• The Bossy Bookworm

Shhh! Nonfiction and Hobby Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays


Which books are you gifting this holiday season?

This is my third book gift list of the season (the first two were Shhh! Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Shhh! Six More Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays), and I hope the ideas here (and those to come) will help you with ideas for beautiful book gifts for anyone on your list!

For even more ideas, check out my past book gift guides on the site:


01 Storey's Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills

How do you cope with a swarm of bees? How do you properly darn a sock? How do you navigate using the stars? How do you create a butterfly garden? How do you carve a turkey?

Storey's Curious Compendium is a useful and beautifully photographed book of how-tos of all types that also feels fun to simply flip through and consider.

If you've wondered about how to make, grow, build, or cope with any of the over 200 items or situations in this book (or if your interest is purely theoretical--and you also like to look at pretty photos), Storey Publishing will walk you through practical, outlandish, and always-interesting scenarios with enough detail that you just might feel like a newly minted expert.

02 Humans by Brandon Stanton


Stanton is also the author of Humans of New York and Humans of New York: Stories, both of which I have gifted to loved ones before, and he's the creator of the immensely popular blog Humans of New York.

In Humans, Brandon Stanton turns his attention to meeting everyday people and hearing their compelling, singular stories from forty countries around the world.

As always, he presents intimate, touching, poignant, funny moments and glimpses into the shared human experience through the snapshots-of-life stories he shares.

03 Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook


In this newly updated doorstop (656 pages) of a cookbook published just this week, editors of the global magazine Saveur share over 1,100 global recipes, tips, and stories.

From cocktails and tapas to plant-based modern twists and one-pot meals; from suggested ingredients for a stocked Mexican kitchen to an exploration of tomato varieties; from how to fold an empanada to extensive holiday menu ideas--if you want to cook a variety of tested recipes and learn about food and cooking (or, even better, if someone else in your household wants to do these things while you test their creations), The New Classics Cookbook would make a great gift to request or to give.

04 The Backyard Birdwatcher's Bible by Paul Sterry, Christopher Perrins, and Sonya Patel Ellis

Where are my birdwatcher bookworms and the people who love them? This is the first of two bird-focused books on this gift list, so buckle up for some bird love!

My smart sister-in-law gave this book to the birdwatcher in my household as a birthday gift, and it's been living prominently in the family room ever since.

The Backyard Birdwatcher's Bible is great for beginner or intermediate birdwatchers, with practical tips for identifying and attracting backyard birds, information about bird behavior and the bird life cycle, and how to craft bird-friendly gardens. And the illustrations and photos included in this hefty (416 pages) book are gorgeous.

Last year I mentioned another great book for birders (which was a big hit with my own bird lovers), The Bird Way, on this gift list.

05 Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad


“MacKaye never told anyone to get off the stage. Sometimes this encouraged a rapid and irreversible descent into chaos, but usually it just meant a steady stream of stage divers and kids who just wanted a few seconds of attention while they did some silly dance for their buddies. Anarchy, it seemed, could work.”

Azerrad's book isn't new, but it is perfect for anyone on your gift list who loves punk-influenced rock from bands like Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, and more.

I mentioned the music-focused book Music Is History in an earlier book gift list this season and included One Last Song in this book gift list.

06 A Most Remarkable Creature by Jonathan Meiburg

The subtitle of Meiburg's bird-focused book is The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey.

Almost two hundred years after Darwin discovered the striking, social, crow-like falcons confined to the Falkland Islands, Jonathan Meiburg studies the rare striated caracaras, their origins, their story, their demonstrated capabilities for memory and problem-solving, and their possible future.

Part memoir, part travelogue, and part science writing, A Most Remarkable Creature is a book that feels sure to fascinate someone on your gift list. I've already bought a copy to give this holiday season.

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.