love to see Andrew Solomon's Far From The Tree (Vintage, £11.99) in my Christmas stocking, a beautifully written psychiatric study of difference and compassion. After a week spent with my family, that might be quite useful ...

"The recent death of the Duchess of Devonshire closed an era on the glamorous Mitfords, and I think it would be nice to revisit her autobiography, Wait for Me! (John Murray, £9.99), as a balance to the Solomon, with both books begging the question, what is normal? "For fiction sparklers, I'd be delighted to find Rainbow Rowell's Attachments (Orion, £7.99) in my stocking, because she does the messy beauty of normal life so well."

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