It's holiday shopping season again, and that means it’s time for the annual Books Are Great Gifts column. Books are never the wrong size or color, and they give many hours of enjoyment and enlightenment to the recipients.
There are a lot of great nonfiction choices this season. For the memoir connoisseur, Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a hot seller already and an Oprah’s Book Club pick. Everyone is talking about this one.
And for those on the other side of the political spectrum, Bob Spitz’s comprehensive biography of Ronald Reagan, Reagan —An American Journey, has also garnered great praise.
If your father-in-law watches CBNC every morning, John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood — Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, about the meteoric rise and fall of Theranos, is the perfect gift. It has been compared to Woodward and Bernstein’s All The President’s Men.
For the science enthusiast on your list, astronaut Scott Kelly has a stunning coffee table book, Infinite Wonder, consisting of the photos he took of earth from the year he spent on the International Space Station.
For your aunt who watches the Food Network while she makes dinner, The Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has a new cookbook, Cook Like A Pro. Add some of your favorite kitchen tools, and you’ve got a great gift. (And maybe she will treat you to a dish made from the book.)
There’s plenty for fiction fans on your list as well. Elizabeth Berg’s lovely Night of Miracles continues the story she started in The Story of Arthur Truluv. It’s a sweet, charming book about the residents of a small Missouri town and it warms the heart.
For romance lovers, Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date and The Proposal would make a great double-feature gift. Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient, about a woman with Aspergers who hires an escort to teach her about romantic relationships, has also gotten rave reviews.
If you have any mystery/thriller readers on your list, Irish author Tana French takes a break from her brilliant Dublin Murder Squad series with her new mystery about a body found buried under a tree in The Witch Elm.
Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke team up again for the fifth book in their superb Under Suspicion series about a TV producer of a cold case television show in You Don't Own Me.
For lovers of the Broadway musical Wicked, there are two terrific books that re-imagine fairy tales. You get a different view of Cinderella’s evil stepmother in Danielle Teller’s All the Ever Afters, and Rumplestiltskin’s story is told anew in Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver.
Books are wonderful gifts to give to children and you can’t go wrong with a picture book for the little ones. Take them to see the new Mary Poppins movie, and pair that with a copy of Mary Poppins (picture book) by Dr. P.L. Travers and Genevieve Godbout.
If they prefer animal stories, Jonathan Litton and Thomas Elliott's board book Baby 101 —Zoology for Babies is adorable and informative.
There are so many fantastic books for middle readers (ages 8-12) these days. Karina Yan Glaser’s heartwarming story The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden continues her delightful series about a family living in New York City.
Carl Hiaasen’s hilarious Squirm will tickle children’s funny bones, and Variance Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance tells the story of a young girl who finds a letter in the attic about her grandmother that sends her on a mission of discovery.