Want to Give the Gift of a Book This Holiday Season? A Gift Guide for All Kinds of Readers.

Want to Give the Gift of a Book This Holiday Season? A Gift Guide for All Kinds of Readers.

It's holiday time! And that means it's time to choose gifts for the people in our lives. Which can be fun, but can also be frustrating and difficult.

One of the best gifts to give is a book. How I love books. Plus they're easy to wrap, easy to transport, and easy to re-gift if necessary.

But that leads to the question...what book?

Here are some suggestions for different categories of gift-recipients, with suggestions of books that I love.

If I'd made this list last week, or if I did it next week, I'm sure I'd come up with an entirely different list. I love so many books, it's hard to pick out a few. But this is a start.

For a new parent: Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott

For the parent of small children: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

For a person interested in spirituality: Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

For a person who loves celebrity memoirs: Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

For someone who loves to cook: Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin

For a fisherman: A River Runs Through It, Norman McLean

For a history lover: Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill

For someone who loves a great study of character: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

For a nature-lover: Into the Wild, John Krakauer

For a person who's interested in sports and leadership: The Captain Class, Sam Walker

For someone who loves fantasy: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

For someone who loves to write: A Writer's Diary, Virginia Woolf

For someone who loves science fiction: Lord of Light, Robert Zelazny

Book that changed my life: Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes (Want to read my interview with Gary Taubes? Request it here.)

Book that was made into a movie, and both are brilliant: Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

Book that I played hooky from work to stay home to read: The Stand, Stephen King (I recommend the standard, not the unabridged, version)

Book that people keep telling me to read: Bad Blood, John Carreyrou

For someone who's starting to date or looking for a job: First Impressions, Ann Demarais and Valerie White

For someone with a short attention span or who loves very short stories: Revenge of the Lawn, Richard Brautigan

For someone who loves essays: Selected EssaysGeorge Orwell

For a person interested in human nature: The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

For a person interested in film: In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch

For a person interested in friendship: Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett

For a person interested in journalism: The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm

For a person who loves a twist at the end: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene


If you're buying a book for a child or young-adult, check out my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young-Adult Literature. So many good books!

Of course, I can't resist recommending my own books.

If you're giving one of my books as a gift, and want to put in a free, personalized bookplate to make it more special, sign up here to request one. Feel free to request as many as you want (within reason). Alas, because of mailing costs, I can offer this to people in the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry about that!

If you'd like to see what I've read, follow me on Goodreads. Or look on Facebook, where every Sunday night, on #GretchenRubinReads, I post a photo of the books I've read that week.

As I write about in my book Better Than Before, I've changed my reading habits so that now, if I don't like a book, I stop reading it. So if you see a book listed in Goodreads or on Facebook, you know that I liked a book well enough to finish it.

I love to choose, give, and receive books!

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. I share ideas for being happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.