Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Books as Christmas Gifts

I've noticed several blogs in the last few days suggesting that books be given as Christmas presents this year, especially since the economy is clobbering so many bookstores and small publishers. I think, of course, that's a wonderful idea. Today I saw this press release from Books-A-Million in which several authors talk about the books they give as gifts:

-- Glenn Beck, author of The Christmas Sweater - "I'm the guy that people dread getting books from--because I give them the tough stuff. America Alone by Mark Steyn, The Forgotten Man by Amity Schlaes and The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen. Sure, they may take a couple of months to read--but when they are finally done they will have a really firm understanding about what is going on in the world--and how we can avoid repeating the mistakes of our past."

-- Paula Deen, author of Paula Deen's My First Cookbook - "I love giving Bibles, especially first Bibles to the youngsters. One of my treasured gifts that I received was for my wedding. I got it from my ex-brother-in-law, and it was a monogrammed Bible."

-- John Grogan, author of Marley and Me - "Any book that touches my heart dearly. There's great joy in sharing a great book, and the price tag is irrelevant. My short list would include Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, and Alan Gurganus' Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All."

-- Nicholas Sparks, author of The Lucky One - "Well-written novels. Harder than it sounds to find them. In the course of reading 120 books a year, I might come across three or four that blow me away. Those are the ones I usually give as gifts."
Intrestingly (to me) all three of the books mentioned by John Grogan are ones that I still consider to be among my all-time favorites. I've taken a quick look at the list of books I've read in 2008 and these are the ones I am most likely to give as Christmas presents:
Finding Nouf - Zoe Ferraris

Sing Me Back Home - Dana Jennings

Atonement - Ian McEwan

Resistance - Owen Sheers

This Republic of Suffering - Drew Gilpin Faust

River of No Return - Jeffrey Buckner Ford

Collected Stories and Other Writings - Katherine Anne Porter

In Memory of Central Park: 1853-2022 - Queenette Minel

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff
I posted this list in no particular order and I suspect that most of these books, if not all of them, will be on my "Top 10 Favorite Reads of 2008" when I pull something together in a few weeks.

Which books do you plan to give (at least in theory) as Christmas gifts?


  1. I am giving my husband Bill O'Reilly's new book, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity".

    Agree with his politics or not, I think O'Reilly is so smart and he really does care about right and wrong (and righting wrongs!).

    Sadly, the only independent bookstore within 35 miles of my house is closing this week. The owner has been financially devastated in the last three months. I feel so badly for her.

  2. I think Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shephard is one I would give or possibly The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

    Interestingly enough, I would love to receive The Forgotten Man which Glenn Beck chose. I had it checked out from the library and couldn't get to it in time.

    Seems it's in high demand right now. ;)

  3. For my oldest daughter I purchased a 100th Anniversary edition of Anne of Green Gables (typos and all). She's 23 and reads the Anne series every year in the spring. Next daughter is getting "The Giving Tree" and "The Mitten" to add to her soon-to-be classroom for special needs kids. Son-in-law heading to Iraq is getting Wouk's "Winds of War" and "War & Remembrance." I am hoping for great books in return!

  4. Interesting choices, y'all. I like the way that Christmas book choices are generally so personal and carefully chosen.