Literary Gift Guide 2017

Most of the people in my life are notoriously hard to shop for, so I love the satisfaction of buying the perfect gift for someone. I know a lot of people see Christmas shopping as a chore, but I see it more as a month-long puzzle I can solve. LiteraryGiftGuide17.001

For that reason, I think that books make a wonderful gift. Not in an "I saw this on the best-seller list so I picked it up" way, but instead in a "this message resonated with me and I want to share it with you" way. Someone's personal interests, time commitment, and reading history all have to come together for the book to be perfect, and if done right it's a beautiful thing!

For those of you who have been following along on the blog, you've likely seen some of these titles in my Sunday posts as well! These books are some of my favorites, so I hope if you choose to follow my advice that they make one of your loved ones very happy.

For the TV fan:

  • The Magnolia Story — If you're shopping a Fixer Upper fan, I cannot recommend this enough! It's wholesome (i.e. something you could give to grandma) and provides a genuine, in-depth look at how Chip and Joanna grew their relationship and career.
  • Talking as Fast as I Can — Gilmore Girls was an integral part of my young life, as it was for many people who grew up alongside Rory. If you know someone who might want to feel as though Loralie Gilmore was talking to them, this would make a wonderful present.
  • The Handmaid's Tale — I haven't seen the Hulu series of this yet, but I would highly recommend this book either way. I had a hard time putting it down because the story is so well-woven so for a fan of the show it would be perfect, even if they aren't typically a reader.


For the history buff:

  • The Invention of Wings — This book alternates between the perspective of a young girl and the slave she receives as a gift. Based on a real, South Carolina woman who did volumes to assist in abolishing slavery, this sheds light on a very impactful period of southern history.
  • The Nightingale — Based on a real-life hero who assisted fallen Allied soldiers out of Nazi-occupied France in World War 2, this book is both her story and a gripping look at day-to-day life in a wartorn country. Whether an enthusiast of France, WWII, or just interested in learning more about a different topic, this would be enjoyable for many types of people.
  • Devil in the White City — Not for the faint of heart, this follows the rise of serial killer H.H. Holmes, most famous for his murderous hotel, and the construction and execution of Chicago's 1893 World's Fair. This is a historically accurate depiction of the events, but the author did a great job of making it read as a novel so it doesn't feel dull.


For the gal pals:

  • You Are a Badass — I've read a lot of self-help books, and this one has been the most helpful by far. There's also a few offshoots by the same author which I've heard are enjoyable. If you know someone who needs a bit of inspiration without the cheesy self-help exercises, this is a good place to start.
  • #Girlboss — A lot of people I know weren't thrilled about this Netflix series due to the unlikability of the main character — the most refreshing thing about this book is that it's written from the perspective of that same character and she totally owns how unlikable she once was. Even for someone who didn't like the show, I'd recommend giving the book a try.
  • Leave Your Mark — For the 20-something girl trying to build her career and focus her energy, Leave Your Mark would be my number one pick. The author is a PR powerhouse which is what makes this book so fun to read, and it's also packed with a ton of useful advice in both the personal and professional realms.


For the nonfiction fan:

  • Hillbilly Elegy — Being from the south, there are a number of towns that aren't towns at all — just unincorporated communities that you won't find on the map. This non-fiction novel gives an in-depth look at exactly that type of town and examines why so many people with aspirations are unable to fight their way out.
  • A Walk in the Woods — Whether shopping for a nature buff or not, Bill Bryson makes this such an interesting story that it's easy to forget it's technically a book about one of the most difficult hikes in the US. Instead, it's just interesting to go along for the journey.
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath — Definitely a niche but I wouldn't dare leave it out. A 20th-century American poet, Plath was raised in a society where women weren't writers (or anything but wives and mothers). Sylvia was known to grapple with mental illness and conflicting views about who she was and who she should be. Her journals give insight into that conflict, so if someone on your list is a fan of her or just of literature in general, I would recommend this one.