Spoiler alert: If you're someone I give gifts to for a fall birthday or for the holidays, this roundup might be a surprise ruiner! Or maybe it will whet your appetite for the beautiful books that might be coming your way? Anyway, peruse this list at your own surprise-destroying peril.
A Bossy book-buying note: If you're buying books this holiday season, please support your local independent bookstore. They need and appreciate our business now more than ever! (The book covers on this site link you to Bookshop, a site that supports the beloved indies that keep us swimming in thoughtful book recommendations and excellent customer service all year round.)
Happy early holidays!
01 One Last Song: Conversations on Life, Death, and Music by Mike Ayers
I've given this book to two of my most music-loving people for their fall birthdays this year.
In One Last Song, Mike Ayers asks various musicians which song they'd choose to be the last one they ever heard. Is reading various accounts of "to die-by" songs morbid, or is this fun? At the very least it's an intriguing peek at what makes certain songs pivotal to people who choose to make music their life's focus.
02 Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
Jane Mount is an artist and the creator of Ideal Bookshelf. Through that venture she beautifully paints books and bookshelves of books, and she creates other book-focused items perfect for gifting to a bookworm. (Ahem!)
In Bibliophile, Mount offer gorgeous illustrations of some of the world's most beautiful bookstores, illustrates "lovingly curated" stacks of books, and presents this book as a giant "love letter" to people who love books. Sold!
03 The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson can write about almost anything and make it interesting and comprehensible (as evidenced by his Short History of Nearly Everything).
In The Body, Bryson offers astonishing facts and striking stories to illustrate the miracle of the human body, its ability to heal, and the confounding and brilliant ways its complicated systems somehow generally work successfully.
This book is the perfect gift for someone who likes accessible, remarkable science factoids about the bodies we all inhabit, with some Bryson-type humor mixed in.
04 Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld
For the multiple rabid Seinfeld fans in my circle, a new Jerry Seinfeld book--his first in twenty-five years--is gifting gold.
Is This Anything? is a decade-by-decade look at Seinfeld's favorite notes from his career in stand-up comedy, featuring selected material he's saved over the years. Together, the excerpts provide a peek at his evolution since his Catch a Rising Star stand-up debut as a college student in 1975.
05 C. S. Lewis' Little Book of Wisdom: Meditations on Faith, Life, Love, and Literature
This stocking-sized paperback is full of brief, manageable nuggets of thoughts and reflections from novelist and lay theologian C. S. Lewis.
His sentiments are arranged by theme and are heavily faith-focused. If that's your giftee's cup of tea, this book offers small doses of Lewis' comfort and wisdom that can be read in multiple sittings.
06 Milk Street Fast and Slow: Instant Pot Cooking at the Speed You Need by Christopher Kimball
For years I adored Kimball's Cook's Illustrated magazine illustrations and his in-depth, extensively tested recipes and meticulous product reviews, and last year I gifted a subscription to his wonderful newest magazine, Milk Street, to myself.
Milk Street puts recipes and flavor combinations through an exhaustive testing process, so you know you can trust the recipes Kimball and his team are putting out there. And if you've run up against faulty pressure cooking recipes online like I have, knowing Kimball and friends are behind this cookbook is reassuring.
Milk Street Fast and Slow also offers the option for slow cooker directions for each recipe, in case you need to be hands off at dinnertime but can set yourself up for success earlier in the day. (And I admit that I am irrationally proud of myself when I manage to do this.)
I bought a copy for myself and one for someone else on my gift list!
What books are you gifting this holiday season?
I've got lots of e-reading giftees on my fall and holiday gifting list--and 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 (One Last Song; Bibliophile, C. S. Lewis's book) and/or books related to a specific interest of my giftee's (cooking, comedy, science).
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!