Holiday Gift-Giving Book Recommendations [2015]

Giving a book is an incredible thing. It doesn’t have to be condescending (I read this book because I’m so well-read, so you should be more well-read too). In fact, it’s a great way to show you’re thinking deeply about someone else and care sincerely about his/her/their interests; it isn’t necessary that you’ve read the book yourself first. However, suggesting you both read it and then get together to talk about it is like a DOUBLE gift!

Also, before you read my list, read 10 Tips for Giving Book Gifts (so that you don’t make any egregious mistakes!).


For people who love social justice

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Coates’s rumination on being (and surviving as) a black man in America is required reading. For anyone interested in identity politics, this will both inspire and devastate you.
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay – One of the best books of 2014, this book of essays provides page-turning critiques of pop culture and media from one of the most forward-thinking women alive today.
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie – A small text, this is something a person could read in one sitting. It’s the transcript from Adichie’s Ted Talk , and it’s an absolutely stunning little book. Plus, I wish we could all be as cool as Sweden.

For people who love dystopia

  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – This book would be an excellent gift for the Hunger Games fan in your life. Beautiful world-building, it’s an interesting twist on Suzanne Collins’s trilogy from a few years back.
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – More fantasy than dystopia, this book explores nuanced and sophisticated story-telling regarding complex power dynamics all surrounding a really well-written love story. Like, really well-written.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This book follows the story of a girl spy-turned-slave as she fights to free her brother from the oppressive regime; she meets and falls for a high-ranking soldier for the empire who has rebellious ambitions. It’s so suspenseful that it’s borderline stressful. This is for action fans.

For people who love history

  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough – If you know someone who has read McCullough’s previous projects (namely John Adams or or 1776), I’ve heard this is an awesome one to listen to on audiobook.
  • Dead Wake by Erik Larson – I actually think all of Larson’s book in hardcover would be an awesome gift for someone you really like because he is universally acknowledged as one of the best non-fiction writers alive today. This is about the sinking of the Lusitania, which is what provoked the US to get involved in WWI.
  • Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain’s Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940 by John Kelly – I’ve heard about this book from a few different places, and it boasts a 4.41 rating on Goodreads.  A very narrow time in the WWII history, I’ve heard this is a gripping account that any history buff would enjoy.

For people who love to laugh

  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling – I think Kaling’s books are great gifts because they are endless discussion fodder for people who are close friends. I also think they are re-readable, which isn’t something I’d say about Bossypants or Yes Please.
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – A charming, earnest writer, she showcases her rags-to-riches story in a very engaging way. An honest and enjoyable read.
  • Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman – Having only skimmed this, I was impressed with the Americans he chose to include in this piece. What I did read made me laugh out loud.

I have plenty more thoughts on books I’ve read this year (especially romance, young adult, middle grade, and picture books).  Here are two more links if you’re interested in other ideas:


One thought on “Holiday Gift-Giving Book Recommendations [2015]

  1. Thanks for this list- the ones I’ve read already I really love so I’m going to check out the others! Selfish request for a non gift related refommendation, any ideas for books with pioneer/frontier type settings? I loved all of the parts of outlander where they are farming or distilling or herbal medicine making, but most romances tend to be set in rich people’s houses. Not necessarily looking for a romance, but maybe a period novel where the characters aren’t just ordering servants around? Sorry for the oddly specific request but thought I would try my luck. Thanks!

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