Okay, I’ll admit it. You knew this one was coming. It’s okay. I am perfectly okay with being predictable.
I know not everyone loves to read like I do. But the wonderful thing about books is that there is such a huge range of things you can do with them. You can buy coffee table books, like decorating books, books about horses, or travel books for people who like to look at pictures. You can buy how-to books for the handy people among your gift recipients. Novels are great for the well-read, and funny trivia books are perfect for the bathroom. Even my dad, who has barely read anything as long as I’ve known him, has read Heaven is for Real over and over.
For me, buying books and book-gadgets like e-readers is even more fun because I can use them to support my favorite authors. I’m lucky to know personally a host of wonderful writers, who have published works both in print and as electronic versions. My friend HD Bailey has just released Disenchanted in the Kindle and Nook stores, and it’s also available on Smashwords. I reviewed it on Amazon as a classic fantasy with a twist. The world has been plunged into chaos when science and technology everywhere begin failing. Frank Bell, an average guy who’s often down on his luck, finds himself in the awkward position of confronting the reason for that: magic is returning to the world. It’s a fun read, and a bargain at only $1.99. Couple that with Raven’s Heart, and you’ve got two great fantasy novels for a little more than the price of a venti latte at Starbucks.
Not a fantasy fan? No problem – there are lots of independent authors who write just about everything, and you can get their books very inexpensively too. I don’t know her personally, but Gemma Halliday is one of my favorites. She writes light mystery for teens and adults. She’s both independently published and traditionally published, and all her books are great. It’s disappointing that her independent titles aren’t available at the library, but I love to support her work, buying her titles both for myself and giving them as gifts.
A few more of my gift-giving recommendations: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is easily my favorite book of this year, and it makes a wonderful gift for anyone even remotely nerdy in your life. (That could be yourself. Giving ourselves gifts can help spread holiday cheer too!) I loved the audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton. It’s about Wade Watts, a student who finds himself thrust into fame and fortune when he solves the first mystery in a puzzle left behind by an eccentric game developer. The book is filled with 1980s trivia and obscure references to nerdy pop culture. I also recommend The Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha, who blogs at 1000 Awesome Things. It’s full of the best holiday moments, like smelling freshly baking bread or putting your grandma in a Santa hat.
What books do you plan to give this year?