If your giftee a lover of memoirs, Woman at 1,000
Degrees by Hallgrimur Helgason is a novel she may
like, too. Itís told in the voice of 80-year-old Herra
BjŲrnsson, who is at the end of her life and sheís in the
mood to shareÖ Wrap it up with The Clockmakerís
Daughter by Kate Morton, a novel of an archivist, a
very old manor, and a bit of a mystery that transcends time.
Your cat lovers will take to Talk to the Paw by
Melinda Metz like catnip. Itís a little bit romance, a
little bit angst, a theft, and a purr-fect ending.
If itís not too timely to be a good gift, look for
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. Itís a book about a
school shooting and a motherís actions when her son is
injured in ways that canít be bandaged.
The short story fan will be glad to unwrap Sweet & Low
by Nick White. This book is full of Southern fiction,
characters you forget are not real, and situations that make
a good yarn great. For true short-story fans, pair it with
Everyday People: The Color of Life Ė A Short Story
Anthology edited by Jennifer Baker.
For the giftee who sometimes wishes for a life-rewind,
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle could be a good
choice to give. Itís a story about one evening, one meal, a
lot of loved ones (past and present) and a chance to make
things right. Pair it up with The Dream Daughter
by Diane Chamberlain, a book about a motherís first
If you give The Witch Elm by Tana French to
your suspense-novel lover, be prepared to be ignored for the
rest of the day. Not on purpose, but because this is a story
of an injured man, a decades-old mystery, and plenty of
For the historical fiction fan, look for A
Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler. Itís a
multi-generational tale of wealth and high-society (and the
Vanderbilts), set in the years following the Civil War, and
one womanís desire Ė need? Ė to make it to the top of New
Yorkís social scene.
For the person who canít get enough of John, Paul, George,
or Ringo, Visualizing the Beatles by John Pring
and Rob Thomas is something theyíll want to hold in
their hands. Itís a graphic history of the Fab Four, so lots
of pictures, easy to browse, fun to have. Pair it with
The Cutting Edge by Leslie Cavendish, who was the
woman who cut and styled the Beatlesí hair.
For the armchair detective or CSI fan, The Handy
Forensic Science Answer Book by Patricia Barnes-Svarney
and Thomas E. Svarney will be a welcome gift this year.
In a Q&A format, this book teaches and answers the kinds of
questions any detective-show fan can come up with. It may
also chill youÖ Wrap it up with any good murder mystery, of
course! Or better yet, wrap it up with Murder, Lies,
and Cover-Ups by David Gardner, a book about
conspiracies and the whodunit deaths of celebrities your
giftee will surely remember.
Yes, Earth is a pretty good place to live. Oxygen, water,
treesÖ but what is our presence doing to the planet?
Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen is one of
those books thatíll answer your gifteeís questions while it
also invites him to think. How is our world thriving and
surviving? Pair it up with The Simpol Solution by
John Bunzl and Nick Duffell, a book about fixing the
global problems we face today and our children could face
tomorrow. Consider more with The Disaster Survival
Guide by Marie D. Jones, a book thatís a good primer
for coming out the other side of natureís worst and
If your giftee would love something otherworldly, try
Sister of Darkness: The Chronicles of a Modern Exorcist
by R. H. Stavis with Sarah Durand. Yes, this book is for
real. Yes, it could scare the Dickens out of someone.
For the fashionista, you canít go wrong when you give
Fierce: The History of Leopard Print by Jo Weldon.
Yes, thatís what this book is about Ė the evolution of a
wild fad that shows no signs of slowing down. You know what
kind of paper to wrap this book in, donít you? Wrap it up
for the perfect gift for the giftee who mourns the end of
summer from October to May: Hollywood Beach Beauties
by David Wills. Itís a large picture book full of
starlets on the beach, circa 1930 into the 1970s. Not just
fun for sun lovers, but for fashion followers, too. Another
book to try: An Atlas of Natural Beauty by
Victoire de Taillac and Ramdane Touhami. Itís exactly
what it sounds like: a book of recipes for her to naturally
enhance her gorgeous looks.
The writer / reader on your gift list will truly enjoy
The Handy Literature Answer Book by Daniel S. Burt,
PhD, and Deborah G. Felder. Itís a book about books,
authors, reading, and more books. Pair it up with
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich,
which is a gigantic tome filled with suggestions that will
keep your giftee busy for a lot of Christmases to come.
Might also want to think about Atticus Finch: The
Biography by Joseph Crespino, a biography of Harper
Lee and the first man in her life.
New homeowners and those who are still looking may like
A Place Called Home by Kim R. Manturuk, Mark R.
Lindblad, & Roberto G. Quercia. Itís a rather scholarly
look at why we own homes, who owns them, and the financial
issues that surround owning your own home versus renting.
Filled with data and stats, this book is also great for your
favorite Realtor. Pair it up with the historic The Finest
Building in America: The New York Crystal Palace
1853-1858 by Edwin G. Burrows, or Homeplace
by John Lingan, a story of a town, its future, and its
So your giftee likes to have something to take while waiting
for his or her part in the community theatre?
Shakespeareís Ear by Tim Rayborn couldnít be a
better book, then. Itís filled with interesting tales and
little-known secrets from the world of theatre. For your
favorite actor, it is to be. Also look for Messiah:
The Composition and Afterlife of Handelís Masterpiece by
Where would you favorite pal be without you Ė or vice
versa? In Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen
Schaeffer, your giftee will see how female friendships
are forged, nourished, and kept strong and what happens when
they donít. Will you-know-who share this book with you? Wrap
it up with Girl Talk by Jacqquline Mroz, a
book about female friendships from a scientific perspective,
and she might.
For the giftee who needs a specific understanding boost (and
be careful when you give it!), look for It Takes One
to Tango by Winifred M. Reilly, MA, MFT, a book
about fixing a marriage. If it feels right, pair it with
Infidelity: Why Men and Women Cheat by Kenneth Paul
Rosenberg, MD, but be cautious!
The person who loves to explore will love reading
Walking the Americas by Levison Wood. Heís a British
explorer who walked 1,800 miles through eight countries and
this is the story of the people he met, the things he saw,
and his thoughts on it all. Pair it up with Tip of the
Iceberg by Mark Adams, a story of a long journey
across the wilds of Alaska.
If thereís someone on your list who wonders what the future
holds, wrap up The Next American City by Mick
Cornett, a book about small cities and what the future
holds for them and their citizens. Pair it with
Without a Net, edited by Michelle Tea, an anthology
about just getting by.
So you say your giftee has been following politics closely.
He read ďHillbilly Elegy.Ē So now give What You are
Getting Wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte.
This book nicely balances fact from fiction, and itíll give
your giftee more prospective. It could even be a
mind-changer. Pair it with something your political watcher
will like: Type R by Ama Marston and Stephanie
Marston, a book about resilience and how to get more of
it in todayís world.
For the person whoís facing That Certain Age in the New
Year, wrap up The Happiness Curve by Jonathan
Rauch. Itís a book about the wonderfulness of turning 50
and how life is so much sweeter. Pair it up with The
End of Old Age by Marc E. Agronin, M.D., which is
about making the latter half of your life the best part.
For a reader who craves hard, true facts, A Book of
Book Lists by Alex Johnson might be just the thing.
Itís, well, the title is self-explanatory but it also
contains a harder look at the classics, literature, and
authorsí perspectives on both. Just be aware that itís very
British. Wrap it up with The Weather Detective by
Peter Wohlleben, making these books a perfect duo for
your fact-hungry giftee.
Everybody with a job will love reading Danger, Man
Working by Michael Perry. Itís a series of essays on
having a job. Also fishing, freelancing, living on a farm,
veterans, and other things thatíll make you laugh and / or
know youíre reading the words of a kindred spirit. A good
book to add to the package before you wrap it is A
Little Tea Book by Sebastian Beckwith with Caroline
Paul, illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton. A good book, a
cuppa tea, and a good book about tea will all make an
For the political animal in your family, Hugs from
Obama, edited by M. Sweeney might be just the
right gift. Itís filled with pictures and quotations from
the Obama years in the White House, including the end. Pair
it up with The Watergate: Inside Americaís Most
Infamous Address by Joseph Rodota, for a scandalous
look back in history. More books for the current events fan:
Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West by
James Pogue is a peek at the militia movement in America;
and My Brother Moochie by Issac J. Bailey is a
book on poverty and racism.
The giftee who loves to laugh will love having
Laughter Totally Is the Best Medicine by the Readerís
Digest folks. Filled with jokes, cartoons, and other
funnies, it might also make a great stocking-stuffer. And if
your giftee loves to laugh, look at The Incomplete
Book of Running by Peter Sagal, for a fast chuckle.
And for the cook on your list, Buttermilk Graffiti
by Edward Lee would make a great gift. Itís part
history, part memoir, part foodie paradise with recipes and
itís yummy. Pair it with a brand-new cookbook for a tasty
2019, or wrap up Moonshine: A Celebration of Americaís
Original Rebel Spirit by John Schlimm with it. See
what your giftee can cook up now.
Parents and parents-to-be may get a kick out of
Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske. Itís about Zaskeís time
spent living in Berlin, Germany, and what she noticed about
the way the Germans parent their children. If that person on
your list tried being a Tiger Mom, give this book a whirl
and see if selbstandigkeit, is right for her kids.
Pair it with The Power of Presence by Joy Thomas
Moore, a book about being a lingering positive influence
for your children.
For the new dad, Rap Dad by Juan Vidal might
make a great First Christmas gift. Itís an examination of
what makes a Dad in America today, how stereotypes come into
play in being a Dad, and how Vidal learned to father. Pair
it up with Beyond Birds & Bees by Bonnie J. Rough.
Itís a book about teaching children about love and equality
between the sexes.
MEMOIR / BIOGRAPHY
What does it take to be a man? Can a boy learn it from his
father? In Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo, the
author looks at the legacy his father left him, and how it
made him the man he is today. And if your giftee loves to
read about legacies left, wrap up Jackie, Janet & Lee
by J. Randy Taraborerelli, a book about the
former first lady, her mother, and her younger sister.
For the teacher whoís most important in your childís life,
look for Once a Professor: A Memoir of Teaching in
Turbulent Times by Jerry Apps. Itís a book about
education Ė both of students in the 1960s, and the teacher
who watched them protest.
If the first thing your giftee turns to each morning is a
weather forecast, heíll love The Man Who Caught the
Storm by Brantley Hargrove. Itís the story of Tim
Samaras, who was a legend in storm chasing, until his death
byÖ. Uh, nope, read the book.
For the giftee whoís considering adopting, Someone Has
Led This Child to Believe by Regina Louise could
change the path. Itís the story of Louiseís life in and out
of the United States foster care system and what happened to
her after she ďaged out.Ē Wrap it in tissues. Seriously. And
for more current-events memoirs, look for A Dream
Called Home by Reyna Grande, a story by a woman who
immigrated to Mexico by herself at age nine, to find
her parents who came here before her.
Hereís to the hobbyist: the car lover on your gift list will
love to have Driven by Melissa Stephenson.
Itís a memoir about loss, bittersweet memories and keeping
them alive, all written with vehicles as backdrop. For the
nostalgia lover (and Hollywood fan), My Days: Happy
and Otherwise by Marion Ross (with David Laurell)
will be a delight to unwrap. Itís all about ďMrs. CĒ and the
woman behind her, and itíll leave someone rocking and
rolling all week long.
Another highly-anticipated (and much-desired) gift to look
for is In Pieces by Sally Field, a book by the
girl America has grown up with. Itís filled with
behind-the-story stories and celeb names youíll also
recognize. Wrap it up with a The Flying Nun DVD or
two, or a copy of Smokey and the Bandit.
If youíve got someone on your gift list whoís a Kennedy
Watcher, theyíll love reading Eunice: The Kennedy Who
Changed the World by Eileen McNamara. Itís, of
course, about Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her life, and her
times. Another celeb biography to try is Marilyn
Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon by Charles
Casillo. Itís for the giftee who only thinks she
knows everything about MM that there is to know.
And for the Vietnam veteran on your list, look for
Striking Eight Bells: A Vietnam Memoir by George
Trowbridge. Itís a memoir set in the waning days of the
war and what it was like before, during, and after being a
solder in the Navy then.