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 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 Essays, George 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.
- The Happiness Project -- great for someone who wants practical, concrete suggestions about how to make life happier
- The Happiness Project Mini Posters: A Coloring Book -- for the person who loves to color
- The Happiness Project One-sentence Journal -- for the person who wants to keep a journal, but finds that it's just too much work and time
- The Happiness Project One-sentence Journal for Mothers -- ditto. These make great keepsakes.
- Happier at Home -- for a person who is moving, just moved, or is starting a new stage of life
- Better Than Before -- for anyone who wants to make or break important habits
- Better Than Before Journal -- for someone who likes to use a journal to help stick to a habit-change program
- The Four Tendencies -- for anyone who loves a great personality quiz or test
- Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill -- for a history lover or lover of biographies
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!
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!
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.
Dive into The Blog
More Posts For You
Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.
The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act. Our 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.