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Holiday Shopping Guide: Season’s Readings

A book is a present they’ll open again and again.

So, it’s a wrap.

Everything’s under paper and under the tree. You’re done with all your shopping, except for one person. Or two. Maybe four.


So what do you get for that hard-to-buy-for person who never likes anything? Well, as they say, a book is a present they’ll open again and again, so why not head to your local bookstore for these great gifts:

FICTION

For the reader who loves a little bit of romance with their ghost story, The Ghost Clause by Howard Norman is a good choice. It’s the story of a ghost and his reflections on his marriage, as he observes the union of the new owners of his former home. Wrap it up with The Plus One by Sarah Archer, a novel about a robotics engineer who needs a date for a wedding. So why not just make one?

The traveler on your list will love reading Layover by David Bell. It’s the story of a man who meets an intriguing stranger in an airport and falls in love with her. What happens next isn’t a love story… Wrap it up with The Dollmaker by Nina Allan – because it’s sort of a love story.

On your list, there’s undoubtedly someone’s mom, or maybe someone who has decided not to be one. In Motherhood by Sheila Heti, a woman wrestles with a “to be or not to be” question and all that comes with it. Will she have children, or won’t she?

For the giftee who loves being organized, wrap up Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron, a novel about a professional organizer whose husband is a hoarder. Good for her, though, she has a couple of new clients who will give her something else to think about – except one thing leads to another and she finds herself in a much, much bigger mess. Wrap it up with another makes-you-think novel: The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele, a story of the end of the world, and a chance to rebuild society anew.

For the reader who loves historical fiction, Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood will be a great gift to give. It’s a fictionalized tale of the Dionne Quintuplets, as told by their nurse in novelized form.

Readers who enjoy crime fiction will love The Shameless by Ace Atkins. When a twenty-year-old suicide suddenly becomes of interest to a couple of big-city reporters, Sheriff Quinn Colson wonders why – but before he can find out, he’s embroiled in another, more recent crime and an election that could send Tibbehah County into a crime-ridden tailspin.

The lover of magical novels, wrap up The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe. It’s a novel about a young woman who’s keeping a secret from her colleagues and the world: she’s a descendant of a possible witch, and she possesses powers that have come down the bloodline, but can it save a loved one’s life?

NON-FICTION

For road trippers, The Vagabonds by Jeff Guinn makes a great gift idea. It’s the story of ten years’ worth of road-trips taken by friends Henry Ford and Thomas Edison: the things they saw, the places they visited, and why they had to stop their (very much beloved) vacations together. Wrap it up with Two-Buck Chuck & The Marlboro Man: The New Old West by Frank Bergon, a lively book that takes readers on a trip to meet people who hold the image of the West that used to be, and how it fits in with what the West is today.

Newlyweds will love reading The Long Accomplishment: A Memoir of Hope and Struggle in Matrimony by Rick Moody. It’s a no-holds-barred story of Moody’s second marriage, the good and the bad, and the love inside it. Wrap it up with The Deer Camp by Dean Kuipers, another warts-and-all book about spending time with the people you love.

For the lover of scary stories, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle (2nd Edition), by Pamela K. Kinney will be a big treat to unwrap. Here, full-color pictures accompany hair-raising tales of weirdness and ghosts. Also for lovers of the Unknown: Lost Civilizations by Jim Willis, a book about the ancients and what they knew that we need to know now.

Still need more creepiness beneath your tree? Then find Celebrity Ghosts and Notorious Hauntings by Marie D. Jones, a book about Hollyweird’s weirdness, and others; and Unexplained by Richard Maclean Smith, a book of hair-raising stories that will show you that there are things to learn from a good scare. Wrap them both up with I Know What I Saw by Linda S. Godfrey, a book about monsters, urban legends, and things that go BUMP in the night.

Imagine how your science-minded giftee will love The Royal Society & The Invention of Modern Science by Adrian Tinniswood. It’s a book about the early days of the Royal Society of London, the work it did (and does) and the very bumpy road it took to become one of science’s best institutions.

The person who likes to surprise others will be surprised to get Magic is Dead by Ian Frisch. It’s the story of magic and prestidigitation, how Frisch became immersed in a secret organization of magicians, and how it changed his life. Speaking of secrets, if your giftee is so inclined, Cover-Ups & Secrets by Nick Redfern may be a really good addition to your gift. It’s all about conspiracies, deceptions, UFOs, Hollywood rumors, and other great topics for thought.

The lover of justice will both enjoy unwrapping Life and Death in Rikers Island by Homer Venters. It’s the story of one man’s incarceration in prison for a small theft he didn’t commit. It’s the tale of his suicide, once released. And it’s the story of what prison will do to a person, both physically and mentally. Wrap it up with Free Cyntoia by Cyntoia Brown-Long; it’s the story of Brown-Long’s days as a sex worker, her wrongful conviction and incarceration, and her life after prison; or The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose by Chris Wilson with Bret Witter.

If there’s a musician on your gift list, or someone who plays in a band, then Guitar by David Schiller is exactly what you should put under the tree. This lavishly-illustrated book is all about the instrument, both electric and acoustic; the artists who owned the guitar, and sometimes, who made the instrument that made the music.

The person who’s fascinated by the way the world works might like to unwrap Radical Suburbs by Amanda Kolson Hurley. It’s a book about how our cities have changed and how our perception of them needs to change, too. For a doubly-great gift, wrap it up with Archaeology from Space by Sarah Parcak, so your giftee can see what things are like on earth from beyond.

Christmas has a reason for the season, and if your giftee is exploring his or her beliefs, then The Handy Christianity Answer Book by Stephen A. Werner, PhD, will be a great present to open. In a Q&A format, this book looks at Christianity and all aspects surrounding it. Wrap it up with Signs from the Other Side by Bill Philipps, a book that will comfort anyone who’s lost a loved one.

The person who has a hard time tearing away from a certain show on television will love to read Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era by Saul Austerlitz. It’s a nice look back at TV that mirrored real life, even for just a minute of our lives. And speaking of generations, look for Connecting Generations by Hayim Herring. It’s a good look at the disparities between Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, and how we can all learn to come together for the betterment of all involved.

Not just for a farmer, Farming for the Long Haul by Michael Foley will also inspire back-to-the-land folks and anyone who wants to take the next step toward it. This book espouses small farms and other new ways of farming that don’t hurt the groundwater or the land itself. Beware that this may be controversial. Beware that it may launch a few farmers on your list. Wrap it up with Farm + Land’s Back to the Land by Frederick Pikovsky and Nicole Caldwell. It’s a guide to living and working outdoors and perhaps going back to the land; or The Farmer’s Son by John Connell, a story of life on an Irish family farm.

Your favorite armchair astronomer will love unwrapping When the Earth had Two Moons by Erik Asphaug because there are so many things to learn about what’s “out there.”

For readers who love history, Born to the Badge by Mark Warren might be the gift to get. Part novelization, part history, it’s the story of Wyatt Earp and his years in Wichita before moving to Texas to escape his past.

BIOGRAPHY / AUTOBIOGRAPHY / MEMOIR

For the fiercest of fierce women on your gift list, look for Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler by Cate Haste. It’s the story of Mahler, wife of the artist, who was also the first woman to write an opera at a time when women were supposed to be shadows of their husbands. It’s one of those little-know stories you should know.

The giftee who needs a boost of confidence will love unwrapping More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth. It’s the story of the author’s realization that she really was everything she needed to be, and that’s a great lesson to take into the new year.

They say that America’s Royalty sprang from the New England area and if your giftee is a fan or follower, then wrap up The Kennedy Heirs by J. Randy Taraborrelli. This big book is all about the JFK kids and their generation, as well as their cousins.

For the person who’s spent time this year as caregiver to a parent, How to Forget by Kate Mulgrew is the book to wrap. It’s the story of caring and loss, and coming to terms with a past that one may or may not know until secrets are no longer kept.

The Anglophile on your gift list will love having Our Rainbow Queen by Sali Hughes under the tree. It’s a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s colorful style and the splashy fashions she favors.

For the lover of music, feminism, and fierce women, No Walls and the Recurring Dream by Ani DiFranco will make a perfect gift. It’s the story of DiFranco’s first thirty years on earth, her activism, her life, and her music.

If there’s a Hollywood watcher on your gift list this year, then wrap up Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood by Karina Longworth. It’s the story of a very rich man, the women who wanted him (or his money, or both) and the women who got what they wanted – much to their regret.

Historians and connoisseurs alike will love reading The Bourbon King by Bob Batchelor. It’s the story of George Remus, his crimes, and his totally illegal prohibition-era empire.

BUSINESS

If there’s a business-minded future college student on your gift list this year, you’re both in luck: you, because finding their gift is easy for once; them, because of the “Masters at Work” series. These quick-to-read books take a look at various professions, from the kind of education needed, to the salaries that can be expected, the best parts of the job, the most hated, and what it’s like to go into business for yourself. Look for Masters at Work books on being an architect, museum curator, fashion designer, sommelier, baker, life coach, neurosurgeon, and others.

HEALTH / MEDICINE

Here’s a book for the teacher, parent, or pediatrician on your gift list: Let the Children Play: Why More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle. Yes, this is a book on horsing around, play, goofing off, and all the other fun things we should encourage children to do more. This book will explain why.

Parents of all ages will love reading I’m Staying at Richard’s by Bernadette Agius, a book about motherhood, and Agius’ journey with her son, who has Down syndrome. Wrap it up with Normal Sucks by Jonathan Mooney, a book about living with differences and knowing that “normal” is whatever you say it is.

For the giftee who strives to stay as healthy as possible, Living with a Green Heart by Gay Browne may be the right gift to give. It’s about getting rid of toxins in your house and in your body, not just inside and outside but also outside the door. And if that giftee is Of A Certain Age, add Eightysomethings by Katharine Esty, PhD to that gift package. Neither of you will be sorry you did.

ANIMALS AND PETS

There are actually three kinds of people who will love seeing No Beast So Fierce by Dane Huckelbridge under the tree: animal lovers, for sure, will want to read this book about deadly tigers. Conservationists will be eager to see what the author says. And adventure lovers will thrill at the danger inside this book. Lucky are those three people with this book. Lucky you, if they’re one in the same giftee.

No dog lover is going to want to miss Unleashing Your Dog by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce. It’s about how your giftee can learn more about their dog by learning about the dog’s senses and how to make Doggo as happy as possible through those senses. Wrap it up with Smoky the Brave by Damien Lewis, the true story of a tiny Yorkie dog and his role in World War II.

That cat lover on your list will yowl with joy when Tiny but Mighty by Hannah Shaw is unwrapped. Filled with the cutest of kitten pictures, this book is a delight right there. Add plenty of information and tips on saving orphans, and you’ve got a book absolutely meant to give this holiday.

The lover of wildlife and the feeder of birds will squawk when they open Saving Jemima by Julie Zuckefoose. It’s the story of a blue jay and the woman who helped raise her, who kept the bird alive, and who loved a feathered friend. For more wild book lovers, try The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand, and let your giftee see what the fox says. (Hint, this makes a great stocking-stuffer).

HISTORY

The historian who’s likewise fascinated with architecture will probably never get a book they’ll love more than Cities: The First 6,000 Years by Monica L. Smith. This book takes your reader on a down-the-road trip into cities and villages, above them and below them. Hint: giftees who travel will enjoy it, too.

The person who longs for a gentler time when women dressed for dinner will love What Would Mrs. Astor Do? by Cecelia Tichi. It’s a book about manners and social expectations in the Gilded Age, and how people were supposed to behave. It’s also about the woman who set the tone for it all, the lovely and suffers-no-fools-gladly Caroline Astor. Wrap it up with Women Warriors: An Unexpected History by Pamela D. Toler. Mrs. Astor would approve.

Dad or Grandpa is always hard to buy for, right? Wrong: there’s The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942 by William K. Klingaman and it’s available now. This book reminds readers about how we “pulled together and won” during World War II, and he’ll love it. Don’t discount Mom or Grandma; it’s a book she’ll enjoy, too. Wrap it up with No Surrender by Chris Edmonds and Douglas Century. It’s a story of Edmonds’ father, his brave actions during World War II, and how he impacted many people for many generations.

Anyone who’s fascinated with military history from World War I through Vietnam will want to add The Girls Next Door by Kara Dixon Vuic to their bookshelf. This tale of a little-known bit of history explains why “respectable young women” and Hollywood starlets volunteered to go overseas so that men at war could enjoy recreation and a bit of home in a foreign country. For more military history to make your history buff smile, look for Sacred Duty by Tom Cotton, a peek inside the workings of Arlington National Cemetery.

Here’s a unique gift for the railroad buff or historian: Ghosts of Gold Mountain by Gordon H. Chang. It’s the true account of the Chinese immigrants who were hired to build the transcontinental railroad. Part personal (Chang introduces readers to some of the men, specifically) and part danger-adventure, it’s a story you’ll love reading.

For the person who grew up during the 1950s, A Good American Family by David Maraniss will be a great gift to unwrap. It’s the story of the “Red Scare” of the 1950s, how one family was unfairly caught up in it, and how they got through it all.

AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES

For the thinker on your gift list, We Can’t Breathe by Jabari Asim might be the perfect thing to give. In essays that provoke thought and invite discussion, Asim tackles Black culture, Black families, the necessity of Black writers, and how Black America has its own narrative to claim from history. Wrap it up with this book for the poetry lover, My Eternity in Time by Carol Coles. It’s filled with verse on love, life, and death, and it offers plenty of food for thought.

The reader who works to understand racial issues will wish for When I Was White by Sarah Valentine beneath the tree this year. It’s the true story of a little white girl who grows up to be a woman who learns that her father was a black man. Complicated, yes. Fascinating? That, too. Also look for Self-Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams, the story of an entire family’s reckoning with race. And Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan, a story of a bi-racial woman who embraces both her Native American and her African American roots.

The teenager on your list who loves history will love Emancipated: My Family’s Fight for Freedom by Cheryl Wills. It’s the personal story of Wills’ father, and her great-great-great grandfather, who was a Tennessee slave who fought in the Civil War. Included is information so your young giftee can start his or her own family tree. Wrap it up with I Missed the Bus, But I Arrived on Time by Willis S. Drake, a memoir by a Renaissance man and his dreams of doing it all.

LGBTQ INTEREST

For the person who loves someone who doesn’t identify strictly as male-female will appreciate unwrapping She He They Me by Robyn Ryle this year. It’s a book that acts a bit like those old “choose-your-own-adventure” as it examines and explains gender, its definitions, and the way it’s been perceived historically. Hint: this is fun, and it’s also a book for someone who’s questioning.

If your giftee is exploring the ideas and limits of gender, you can’t go wrong by wrapping up Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane. This is a book filled with tales of those who’ve examined (or are examining) questions of gender, sexuality, age, and race.

For the child with two mommies or two daddies, and for the kids in that child’s preschool session, The GayBCs by M.L. Webb will make a great class gift. It’s the A-B-Cs, but with terms familiar to the LGBTQ community and their families, so it’s for them, too. Or it might make a great gift for the adult who still possesses the wonder of a child. Or for an adult, just because.

For the newlywed (or the about-to-be-wed), The Gay Marriage Generation by Peter Hart-Brinson is the book to give. It takes a look at how same-sex marriage became law across the country, and how it changed the way America looks at gay men and lesbians. The gay giftee might also like Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odets in that same wrapped gift.

The person on your list who enjoys reading short stories will love Every True Pleasure: LGBTQ Tales of North Carolina edited by Wilton Barnhardt. It’s absolutely filled with tales from the South and from the heart.

For the parent of someone who’s come out this year, consider giving Embracing the Journey by Greg and Lynn McDonald, with Beth Jusino, foreword by Greg McDonald Jr. It’s a guide, really, for Christian parents who learn that their child is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and how it fits with your spiritual beliefs.

The movie buff on your list will love reading Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films by Arthur Dong. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Chinese and Chinese American actors from the first films shot in Chinatown, to modern times and contemporary film professionals. How can you go wrong?

For the giftee who is searching for new meaning in life, wrap up My Buddha is Pink: Buddhism for the Modern Homosexual by Richard Harrold. It’s a book of essays being a gay Buddhist and reconciling old beliefs with a new way of mindfulness and fulfillment in a new lifestyle.

TRUE CRIME

If your giftee is a big fan of true crime, then The Lazarus Files by Matthew McGough will be a welcome gift. It’s the story of a cold case that’s solved in a new way that leaves a new shock: the killer is someone the detectives, in this case, know all too well.

SPORTS

The sports fan is going to love The Strenuous Life by Ryan Swanson. It’s the story of Teddy Roosevelt, arguably America’s most fit President, and how his influence (almost obsession) made Americans want to be fit and healthy, too, which launched a country-wide love of sports.

MIDWESTERN INTEREST

For the lover of the land who’s hard to buy for, here’s what you give: The Land Still Lives by Jerry Apps, in the 50th-anniversary edition. It’s the same story but packaged nicely in an heirloom-quality cover that’s perfect to pass onto future generations. Wrap it up with Ridge Stories by Gary Jones, a book about growing up in the Driftless Area of Southwestern Wisconsin back in the day.

The beer aficionado and the Beer Crafter will be overjoyed to open The Drink That Made Wisconsin Famous by Doug Hoverson. This gigantic, heavy book takes a look at the history of beer, starting more than a century ago. But foamy drinks are not the focus; your giftee will also learn about advertising, working in a brewery, beer and World War II and more. Wrap it up with a new bottle opener for a gift your beer drinker will love for a long, long time.

The giftee who embraces his or her ethnicity with pride will love unwrapping Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo. It’s a book about a Swedish immigrant family in 1897, their struggles to become American, the move to the Midwest, and their new life in Minnesota.

CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS

If you’re looking to get a family gift that little kids will love, too, help your giftees start a tradition with The Magic Christmas Ornament by James Barbato and Victoria Barbato. It’s the story of a story: the Christmas that Victoria was 7-years old, her father told her and her brothers about an ornament that had hung on their Christmas tree for years. It was a magic ornament, he said, and wonderful things happened when you looked into the picture on its side. This is a great gift to read aloud to kids who still believe in magic; for older kids, it’ll be a comforting holiday tradition. Bonus: this book comes with a beautiful heirloom-quality ornament in a nice gift-worthy box.

The child who’s just becoming familiar with the A-B-Cs will love Can U Save the Day? by Shannon Stocker, illustrated by Tom Disbury. It’s a funny story about disappearing letters, and it absolutely begs to be read aloud! Another LOL: Grown-ups Never Do That by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, a book about the really dumb things grown-ups say they aren’t guilty of doing…. but they do!

The child who is fascinated by sheep will love Lambslide by Ann Patchett, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. It’s a book about farm animals that love to play, and a very funny misunderstanding. For another playful book to give, look for One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler, a story of a purple hippo who loses her footwear.

Young car enthusiasts will love unwrapping What Kind of Car Does a T. Tex Drive by Mark Lee and Brian Biggs. It’s the story of a used car lot and one gigantic customer who needs new wheels. Wrap it up with Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett, a picture book about a boy’s unusual pet.

For the little one who loves to eat, look for Holy Squawkamole! retold by Susan wood, illustrated by Laure Gonzalez. It’s a tale of spicy food with a surprise at the end.

“Where do babies come from?” is a question that can come up at any time, so be prepared by wrapping up How Did I Get Here? by Philip Bunting. It’s a super-cute (but very thorough) book on the universe, evolution, pregnancy, and your little giftee.

The kindest child on your list will love it if you also read aloud Get Up, Stand Up adapted by Cedella Marley and based on a Bob Marley song, illustrated by John Jay Cabuay. For the little reader with a good heart, it’s the perfect present. Wrap it up with One Big Heart by Linsey Davis with Beverly Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming, another book about differences and kindness.

Very small children will enjoy the wordplay in Alpha’s Adventure at Fun Times Speedway by Gina Gadsen. It’s an alphabet book that involves words, meanings, and…. dogs: enough said.

CHILDREN’S MIDDLE-GRADE

If you’ve got a kid on your gift list who’s wrestling with issues of sexuality, consider Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker. It’s the story of a young girl who used to live as a boy but decides to live as the girl she knows she is. But will the other kids at her new school ever accept her as she really is?

The child who devours superhero movies and comic books will love Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee. It’s a book based on the Marvel universe, which is exactly what today’s kids ages 10 and up love. Wrap it up with The Fowl Twins by Ioin Colfer, for a gift that’ll gain you a hug.

For kids who love funny stories with a bit of scare inside, look for The Curse of the Werepenguin by Allan Woodrow. It’s the tale of an orphan who’s looking for his birth family and he has to go through dark towns and past nefarious bandits and through all kinds of challenges. One of them is an evil, fierce, cackling herd of (gulp!) penguins. Pair it up with Fabio: The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective by Laura James, illustrated by Emily Fox, for a perfect young mystery-lover’s gift.

For the next cook in the family, The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen is a book they’ll eat up. Filled with child-friendly recipes that may or may not require an adult’s help, this book will be just the thing, if you want to pass off Christmas dinner in the future. Wrap it up with The Silver Spoon for Children, a book of Italian recipes, now in its 10th-anniversary edition.

The budding gardener will love reading Plantology by Michael Elsohn Ross. It’s a book filled with information on plants, both the household and the garden type, along with information your child can use and 30 experiments he or she can do. Wrap it up with a couple of seed packets and a pair of gloves and see what grows! Wrap it up with another fun activity book: Junk Drawer Algebra by Bobby Mercer, a book that teaches your young giftee algebra in a fun, non-stuffy way.

Kids of this age love animals, and Little Kids First Big Book of Pets by Catherine D. Hughes will be the just-right gift. It’s filled with tips, fun-to-know facts, and fun to have with a furry or feathered friend. Wrap it up with Animal Showdown, Round 2 by Stephanie Warren Drimmer, a book that answers the question: which wild animal wins a competition?

Miep and the Most Famous Diary by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Jordi Solano may look like a picture book but its narrative is perfect for any child who can sit still for a longer tale. It’s the story of Miep Gies, but it’s also about Anne Frank because Gies was the woman who ensured that Frank’s book was available to the world forever. For kids who are old enough for the story, this book is a great introduction.

Another book that is perfect for budding World War II buffs is Survivors of the Holocaust, edited by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Whittingham. Told in graphic-novel form, this is the tale of six children who lived through that horrifying time.

Any late-grade-schooler or early middle-schooler who needs a good read will love unwrapping Awesome Achievers in Science by Alan Katz, illustrated by Chris Judge. Your child will read about a few of the many people who contributed to medicine, astrophysics, inventions, and more. For an even better gift, look for Awesome Achievers in Technology by the same author and illustrator.

The kid who loves weirdness and oddities will love seeing Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne beneath the tree. It’s a book of icky, sticky, nastiness and equally awful history. What’s not to love, right? Wrap them up with some new Mad Lib books. Yes, the Mad Libs you loved are still around and they’re perfect for kids who love language, too.

The kid who says he doesn’t read but that loves everything prehistoric will actually like Everything Awesome about Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! by Mike Lowery. All the things he wants to know about dinos is in this book, told in a wild, fun-to-read graphic novel format, accompanied by jokes and silly stuff. For a bigger, better gift, add 1,000 Facts about Ancient Egypt by Nancy Honovich to the package. Your young historian will love them both.

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

For the “good student” who breaks out now and then, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert might make a great gift. It’s a novel of Birdie, a girl who works hard to make her parents proud of her, even though it means giving up all the things she loves to do. But then old family secrets, a long-estranged aunt, and a new love change everything.

The young adult who has a whole passel of close friends will enjoy reading The Echo Park Castaways by M.G. Hennessey. It’s the story of three teens who are in the foster system and when a fourth joins them, life takes a big, daring turn. Another book to wrap up is a book that questions what “friendship” is: I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. It’s a book about two very different teens who must rely on one another to survive.

Who doesn’t love a good scare? If your giftee sure does, then Dead Voices by Katherine Arden is the thing to wrap. It’s about a snowy day that turns into a very snowy night, a sinister skiing lodge, and three friends who keep seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. Or are they?

For the teen reader who loves all things pirate, or who loves reading about strong women, A Pirate’s Life for She by Laura Sook Duncombe might be the book to give. It’s arrrgh look at women behind at the helm of pirate ships, Matey, and the arrrrrrful things they did.

And now the homework:

Books change, release dates change, things get canceled, none of this is brain surgery or set in concrete. If you have any questions, need more ideas, or need help finding things, be sure to ask your local booksellers. They’re the ones wearing invisible Super Hero logos because they know things and they know how to make your giftee smile.

Seriously, they’re just that good.

Season’s Readings!

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Terri Schlichenmeyer

Terri Schlichenmeyer, Book Review Columnist, has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She has worked with more than 200 newspapers and nearly 50 magazines scattered in 46 states, the Virgin Islands and six provinces of Canada. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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