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Gift guide for the holiday season offers great books


Ah, the gift exchange. What to get for that hard-to-buy-for person who never likes anything? They say a book is a present that they’ll open again and again, so why not head to your local bookstore for great gifts?

Christmas does have a reason for the season, and if your gifted is exploring their beliefs, then “The Handy Christianity Answer book” by Stephen A. Werner, PhD, will be a good present. In a Q&A format, this book looks at Christianity and all aspects surrounding it.

Here’s a book for the teacher, parent, or pediatrician on your list: “Let the Children Play: Why More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive” by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle.

For the gifted 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.

If there’s a business-minded future college student on your list, give “Masters at Work,” a series of quick-to-read books that explore 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.

For the fiction reader who loves a little bit of romance with their ghost story, “The Ghost Clause” by Howard Norman is a good choice to wrap for under the tree. It’s the story of a ghost and his reflections in his marriage, a he observes the union of the new owners of his hormer home.

“The Plus One” by Sarah Arher is a novel about a robotics engineer who needs a date for a wedding. So he decides “why not just make one?”

The traveler on your list will enjoy 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, but what happens next isn’t a love story. Wrap it up with “The Dollmaker” by Nina Allan, because it is a sort of love story.

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

For the gifted 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.

Another makes-you-think novel, “The lightest Object in the Universe” by Kimi Eisele, is 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. 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 20-year-old suicide suddenly becomes of interest to a couple of big-city reporters, Sheriff Quinn Colson wonders why.

The lover of magical novels will enjoy “The Daughters of Temperance Hobbsy” 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?

For those readers who enjoy non-fiction books, “The Vagabonds” by Jeff Guinn would make a great gift idea for road trippers. It’s the story of 10 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 vacations together.

Then there’s “Two-Buck Chuck & The Marlboro Man: The New Old West” by Frank Bergon, which takes readers on a trip to meet people who hold the image of the West that used to be.

Newlyweds will love reading “The Long Accomplishment: A Memoir of Hope and Struggle in Matrimony” by Rick Moody. This is a no-holds-barred story of Moody’s second marriage, the good and the bad and the love inside it.

“The Deer Camp” by Dean Kuipers is another warts-and-all book about spending time with the people you love.

Looking for scary stories? “Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle, 2nd Edition” by Pamela K. Kenney will be a treat for that special reader. Here, full-color pictures accompany hair-raising tales of weirdness and ghosts.

If there’s a musician on your gift list, 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.

“Connecting Generations” by Hayiam Herring is a good look at the disparities between Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials hand how we can all learn to come together.

Readers who enjoy biographies, “Passionate Spirit: the Life of Alma Mahler” by Cate Haste  is 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.

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

If there’s a Hollywood watcher on your gift list, 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 and the women who got what they wanted—much to their regret.

Animal lovers will want to read “No Beast So Fierce” by Dane Huckelbridge. Both conservationist and adventure lovers will enjoy this book about deadly tigers.

No dog lover will want to miss “Unleashing Your Dog” by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce. Your gifted will learn more about their dog by learning about the dog’s senses.

“Smoky the Brave” by Damien Lewis is the true story of a tiny Yorkie dog and his role in World War II.

If you know a cat person, “Tiny but Mighty” by Hannah Shaw is filled with kitten pictures along with information and tips on saving orphaned cats.

The historian on your list who is fascinated with architecture will enjoy “Cities: the First 6,000 Years” by Monica L. Smith. This is a down-the-road trip into cities and villages.

The reader who works to understand racial issues will want to see “Self-Portrait in Black and White” by Thomas Chatterton Williams, a story of an entire family’s reckoning with race.

“Black Indian: A Memoir” by Shonda Buchanan, is a story of a bi-racial woman who embraces both her Native American and her African-American roots.

The sports fan will enjoy “This Strenuous Life” by Ryan Swanson. It’s the story of Teddy Roosevelt, arguably America’s most fit President, and how his influence made Americans want to be fit and healthy, too, and launched a country-wide love of sports.

Although the practice of reading books has declined recently, giving books can impart knowledge to the giftee, enhance their mental stimulation,  relieve their stress, improve their memory and help develop their imagination.

Make someone’s holidays even merrier and give them a book.