If you’re like me, you kind of hate leaving your house. And you probably aren’t quite done with your Christmas shopping. And time is running out. It’s a cunnundrum.
But! Never fear! Use the crap outta that Amazon Prime membership and order the just-right book for those hard-to-shop-for folks on your list. Here are my recommendations.
For your angsty teen-aged niece: When did teen girls get so scary? They dress better than me and I’m pretty sure they’re judging my sensible footwear and OMG, teen girls are terrifying! But, all that aside … you can smooth things over and buy some street cred with Rainbow Rowell. These novels are technically young adult, but I’ve read them and they are wonderful – engrossing and smart. Consider Fangirl: A Novel or its new followup, Carry On.
For your father-in-law who thinks everything made after 1950 is crap: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. Because this book is about some hard-core dudes from when men were men. This book has it all: pulling yourself up by your bootstraps; sports; and beating Nazis. If you liked Unbroken, you’ll like The Boys in the Boat. If you haven’t read Unbroken, well, that would make a good New Year’s resolution. You won’t be sorry.
For the wanna-be fabulous folk in your life: Modern Mix by Eddie Ross. OK, usually, I only look at the photos in decorating books. Show me, don’t tell me. But this coffee table book combines gorgeous photos with text that’s engaging and gives you permission to do yo’ thang. Eddie loves flea markets, color, and dishes. And this book is both inspiring and empowering. When it comes to decorating, your stuff doesn’t have to match: it has to go. And you deserve to live in loveliness.
For the naughty girl and/or felon: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Because it seems like just another thriller set in post-WWI London and your mom asks to borrow it when you’re done reading, but then you get into it and it is … steamy? And you realize that you skimmed over the cover blurb that called it “volcanically sexy?” And it offers a nuanced view of what it was like to be gay less than 100 years ago? And also, murder?
For the history buff or the slightly nerdy teen-aged boy: One Summer: America, 1927. So, I love Bill Bryson. His writing reflects his genuine curiosity about the world and is so engaging. This book covers just a few months in American history, but what a few months: Lindburgh, Ruth, Ford, Capone. I learned a lot, and found myself wanting to know more. And isn’t that the greatest gift?
For your friend in need of a change: Sometimes, you’ve got to mess up and get lost to figure things out. Lost & Found by Brooke Davis is a lovely novel about just that. There’s the little girl who’s living in a department store; the elderly man who runs away from his nursing home; and the old biddy who hasn’t left her house in 7 years. And then? Well, stuff happens. It’s funny and heartbreaking and life-affirming and I just loved this book.
For the young reader who isn’t yet an angsty teen but might be starting to figure out that you aren’t cool: This might be your last chance to share a book from your childhood. Or mine. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg is a novel that I loved as a kid. I reread it a few years ago and it’s just as magical. Claudia and Jamie run away from home to … The Metropolitan Museum of Art, of course.
What did I miss? And what books are you giving (or hoping to receive!) this holiday?
Friendly reminder: When you shop through my links, Amazon throws me some spare change. You know, to pay my library fines. Because sometimes I borrow books instead of buying them. Because I’m not made of money. And libraries are awesome.