Note: This article of mine is featured in the November/December issue of Vital! magazine:
I love to give books as gifts. There is truly something for everyone, even people who aren’t usually big readers. If they are avid readers, you can try to avoid something they already have by looking specifically at the latest releases. The key to matching the book to the recipient is in knowing their interests. Here are some ideas to get you started:
There are plenty of amazing books – from coffee-table books to the more literary – about sports. Choose one based on the recipient’s sport or team of choice. For football fanatics, you can’t go wrong with Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Sport by Library of Congress and Susan Reyburn. Memoirs are also good choices for sports lovers, like the recently released Got to Give the People What They Want: True Stories and Flagrant Opinions from Center Court by professional basketball player turned sports commentator Jalen Rose.
My brother-in-law is a high school history teacher passionate about what he teaches, so I always enjoy choosing a history book for him. I recently gave my brother-in-law The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a highly acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Her latest release is Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. Another best-selling author who writes history as if it were a novel is Erik Larson. His latest is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
For your friend or family member who never misses an issue of People magazine, there are always plenty of new celebrity memoirs to choose from. Two of the latest on the best-seller list are Why Not Me? by actress Mindy Kaling and Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by singer Jewel. If you have a sports fan and celebrity maven on your gift list who enjoys stories of overcoming hardship, try My Fight/Your Fight by Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey.
Kids & Teens:
The latest book from award-winning author Brian Selznick (author of Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret) will entice any middle-grade reader. The Marvels, like Wonderstruck, tells one story in words and a second one in pictures that eventually intertwine. For teen readers who loved The Hunger Games, consider Neal Schusterman’s Unwind series, an action-packed, chilling dystopian story that is being made into a movie. For graphic novel (like bound comic books) fans, the younger set who loved Smile and Sisters will also enjoy the classic Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann B. Martin, now available as graphic novels and also drawn by Raina Telgemeier. Teen graphic novel fans will enjoy the award-winning This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.
For additional guidance, stop by your local bookstore – the booksellers will be glad to help you find books that match your gift recipient’s interests. Happy giving!