Shopping for the Holidays: Not Hard with Books Rachael Berkey

It’s that time of year again. I’m running from shop to shop doing my normal, last minute “What should I buy for that person?” routine. And if you know me at all, you know that my favorite present is a book.

I buy them for everyone.

Pretty much, if you know me in the real world, and I am getting you a present, you are getting a book.

The better I know you the more I will try to find something I really, really think you will love because of the television, books or whatever entertainment we have babbled about incessantly and how well I think I know your taste.

And if I really, really like you, I will throw you a surprise.

Like, “I know you love x, y and z. So, I got you this. I hope you love it.”

This year my presents are a bit more focused. Here’s what I’m giving to people:

For the book nerd:

A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse

This book. You guys. I cannot get over this book. I read it two years ago. Two years ago, this book was on every single Staff Recommendations shelf I passed. The basic plot is that there is a bookstore where the stock is decided by committee, and they only stock “good” novels. This leads to judgment in the community, and then people are attacked, and it’s totally a mystery. I love it. And I want you to love it too.

For the classic literature fan:

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Okay, this book is wonderful. And if you have a family member or a friend who reads a lot of classic literature – okay a lot of classic European literature – this is a great choice. The themes in this book that resonate are about socioeconomics, prejudice and the soul. They dig deep. They make you uncomfortable. And Rowling still speaks to the heart like she spoke to Harry Potter. Readers want to like it, and I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I did.

For the fantasy fan:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I reread this book twice, cover to cover, this year. It is glorious and lush and beautiful. I want to give it to my stepmother for Christmas. I think part of what I connected to so well in this book was the embedded metaphors for the written word here. My love of printed pages is well documented. This book plays with actual world built by paper and ink and written on pages. I want to live there.

For the sci-fi fan:

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

You may not read comic books, but you should read this one. There are people with televisions for heads. There are space ships and ghosts and magic and lasers. I froth at the mouth on new comic day when I know that this is going to be released. If you’re not reading it, you should be. I swear to you, it’s going to be as influential as Star Wars in ten years.

These are my holiday shopping choices this year. There may be a few more. Things that are a little older school: The Unwritten trades, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Let’s be honest, Ender’s Game is totally my go-to present. I give it to everyone. I gave it to my sister in law two years ago, and she judged me because she thought I was judging her because she hadn’t read it yet.

Spoiler: I was.

But now she’s read it. And my giving it to her got my brother to reread it too so family gatherings have included moments of “OH MY GOD, REMEMBER WHEN” a lot for the last year.

I kind of love it.

I hope that these book purchases lead to the same reactions.

Image via Shutterstock

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  1. Books are definitely always one of my go-to presents to give to people as well. I think they’re actually a very personal gift, not only because you have to know what kinds of things that person enjoys to read and who they are, but also because a great book has the power to influence a person for the rest of their life. My great aunt, who has a PhD in library science, usually sends me a book each year for Christmas, and thanks to her, many of them have become favorite tomes of mine I now recommend to others.

    My suggestions for some great books to give as gifts:

    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (really different from the movie version!)
    The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
    His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (Golden Compass, etc)
    The Giver by Lowis Lowry

  2. I think books are the most personal gifts you can give because you have to really think about the person and who they are, what they like, etc.

  3. If you have a rock n’ roll fan among your friends and loved ones, this Christmas is really a rich time to buy them a ton of books. We’ve got “50 Sides of the Beach Boys,” Peter Ames Carlin’s biography of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young’s autobiography, Pete Townshend’s autobiography, Rod Stewart’s autobiography… the list goes on. There’s been quite a rash of ‘em lately. It should be easy to shop for a music fan this year :)

  4. I’ve just brought a whole bunch of my friends The Mortal Instruments City of Bones to read as I’ve been banging on about how good the series is for ages! They have all expressed annoyance at this so I’ve decided to be completely obnoxious and actually put them in a position where NOT reading the book would be rude as I gave it to them as a GIFT. I know they will love it, as its the sort of story we all normally have in common, so really, I’m doing them a favour. I’ve brought them other things that I know they’ll love too so I’m not being a complete nuisance….