I’m the relative/friend/acquaintance who gives books for every occasion. When I’m picking gift books, I’m looking for things that strike a chord in a wide variety of people. They aren’t necessarily my favorites (I usually like them, but my absolute favorites tend to be a little more esoteric and they change often.) These are books I think are likely to be appreciated by the recipient. So if it’s time to buy that present, check these out:
1. For your brother who loves action movies – anything by Nick Petrie. Seriously, anything. He’s one of those writers who somehow writes an amazing read every time. (Side note: if the time comes to hand out super powers, I would like this one, please and thank you.)
2. For your favorite business person – The Cult of We by Eliot Brown (audio book). Thérèse Plummer is a great narrator. Your friend can listen during their commute and remember to make wise choices, as in, no your employees do not want a surf pool at work.
3. For your cousin who loves to stir drama at Thanksgiving dinner and reads Next Door like she used to read your diary – Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West. It’s all in there, just like the time she asked you during Easter services if you bought a better bra or you got knocked up.
4. For the middle-schooler who’s starting high school – Bruiser by Neal Schusterman. It’s fun, humorous, kids like it, and it really captures the way we (hopefully) grow up during high school; especially in terms of learning to think beyond ourselves.
5. For the elementary school kid who never reads – The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. It’s about sports and siblings and life; written in accessible, flowing verse, and it’s both funny and sad. Doesn’t get much better than that.
6. For your great-aunt who went to Catholic school and still talks about Sister Mary Catherine who taught fifth grade – Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb. If you went to parochial school in a certain era, this one hits in a way that makes you laugh out loud.
7. For children whose parents have already bought all the well-known picture books – The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein. Kids’ bookshelves often lack nonfiction and this is a great one. It’s a fascinating story.
8. For your relative who loves jigsaw puzzles and Agatha Christie – Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. This mystery set in 1954 at a psychiatric hospital on an island will challenge you to put all the pieces together and just when you think you might have it, closes with a twist you didn’t see coming.
9. A picture book for silly kids and the people who want to laugh with them – The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak. Just read it, you’ll see why.
10. For your sister who cries at baby showers, weddings, and Christmas commercials – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Toss in a little package of Kleenex and your gift is complete.