• The Bossy Bookworm

Shhh! Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays


Which books are you gifting this holiday season?

I already offer many of my fiction and nonfiction book recommendations through this blog. But I love love love to give books as gifts, so they tend to be books that can be read in short bursts and/or books related to a specific interest of my giftee's (cooking, comedy, music, or science, for example).

I hope the ideas here (and those in the lists to come) will help you with ideas for beautiful book gifts for anyone on your list!

Fun fact: These all look so appealing as I preview them, I'd like them on my own bookshelf. Actually, I could title this list Books I'd Like to Give and Receive This Holiday Season. Ahem! ;)

For more ideas, check out my past book gift guides on the site: Shhh! Books I'm Giving As Gifts This Holiday, Shhh! More Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays, Shhh! Books I'm Giving Kids and Teens This Holiday, and Shhh! More Book Gifts for Kids and Teens.


01 The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

"It is a strange paradox, that many of the clearest, most comforting life lessons are learnt while we are at our lowest. But then we never think about food more than when we are hungry and we never think about life rafts more than when we are thrown overboard."

The Comfort Book is the newest book from Matt Haig, author of the novel How to Stop Time and the memoir Reasons to Stay Alive.

This slim book of lists, notes, stories, and facts and scientific research from around the world make up Haig's personal set of reminders to his future self about taking heart, and they serve as an uplifting collection of reassurances that are perfect for giving as a gift.

02 Time to Eat by Nadiya Hussain


Nadiya Hussain, former winner of The Great British Baking Show, hosts a Netflix cooking show, Time to Eat, and this is the companion book to that series. (She also has a newer show, Nadiya Bakes, also on Netflix.)

In Time to Eat, Hussain offers weeknight meal solutions, ways to streamline meal preparation, precise instructions, and make-ahead and freezer tips for recipes as varied as Marmalade Haddock, Chorizo Fish Stew, Raspberry Cheesecake Croissants, and Burnt Butterscotch Bananas with Ice Cream and Rice Pudding.

Hussain has written multiple other cookbooks, the memoir Finding My Voice, and a trilogy of novels in her Amir Sisters series.

03 The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green


John Green, the author of Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars, here entertainingly reviews various inventions, the natural world, and aspects of human behavior on a five-star scale, from the QWERTY keyboard to sunsets to whispering.

Inspired by his podcast of the same name, in The Anthropocene Reviewed, Green offers short snippets and thoughts about a topic, then--often absurdly--assigns a rating (sorry, Canada Geese: two stars).

Green's observations are fun, often oddball, and sometimes poignant, with short sections that are easily digested separately and in small doses.

04 Music Is History by Questlove

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is a DJ, author, member of The Roots, musical director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and director of the documentary Summer of Soul, which explores the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.

In Music Is History, Questlove examines the last half century of music, providing context in the form of snapshots-in-words glimpses of the turning events of a year or so, then exploring aspects of the musical developments of the time.

The structure here is all shaped by Questlove's impulses and perspective. For example, in the Falling Out of History section, he sets the scene for the concept of forgotten songs, and then lists various songs from different eras that he feels weren't given enough attention and recognition. The book includes an index of every song listed inside.

05 Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson


This slim, stocking-sized book from Maureen Johnson outlines the many ways to emerge from a cozy weekend quaffing pints and wandering charming country lanes with your life, in case you find yourself in the middle of an English Murder Village straight from a quaint mystery series.


Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village features Edward Gorey-type pen and ink illustrations from Jay Cooper.

06 Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature by Nathan W. Pyle


I mentioned Nathan W. Pyle's Stranger Planet (as well as Strange Planet) in one of my gift guides last year (Shhh! More Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays), and he has a new book out in time for the holiday gift-giving season this year.


Pyle draws yet again from his popular Instagram comics to point out our absurd habits, traditions, fears, and joys by viewing our lives through the lenses of cartoon alien creatures trying to make sense of us. He's spot on and so so funny.

A Bossy book-buying suggestion: If you're buying books this holiday season, please support your local independent bookstore. They need and appreciate our business now more than ever!

Clicking on the book covers beside each Bossy Bookworm blurb will link you to Bookshop, a site that supports the beloved indies that keep readers swimming in thoughtful book recommendations and excellent customer service all year round.