Now that all the turkey has been used up in casseroles and hot sandwiches, it’s time to turn to thoughts of holiday gift shopping. Books make great gifts because they are never the wrong size or color, and they can take the gift recipients to places they could never have imagined.
And so here is my annual Books Are Great Gifts Guide. We begin in the fiction section. For the person on your list who likes romance and football, Stephanie Evanovich’s “The Total Package” is the perfect choice. Superstar quarterback Tyson Palmer has trashed his career and is given one last chance to make a comeback. Dani Carr is beginning her career in sports journalism and is assigned to help Palmer stay on track. But of course there are secrets and romance and very sexy scenes.
For the person who listens to the “Hamilton” cast recording on repeat, Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s historical novel “America’s First Daughter,” about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Patsy, is a fascinating look at a founding father and the role of women at the time of America’s founding.
For your friend who believes that good fiction creates empathy, Jodi Picoult’s “Small Great Things” tells the story of a black nurse accused of causing the death of a white supremacist’s infant son from the perspective of the nurse, the father and the female lawyer of the nurse. It is thought-provoking literature.
For the person who likes to have the wits scared out of her, B.A. Paris’ debut novel “Behind Closed Doors” will keep her up at night finishing this story of what appears to be the perfect couple. But why is the wife never seen outside of the house without her husband at her side? It’s a creepy story.
From the non-fiction section, fans of TV’s “Seinfeld” (which would be everybody, right?) will adore Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s “Seinfeldia," which takes a deep dive into the show about nothing. What makes it most entertaining is Armstrong’s interviews with the writers of the show, who provide an interesting perspective on the iconic comedy.
For the science and math enthusiast on your list, Margo Lee Shetterly’s “Hidden Figures” tells the story of a group of black female mathematicians who worked for NASA and helped the United States win the space race with Russia. You can give this book along with two movie tickets to see the film adaption out this winter.
If Erma Bombeck (remember her?) made you laugh out loud, Laurie Notaro’s “Housebroken” is the 21st century incarnation of Bombeck. She uses inappropriate language as she hilariously describes how she is definitely not the heir apparent to Martha Stewart.
For those who do know their way around the kitchen, Ina Garten’s new cookbook “Cooking For Jeffrey” shares her recipes of her husband’s favorite dishes, along with lovely stories of their life together.
In the children’s section, preschoolers love trucks, and Hope Vestergaard and David Slonim’s “Digger Dozer Dumper” is a cute book with the story told in poetry. Add a toy truck and you’ve got a great gift.
For the elementary school set, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts follow up their “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer” picture books with “Ada Twist, Scientist.” These stories encourage young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and are fun as well.
The middle schoolers on your list will devour “The Secret Keepers” by Trenton Lee Stewart, who wrote the popular “The Mysterious Benedict Society” series of children’s mysteries. He has created an imaginary world filled with magic, humor and secrets, and this one will keep the kids busy reading at over 500 pages.
Young adults who loved Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor & Park” will appreciate Nicola Yoon’s “The Sun Is Also A Star,” which was nominated for this year’s National Book Award. Natasha is spending her last day in New York City when she meets Daniel, who is applying to attend college in Yale. They each alternate chapters telling the story of their time together.
If your young person prefers his history in graphic novel form, the winner of this year’s National Book Award for Young People's Literature is “The March Trilogy,” written by Representative John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. The three graphic novels tell the story of the Civil Rights movement as seen through the eyes of a young John Lewis.