Thinking beyond our two front teeth

For enduring satisfaction (on both sides), few gift options match the perfect book.  However, after recently purchasing for this holiday season, I know how difficult it can be to find the right choice among thousands of offerings. 


So, I asked library co-workers for ideas, suggesting that they confide what they’ll be giving–or perhaps drop a hint about something they’d love to receive.   These staff-approved selections may help you focus:



  • For those who’d appreciate an amusingly different take on Christmas: The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon

  • For movie fans who, even if they love Internet Movie Database, would still find a print reference handy: Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide

  • For biography aficionados, these titles have been mentioned by patrons: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow and Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

  • For cat lovers and the “I Can Has Cheezburger?” /LOL Cat crowd, there’s The Itteh Bitteh Book of Kittehs

  • Not sure whether this suggestion was a gift wish or an inspired selection for lucky recipient, but it’s a winner: Marilyn Monroe: Fragments

  • For children, these perennial favorites offer “fun, a great life message, and great readability over many years”: Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  • For “classy girl power”, try this modern classic by a multiple Newbery winner: The King’s Equal by Katherine Paterson

  • Potentially for both adults and children–actually anyone who’s grateful for a low-tech respite from the digital world and e-anything: It’s a Book by Lane Smith

  • For admirers of David McCullough, history buffs, and those who cherish a bit of nostalgia during the holidays: In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1941 Christmas Eve Story (comes with DVD of McCullough’s 2009 performance at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert)

  • For “parents, parents-to-be, those who work in education, mentors, therapists, and anyone else interested in what it means to be a relational mammal living in a human body”:  A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon

  • For readers with full bookshelves who prefer a more practical way to reflect their interests: calendars, e.g. Audubon Society‘s beautiful publications

And what are staffers wishing for?  In one case, the “what I would really like” item is not of the print realm; it’s “a Kindle or a Nook”.  I am no doubt expected to want a Dewey the library cat book, but I’m not a cat person and I work in a library, for heaven’s sake.  Mad Men: The Illustrated World would be my preference


Finally, one co-worker offered this long-shot wish, commenting that “I would positively freak out if someone ever gave me this as a gift”:  J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard Collector’s Edition.   Are you listening, Santa?

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