If your dad is like mine his reading habits make no sense. Robert Ludlum? Tom Clancy? I don’t know much about these hacks, but I am pretty sure all dads need to read The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. It focuses on two young soldiers during and after the war in Iraq. Even if war novels aren’t his thing, this one touches on important themes of friendship and loss. Classic American war literature without the triteness of mass market thrillers. Also, it’s 500 pages thinner than The Bourne Ultimatum.
I’m a great believer in giving kids classics to read. I bought the entire Hardy Boys series at a thrift store when I was 19 for the sons I would
eventually never have. But if you have a nephew or niece or pre-teen cousin in your life, even if all they want is Minecraft stuff, you can’t go wrong with a copy of this year’s Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The protagonist, Auggie, is headed to 5th grade at a new school, and he wants to fit in like a regular kid, despite his severe facial deformity. There’s not a 11-year-old out there who won’t come away from this warm, sometimes silly, coming of age story with deeper insight and sensitivity to the individuals around them. In fact, you can buy this for anyone of any age. We could all do with some extra empathy.
I can’t even categorize this one by co-worker, aunt or your bunco group’s Secret Santa. Why? Because we all have a woman
or ten in our lives who read and loved Fifty Shades of Suck Grey and didn’t understand why that’s not #normal. For those poor souls, get The Siren by Tiffany Reisz, the first in The Original Sinners series. The author calls them erotic thrillers; they deal with alternate sexualities and serious BDSM and are simply NOT for the faint of heart. (I mean, I blush just suggesting you google it). You might’ve seen a bunch of hype around these books, but the thing is these characters are amazingly well drawn. The pacing and plot? Furious and shocking. I was completely captivated by them. They definitely aren’t for everyone, but for the girls who have no shame bringing Fifty on their morning commute or talking about spreader bars at Thanksgiving dinner (that happened) – at least give them something well written and original.
You got her to read Twilight, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, maybe even Divergent. If you really love her (and yourself) you’ve read all of Melina Marchetta and Laini Taylor’s books. So what do you get your best friend? I could recommend all kinds of books, but I’ll stick with YA and say Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. One of the hottest characters to come out in young adult fiction this year – The Darkling – pitted against the will and extraordinary powers of one girl, all set in a magical, Dostoevskian backdrop? Heck and yes. When she’s done, you can borrow it, and then you can fight over The Darkling, and bite your nails awaiting the sequel.
If you’re looking for a last minute extra gift for your guy, I’m going to give you the creepiest option possible. If he loves The Walking Dead or Supernatural or has ever read Stephen King, then pick up Breed by Chase Novak. It’s gruesome and intense in a Rosemary’s Baby/The Hills Have Eyes kind of way. I mean did that guy just pop a squirrel heart in his mouth like a cherry? Eeeekk. Yes, he did. Your guy will love it. (Just make sure he knows it’s not a “how to make babies” book)
And PS there are serious bonuses to buying books as gifts: You can avoid the mall. You can insta-gift to those who have e-readers and tablets. And you look super
condescending erudite. Merry Christmas!