Giving books as gifts can let the reader learn something about themselves—and about you.
One thing I love almost as much as reading (and rereading) the perfect book is gifting the right tome to just the right recipient. I keep a notebook in my purse all year long for jotting down book gift ideas as I hear good things.
When the holiday season rolls around, I consult my notes—Weird Parenting Wins for Jenn, The Overstory for Wayne, Brain on Fire for April, Educated for Neesy. I take a deep breath and place my biggest book order of the year, mentally crossing my fingers in hopes that each recipient will love the book that brought them to mind. Here are some ideas for finding the perfect book to give each person on your list.
Do Some Sleuthing
Scrutinize your friends’ bookshelves. Notice what they like to read then search for something new in that genre. Consider topics that pop up in their conversations and see what’s being written on them.
What book last sent them over the moon? What movie did they watch multiple times? That tells you what genre or tone or style they enjoy. My sister, Gail, loves gritty true-life stories, so I’m getting her JELL-O Girls, about the not-so-sweet lives of the Rowbottom family, heir to the JELL-O fortune.
Consult Someone with Similar Interests
Is your favorite uncle a World War II buff or a science nerd? Ask someone who reads about those same topics what they’ve read and loved this year. My friend Ron and my brother Duff are both NASA nerds. For Duff’s Christmas book this year, Ron recommended Hidden Figures, about the women who calculated by hand the complex equations that allowed our astronauts to walk on the moon in a pre-computer era.
Make Friends with your Indie Book Seller
If there’s anybody who’s excited—and I mean really excited—about books, it’s the owner of your local independent bookstore. Tell them who you’re shopping for and where their interests lie. My walking partner loves romance novels—I don’t. The bookstore owner recommended a beautifully illustrated copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s that Kathy will love.
Explain Your Choice
It’s always nice to include a note telling the recipient why this book reminded them of you. Write it on a pretty bookmark or inside a card and insert it inside the book. If it’s a book you’ve read and enjoyed, consider placing sticky notes throughout the pages for them to find when they read your favorite segments.