Help! What Should I Give to the Hard-to-Buy-For Person?? (part one)

Every year, your gift list gets longer.

Some of the newbies on your list are also new to the family. Some are friends to whom you’ve grown close. There’s that neighbor who’s so awesome, the new supervisor at work, an uncle who’s visiting this year, your child’s new teacher, and a Secret Santa program you’ve joined. And usually, you’re able to keep up with your list and know exactly what to give… but then there’s that one person who’s so hard to shop for.

Why not give a book?  Books never run out of batteries, they don’t have to be turned off before bedtime, and they’re totally calorie-free. Take a look at these suggestions…


If historical fiction is of great interest to someone on your gift list, then look for “Desert God” by Wilbur Smith. This novel, set in ancient Egypt, includes a hero who is very close to the Pharaoh… almost too close. Magic, love, war – what else could your giftee want?

The Neil Gaiman fan on your list is in luck this year: first, “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains,” illustrated by Eddie Campbell is a novel with aspects of graphic novels and the flair that Gaiman fans relish. And your giftee will know that this years’ best gift came from you when you wrap it up with “The Art of Neil Gaiman” by Hayley Campbell, foreword by Audrey Niffenegger, a book filled with notes, artwork, poetry, reflections, and more from The Master.

Western lovers will love reading “The Ploughmen” by Kim Zupan, a story of a green lawman and the older jailed killer he’s tasked with watching. Set in the Old West, this book is laced with a tautness that modern readers will love. Wrap it up with “Painted Horses” by Malcolm Brooks, a novel with a modern setting and a romantic spin.

For the suspense fan who loves a little ghost story, too, how about “Haunted” by Randy Wayne White?  This suspense novel features White’s newest character, Hannah Smith, who is tasked with saving a supposedly-haunted house. But is the rumor of a ghost worse than the reality of a murderous flesh-and-blood human? Wrap it up with “Remains of Innocence” by J.A. Jance, a suspenseful novel about a dying woman and her money, a dead man and a scandal, and the sheriff who must solve both terrible cases.

The thriller fan on your list will love “Mercy 6” by David Bajo, a novel about a mystery disease that’s killing people in a California hospital – or is it? Are the patients dying of illness or something else?  Grab this one, and toss “Bones Never Lie” by Kathy Reichs, in the bag, too. It’s a novel of suspense featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

If you’ve got someone on your gift list who’s itching to start all over, preferably as someone else, then “How to Build a Girl” by Caitlin Moran could be the just-right gift. This sassy novel is about a teenager who tries to reinvent herself but, of course, things like that don’t always work so well…

You may have a visitor to Mitford on your gift list this year, and there’s no doubt that she misses her favorite town and her favorite pastor – so “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good” by Jan Karon is a sure-fire gift. In this book, Father Tim returns to Mitford with his wife and family after a five-year absence, only to find that some things change – and not just a little.

For the reader who loves faction (fact + fiction), you’ll want to find “The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters” by Michelle Lovric. Based on a real family of sisters who grew their hair long (LONG!!) and performed in public, this book imagines their relationships with one another, the jealousy, and the scandal.

For the parent on your list – particularly for the parent of a picky toddler – wrap up “You Have to F*cking Eat” by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Owen Brozman. It’s the follow-up to the sleep book from a few years ago, the one that made parents hysterical with laughter. Be aware – I can’t stress this enough – that this book has profanity, so it’s NOT for kids but it IS for folks with a great sense of humor.

to be continued next Wednesday….

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of PBG Lifestyle Magazine.

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