If you're a book evangelist, the holidays are the perfect time to sweetly force your friends and loved ones to read the books you've been recommending all year long. But if you're stumped, short on time, or out of your literary league, here's a highly biased, hastily assembled list of books that make great presents. Some of them might be familiar if you've been reading the blog but...well...that just means they've been tested for quality and approved.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Who Gets It: Your Charles Portis-loving boyfriend with cowboy fantasies. Anyone who loved screaming "I drink your milkshake!" after seeing There Will Be Blood. Deadwood fans, Cormac McCarthy fans, fans of the Western, fans of literary fiction with real soul.
The Annotated Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, edited by Maria Tatar
Who Gets It: Your college roommate who took every Children's Literature offering in the course catalog. Any girl who has ever lived with a house full of boys and called herself Wendy. Your "close friend" who sobbed through the end of Finding Neverland and may have been very embarrassed.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Who Gets It: Your anglophile girlfriend with serious winter hibernation plans. Tell her she can read the book and stream the BBC miniseries on Netflix. If you really want to earn some points, include hot chocolate and a fleece blanket.
Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis
Who Gets It: Your indie-music loving roommate who dreams of moving to the Pacific Northwest. Extra credit: include some swag from Portland-based Voodoo Doughnuts.
Zelda by Nancy Milford
Who Gets It: Your sophisticated older sister who adored Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Any Fitzgerald-obsessive, flapper-wannabe, or speakeasy-frequenter.
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Who Gets It: Your bespectacled friend who crushes on Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is still listening to the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. Don't include the She & Him Christmas album, since she/he probably has a vendetta against Zooey Deschanel.
Hark, A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton
Who Gets It: Oh please, someone get me this book. It's temporarily out-of-print, but hey, a girl can dream. I don't know anyone who doesn't love Kate Beaton's clever literary/historical web comics--in fact, most everyone in the office has one of her strips taped to their cubicle wall. This one's worth adding to the wish-list.
Here's hoping your holiday is beautiful and bright, wherever you'll be spending it. xo