If you’ve got a scientist in the family–or a bright spark wanting to be one–here’s a few websites listing some ideas. I suspect you’re a bit late for ordering from the like of Amazon, so you might have to resort to trotting around the better bookshops… good way of killing time anyway!
Seed magasine’s suggestions
Sense about science blog’s list
Books I’ve previewed or reviewed this year:
Victorian Popularizers of Science (bit specialised and expensive, good for science communicators)
Best American Science Writing 2009 (particularly recommended)
A selection of books others here have reviewed this year (I’ve bound to have missed a few):
The Tangled Bank (more for readers interested in evolution, rather than scientists)
Readers are welcome to add their own recommendations or ideas in the comments.