Gift Ideas: Everyone Gets a Book! #TopTenTuesday

December 8, 2020

Give a Book as a Holiday Gift!

10 Categories

Book Ideas for Gift Giving (Christmas coffee cup and Christmas tree and lights image)

Background Image Source: Canva; Center Image Source:  Andreea Radu on Unsplash 

TTT That Arsy Reader Girl ChristmasI’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for a December Freebie. I decided to dedicate my Top Ten Tuesday Freebie to books you might give as GIFTS! And….ahem.. even though there are TEN categories, there are a few more than ten gift ideas! (You’ve been warned!)

pulling a shelf of library books

“When someone asks me for a book recommendation!”

My favorite gift to buy is a book! How about you?

As you plan your holiday gift giving, you might be looking for book recommendations. Check out my TEN categories and a few of my FAVORITE suggestions (and Bonus picks) below!

Some of these are fairly new releases while others are a few years older. All titles are Amazon affiliate links. Many of these books have been reviewed on the blog and my available reviews are linked.

Books Men Might Enjoy

(I’ve also read most of these!)

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9-11 by Garrett M. Graff (nonfiction, first person accounts of 9-11). My review of Only Plane here.

Bonus Picks:

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (nonfiction) by Isabel Wilkerson (and her previous book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration…narrative nonfiction).

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (NF, memoir). My review of Born a Crime here.

The River by Peter Heller (wilderness survival, thriller) My review of The River here.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.  (narrative nonfiction)

(all by Ron Chernow) Grant; Washington: A Life; or Alexander Hamilton; or Grant (narrative nonfiction biographies) My husband highly recommends these.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (social justice.) My review of Just Mercy here.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles (histfic, western, movie in theaters December, 2020) My brief review of News of the World in this post.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (sports, hockey, intense issues, competition, community, family) My brief review of Beartown in this post.

 Women Might Enjoy (heavier fiction)

(my husband has enjoyed a few of these!)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Nigeria, education, racism). My review of Girl here.

Hamnet by Maggie O-Farrel (histfic, Shakespheare). My review of Hamnet here.

Bonus Picks:

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasai (complicated family drama, mental health, adiction). My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (diversity, Iran, histfic) My review. of Stationery Shop

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (family dynamics, *on my lifetime favs list*) My review of Place For Us.

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (marriage and family, *on my lifetime favs list*) My review of Dearly Beloved.

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (histfic, diversity, South African post Apartheid, sibling relationships, found family). My review of Make God Laugh here.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (contemporary fiction, against the odds, *trigger: child abandonment) My review of Crawdads here.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (science fiction, time travel, *trigger: high risk birth, adoption) My review of Dream Daughter here.

The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (adoption) My review of Secret Daughter here.

Women’s Lighter Fiction

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons (character driven, older characters) My review of Eudora Honeysett here.

Bonus Picks:

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. (older characters, found family) My review of Arthur Truluv here.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary. (fun women’s fiction) My review of The Switch here.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry ( beach read, romance, chick lit) My review of Find Love here.

For a Bookworm

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs (romance, family themes). My review of Lost and Found here.

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (romance, friendship). My review of Printed Letter here.

Bonus Picks:

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry ( beach read, romance, chick lit) My review of Find Love here.

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Ann Bogel (nonfiction, essays on the reading life)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (some crude humor) My Goodreads review.

Memoir, Inspirational, or Spiritual

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (Holocaust survivor, PTSD). My review of The Choice here.

Bonus Picks:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (NF, memoir). My review of Born a Crime here.

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (memoir, TW: childhood cancer, death of a child) My review of Chika here.

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (memoir, North Korean defection). My review of Girl With Seven Names here.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottliebb (memoir, counseling). My review of Maybe You Should Talk here.

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl (gourmet food memoir)

Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Leaning to Say by Kelly Corrigan (humor, memoir,*trigger: cancer) My review of Tell Me More Here.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin (reflection, hospitality, Christian issues, family, social justice, memoir)

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist (Christian living, spiritual growth, women’s issues, for fans of Bread and Wine and Savor)

Historical Fiction

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (histfic, Shakespheare). My review of Hamnet here.
(Women’s Fiction Prize Award Winner 2020)

Bonus Picks:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (histfic, Kentucky, *a fav of 2019*) My review of Book Woman here.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel (histfic, WW11). My review of Lost Names here.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (histfic, WW11, romance) My review of Things We Cannot Say here.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (diversity, Iran, histfic, *a favorite of the year*) My review. of Stationery Shop

Ribbons of Scarlett by Kate Quinn et al.(histfic, French Revolution) My review of Ribbons here.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (WW1 histfic, epistolary format, *on my lifetime favs list*) My review of Last Christmas here.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (WW11, histfic, themes of survival, family, and faith, *a favorite of last year*) My review of Lucky Ones here.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (histfic, biographical, *a lifetime fav*) My review of Dear Hamilton here.

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (histfic, 9-11) My review of Marigolds here.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor (histfic, brave and independent women) My review of Lighthouse.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (histfic, magical realism, mythology, folk tales, coming of age) My review of Map here.

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton (histfic, WW11). My review of Last Train here.

Family Drama

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (multigenerational family drama, mental health, addiction). My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.

Bonus Picks:

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (marriage and family, *on my lifetime favs list*) My review of Dearly Beloved here.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (complicated family drama, mental health). My review of Ask Again here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (family drama, racism, class differences). My review of Little Fires here.

Racial Injustice

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (social justice) My review of Just Mercy here.

Bonus Picks:

Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents (NF) by Isabel Wilkerson (and her previous book, The Warmth of Other Suns…narrative NF).

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (NF, memoir). My review of Born a Crime here.

See a previous post on books with themes of racial injustice here.

For Middle Grade Readers

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (fiction, drama, homelessness) My review of Isaiah Dunn here.

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going. (fiction, aspiring writers!)

Bonus Picks:

Refugee by Alan Gratz (mature Middle Grade histfic, refugees, adults will enjoy too) My review of Refugee here. (*one of my fav MG reads*)

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (diverse, indentured servitude) My review of Amal here.

More to the Story by (diverse, Little Women retelling) My Goodreads review of More to the Story here.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (found family) My review of Louisiana here (scroll down page).

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (homelessness, imaginary friend) My review of Crenshaw here (scroll down page).

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (diversity, Viet Nam, bullying, friendship, kindness) My review of Inside Out here (scroll down page).

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (compassion, acceptance, kindness) My review of Wonder here.

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won (both) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (histfic) (these are favorites!)

Wild Robot (series) by Peter Brown (younger Middle Grade science fiction)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart 

See this post for more ideas

For Young Adult (or adult) Readers

Clap When You Land (found family) or With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (teen mother). My review of Clap here and Fire here.

Bonus Picks:

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (histfic romance, 1950s Spain) My review of Fountains here.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (racial injustice, black lives matter) My review of THUG here.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (histfic, WW11) My review of Librarian here.

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (histfic, WW11, heartfelt, memorable, free verse) My review of Paper Hearts here.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (histfic, magical realism, mythology, folk tales, coming of age) My review of Map here.

See more Middle Grade and Young Adult suggestions in this post.

I hope you have found some useful gift ideas. These are some of the books that I can personally and wholeheartedly recommend. Please share in comments if you found a gift on this list or have a recommendation or question.

A Bookish Gift for Your Book Worm!

Kindle Paperwhite



Are books on your holiday shopping list?

Did you find one idea here?

Do you have any favorite books that you like to give as gifts?

If you’re looking for a gift book in the coffee table variety or a host gift for anyone, I suggest The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy (whimsical life reflections and delightful illustrations).

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (cover) Image: pen and ink sketch of a horse, a boy, a mole, and a fox

gift stack of books

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

My Winter TBR and Best of the Year posts are coming soon!

My Fall TBR:

Fall 2020 TBR Update
(I have 2 remaining which I may hold over for Winter)

Let’s Get Social!

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. Its so hard to buy books for people, except dad gets the new John Sandford for fathers day and if there’s a second, for his birthday 😂 and mom usually gets any new King novels for gifting holidays

  2. I laughed aloud at the gif you used re book recommendations. It certainly is appropriate for me having spent my career in a library. Would you mind if I borrowed it and used it on Fictionophile?

  3. Great list! I’ve read a lot of these! I really think it can be so hard to buy books for others because everyone likes different things. I’ll be looking at this list again, thanks!

    • The fun is in the trying! The one time it’s hard for me is when I don’t read their preferred genre. I like trying to find out what they really love and then matching that to a gift. But yes, it can be challenging!

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