Exclusive Books announces its 2021 Season's Readings list

09 December 2021 - 12:33
By Helen Holyoake
The theme for Exclusive Books 2021 Christmas is very much about nostalgia and warm memories of Christmases gone by.
Image: Supplied The theme for Exclusive Books 2021 Christmas is very much about nostalgia and warm memories of Christmases gone by.

“The theme for Exclusive Books 2021 Christmas is very much about nostalgia and warm memories of Christmases gone by — good food, family gatherings, simple pleasures and loving thoughts for our fellow man... Season’s Readings tips its hat to all of these, a reminder that Exclusive Books is very much part of that festive joy,” says Batya Bricker, GM of Exclusive Books

The selection of 120 titles features something for everyone, from biography to fiction, children’s books to cookery, and a bumper crop of sports.

Books were chosen with gift giving in mind. In research done recently with Fanatics members, Exclusive Books confirmed that the most recurring reasons books are bought as gifts is because the gift-giver or the gift recipient loves books. Books remain the best kind of present — enduring, personal, relevant and inspiring. When you give a book as a gift, you are gifting not just another object, but “escape, entertainment, inspiration, even solace”.

To make gift giving easy, Exclusive Books is offering:

  • its best selection of books
  • free gift wrapping service in-store
  • create and share wishlists online
  • personalised e-vouchers
  • double Fanatics Points on the Christmas Selection from November 1 to December 31 
  • new Fanatics members can register and stand a chance to win one of three vouchers valued at R5,000.

Covid-19 and lockdown has highlighted the basic human need for human connection, and sharing personal stories is a powerful way of creating that bond, forging relationships, facilitating empathy and feeling less alone. This is the year for personal stories — of both the famous and not-so-famous — a trend we suspect will impact far into 2022 too.


Oh, the joy of fiction: to be immersed in a world far away, to be transported into a story not your own, to meet characters who become life-long friends... Enjoy this season’s outstanding creative writing, including the latest novels by the likes of Zakes Mda, Jodi Picoult and John Grisham.

People and personal stories

Icons and special personalities feature prominently this year: Johnny Clegg and Siya Kolisi; Indra Nooyi and Anant Singh; Pravin Gordhan and Freek Robinson; Roger Federer and Eddie Jones — all offering an unvarnished but ultimately uplifting perspective into the human condition.

Inspiration and psychology

As we approach the “new normal’” many are exploring what that “new every day” should look and feel like, and the surge of interest in personal transformational titles that we saw in lockdown has continued unabated. While the selection of these books during lockdown tended towards the more philosophical, perspective-altering and hard-hitting, like Viktor Frankl and Edith Eger, customer choices are now tending towards more future-looking and lighter books. Even Gregory David Roberts (author of Shantaram) has turned his hand to this genre.

Robin Sharma dominated best-seller lists since lockdown, with The 5am Club topping charts throughout. 

Stoicism is the new black, and Ryan Holiday’s Courage is Calling is going to be popular (Exclusive Books had a personal interview with him too!)

Cooking (the) books

Now that we are all doing more of it, the trend in cookery books on the list reflects a much more down-to-earth approach: real food for real people.

Authors Herman Lensing and Mokgadi Itsweng offer very different menus but the same homegrown, authentic and totally-cookable South African style.

Even Yotam Ottolenghi takes fancy down a notch with his book Test Kitchen, designed for real cooking and not just top-end inspiration.

Local is lekker

There are books that could only be produced and celebrated here in SA: from Nataniël’s 107 Kaalkoppe and Leo Prinsloo's Leo’s Guide to Not Becoming a Statistic, counterbalanced with classic funnies Madam & Eve and Zapiro.

Children’s and YA

The children’s books chosen are firm favourites, highly awaited sequels in series and the next offering from uber-popular authors like Jaco Jacobs, David Walliams and Refiloe Moahloli.

For YA, book choices are heavily influenced by the growing #Booktok trend, including Theodora Lee's Hashtag Happy and the new Adam Silvera Here's To Us. 

Happy holiday reading!

Article provided by Helen Holyoake of Helco Promotions on behalf of Exclusive Books