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?