A confession: With the holidays right around the corner, I have been slacking off in my bookshop-touring duties. Work schedules and holiday parties, baking for said parties, weekends spent with family, shopping for loved ones… I just haven’t found time to find a bookshop, explore it, and then write a worthy post about it. So let’s do something a little different today.
It will come as no surprise to you when I say that I think the best present you can give to a loved one is a book. So I’ve compiled a list of books that I believe always make good gifts (it was VERY difficult to contain it to only these items). With only twelve days left until Christmas, there’s still plenty of time to get the perfect one for the readers in your life! These titles are all available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through other popular retail stores – and, of course, I recommend searching your local bookshop to find them as well!
Little Owl’s Night, by Dirya Srinivasan: This is a great board book for toddlers. There are beautiful illustrations of cute woodland creatures moving around the forest in the nighttime, and the story is cute and simple. A good bedtime book!
The World of Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne: Readers enjoyed these stories decades ago and will enjoy them for decades to come. All about friendship, love, acceptance, and a fair amount of silliness, these tales of the Hundred Acre Wood and its inhabitants are sure to appeal to a wide audience.
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White: With themes of love, friendship, life, and death, this book will always remain a classic for the young reader in your life.
Matilda, by Roald Dahl: I think this is a must for any young bookworm. Filled with vivid characters, this is a story that celebrates individuality and the love of learning/reading.
For Young Adults:
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien: Adventure, great characters, solid dialogue, amazing imagery, and timeless prose… This story has it all. Have you ever met a person who has regretted journeying to Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins?
Holes, by Louis Sachar: This was THE book to read when I was in sixth grade. It may have declined in popularity since then, but I still remember this book fondly and believe that today’s preteen readers would enjoy it as much as my generation did. Themes of fate, family, and friendship weave together to form one solid, entertaining, and memorable read.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak: Even though this is a YA book, the themes of love, friendship, loss, death, and a love of reading appeal to a much wider audience. Set in Holocaust Germany, this tale about a book-thieving girl is sure to move you with its poetic prose, poignant descriptions, and startling insights into the power of the written and spoken word. (Spoiler alert: Prepare to sob uncontrollably.)
The Top 500 Poems, edited by William Harmon: Covering poets from Chaucer to Sylvia Plath, this anthology offers readers a taste of the lyricism, form, and discipline that goes into poetry. This is the volume that fostered my own interest in the beauty of poetry, and it’s held a special place in my heart ever since my mother bought it for me when I was thirteen years old.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Because Jay and Daisy’s ill-fated love will forever remain a true and timeless classic.
Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer: The true story of Christopher McCandless, the young man who made a name for himself by trekking alone into the Alaskan wilderness, where he ultimately met his untimely death. Krakauer does a great job of exploring McCandless’s motivations for journeying into the great unknown. A good gift for history buffs, adventurers, and people inclined towards the more “bohemian” lifestyle.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin: A book that celebrates the local bookshop! This is a great, quick read filled with vivid, believable characters and convincing dialogue. One of those books that you finish too soon, wishing for more.
Different Seasons, by Stephen King: These four novellas highlight the skills that are evident in King’s longer novels – exceptional characters, stunning dialogue, and great imagery. King has the gift of making any story feel immediately familiar to a reader. This collection is no exception. Good for anyone just starting out with his work, or with readers who have followed him for decades.
And, as a bonus: The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling: Because, well… because it’s magic, plain and simple.
What books do you like to give as gifts to loved ones? Which ones have you received that meant the most to you? Add a comment in the space below and tell me all about it! And remember to subscribe to Twice Sold Tales so you can keep up with each of my posts about bookshops, reading, and the book life in general. Add your email in the space provided below to be kept up to date with each post!
And, because I can’t resist sharing some good news… One of my short stories was recently published to the Hawaii Pacific Review! I’m very excited, as this is the first time since college that my fiction has been accepted for publication. If interested, copy and paste the link below into your web browser to read the story. Thank you – and Happy Holidays from Twice Sold Tales!