Holiday gift guide: How to please the book lover on your list
Whether that person on your holiday list is an avid reader of mysteries or autobiographies, a trip to a bookstore, or an online purchase, is sure to result in a treasured gift. And while eBooks are great, we’ve noticed that even friends who have Nooks tend to want a “real” book if it’s treasured.
The trick for buying for avid readers is discovering what they already have. Sure, you could drop a casual mention into the conversation. As in, “Hey, I’ve heard that book Unbroken is just amazing,” but you’ll probably be dropping a mighty big hint.
One possibility? Drop in on your neighborhood independent bookseller and ask a pro for an obscure but great mystery or thriller that never made the best-seller lists. Or take a chance they haven’t picked up the latest best-sellers yet. Chains like Barnes & Noble have great displays of the latest thrillers, romances and other genres.
It’s worth a trip to a book store even for your friends who say they don’t like to read much, or don’t have the time to tackle novels. Because chances are, they have the time to read a magazine or two.
Head into Barnes & Noble and take a look at the magazine section. For the friend who loves to cook, gather a handful of magazines like Food & Wine. For the music lover, bundle up a Rolling Stone with a Blender, Spin and Paste. If you’re feeling extra generous, toss in a year’s subscription to one of the magazines.
Another suggestion for your short-attention-span friend or family member: Are they planning any vacations? A travel guide to Costa Rica, Italy, New Mexico or wherever your loved-one’s destination is would be a perfect pick. Also consider hobbies and passions like knitting or cooking. While he may have The Joy of Cooking, if you know your brother makes a mean pasta sauce, consider finding him a great Italian cookbook.
Finally, don’t forget to check your list for little nephews and nieces. Every book given to a child is a blessing. If there are tweens on your list, ask their parents if they’re hooked on a series, and if you could add to the collection.
We spoke with a woman who spends some of her day walking through some 18 miles of books.
Brianne Sperber, the marketing manager of New York City’s famous bookstore, The Strand, says she’s keeping an eye on some of the books that are already doing well, and for good reason.
“Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay is smart and insightful,” Sperber says. “It’s about what culture is teaching us and what feminism really looks like, but she’s so smart and funny that this isn’t just a book for women.”
Another winner, she says, is Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Each book in a trilogy appeared on shelves over summer months, so picking up all three would be a great gift for those who are looking for a sort of “grown up Hunger Games,” she says.
“I love Yes Please by Amy Poehler, because she’s another smart, funny writer,” Sperber says. “But it’s also a beautiful book, so it looks great on a bookshelf.”
We loved the site’s categories in the gift guide, which will help the shopper identify books for most everyone on your shopping list. For instance, for the crazies in your life, the staff suggests The Emerald Light in the Air by Donald Antrim. For your psychedelic aunt? Nick Cave: Epitome. And for that narcissist we all have to buy for, there’s Anjelica Huston’s Watch Me.
The final reason to visit a nearby bookstore for your holiday shopping? For the most part, shoppers are quiet and crowds aren’t overwhelming. And you’re likely to spot a little something for yourself to put on your own wish list.