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Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide & Poll

Do you buy books as gifts for the Holidays?

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Do you buy books as gifts? There’s something wonderful about sharing one’s love for reading with another, particularly kids.   Here’s my last minute holiday book gift guide.   Share yours!

Pre K to 1st grade:   Nora Gaydos “Now I’m Reading” series.   I like the collection of 10 books which help your child build her phonics skills.   The books are to be read by the child and upon finishing the book, the child can place a sticker on the front.   There are forty stickers, four for each book.   The end of the book contains exercises to aid in reading comprehension such as questions about the content, rearranging sentences, and filling in the blanks.

I also love the Letter Bingo game by Gaydos.   The kit contains four tab slide Bingo cards and an Alphabet spinner.   It’s fun for adults to play with the kids.

Slightly Older Child:   The books by Grace Lin are simply wonderful.   Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a take on a fantasy story where one girl goes on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon to change her family’s fortune.   The Year of the Rat and The Year of the Dog are two semi autobiographical books about a young girl named Grace and her middle school experiences being a Chinese American.   The lessons that Grace learns about being confident in herself and being kind to others regardless of their appearance is one for kids of all races.

Teenage Girl:   Forget the Twilight books.   Not only have those girls probably already read those but there are really good stories out there that are more female positive. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and Chasing Fire as well as books by Justina Chen Headley or Sarah Dessen.

Adults:   Last Night I Dreamed of Peace is the diary of a North Vietnamese female doctor, her encounters with enemy troops, and her dream of peace.   Her diary was found by an American soldier who was charged with clean up.   He read the diary and could not destroy it and instead violating military regulations, sent it to a friend.   Thuy, the doctor, passionately believed in the North Vietnamese cause and has many an unkind thing to say against the American soldier, but it’s a poignant story about war and the cost that it inflicts on both sides.   I’m not a big war book reader but I was captivated by this story.

If your friend likes fiction, I’ve been hearing awesome things about Stieg Larsson’s series starting with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.   I have this book set aside as part of my holiday reading.

Stay safe with your family!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. jmc
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 13:23:50

    I ended up buying three books as gifts. One was requested (the Sanderson/Jordan book), one was a gag gift (cookbook for scientists), and one (Koomson’s “My Best Friend’s Girl”) was for someone whose taste I know well enough to buy specific books.

    I saw “The Elf on the Shelf” at the bookstore and was tempted by it, but had never heard of it before. Is it the big/new kids holiday book this year?

  2. Caligi
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 13:29:23

    Wait, how did an American soldier just so happen to read the diary? Surely it was in Vietnamese.

  3. Anne Douglas
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 13:58:12

    @jmc: Elf on the shelf has been out at least 3 years to my knowledge (based on seeing it in the store, friends going nutty over it etc). Isn’t that the self pubbed one?

  4. jmc
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 14:48:38

    @Anne Douglas: It could be. I’m totally out of the loop in terms of popular kids books and toys. It just suddenly appeared everywhere I shopped this year. Hadn’t seen it before.

  5. Mireya
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 15:06:27

    I give books to my husband (he reads fantasy, urban fantasy and sci-fi) and my 12-year-old niece. She loves Meg Cabot so I got her two of Cabot’s books and she also asked for the House of Night series. I was thrilled when she told me she wanted some books. She is the only one of my sisters’ kids that reads regularly and even writes her own short stories.

  6. Keishon
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 18:41:31

    OMG did I read that right? You’re gonna read Stieg Larsson? Awesome. I haven’t read his books yet.

  7. Jennifer Estep
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 19:35:48

    I give several books as gift every year, mostly for the men folk in my life. If your guy likes thrillers, you can’t go wrong with Lee Child and John Sandford. Stephen Hunter (Point of Impact) is also good if your guy likes reading about guns but doesn’t necessarily want the mind-numbing detail of a Tom Clancy.

    For the teenage girl, I’d recommend Graceling by Kristin Cashore; Beauty by Robin McKinley; or Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I also like Silver by Norma Fox Mazer, but it might be tough to find. I’d also recommend Where the Red Fern Grows for an older child, just because that’s one of my favs — although the ending always makes me cry.

  8. Jane
    Dec 23, 2009 @ 21:08:48

    @Keishon I am totally going to read it. I’ve got it on my phone and I’m ready to rock this weekend. Have a few romances to slog through before then.

  9. MaryK
    Dec 24, 2009 @ 00:46:58

    @Jane: Do you plan to review it? It sounds interesting, but I think it might be too dark for me.

  10. Marsha
    Dec 24, 2009 @ 09:21:59

    Oh, goodness yes. I give books every year to my own children (ages 9 and 5) and this year am giving books to my 3 year-old nephew for the first time – my six other nieces and nephews get books for their birthdays so I go elsewhere for Christmas for them. My kids receive wrapped books in their bedrooms so that when they wake on Christmas morning they have somewhere to channel their excitement – last year their father and I awoke to the older reading to the younger and, I swear, I almost wept.

    For adults I try to get out of print items that match their interests. My sis is deeply in love with an old Disney movie called “Child of Glass” (and can liberally quote from it – 30 years later, ya’ll) and while looking for a DVD I discovered that it had been based on a Richard Peck book. Since the DVD doesn’t exist I looked for – and found – a copy from the year the book was released. A few years back I found a first edition copy (not valuable money-wise, but still cool) of The Father of the Bride, which I gave to my other sis to honor of her fave movie.

    So, yes, I give books but probably not in the way that the publishing industry would like. I seldom gift fiction (but buy it for myself and do press it upon/recommend favorites to other readers) or current titles, at least to adults. I don’t actually like it when people buy books for me so if I’m moved in that way will give a gift card to a bookseller. Does that count?

  11. Leeann Burke
    Dec 24, 2009 @ 09:33:25

    I always buy books for my parents and sister. This year my niece is old enough to also be added to the list.

  12. Janet W
    Dec 24, 2009 @ 13:59:18

    Thumbs down on an instructional book as a holiday present (speaking for myself as a gift-giver and mum) — I was reading before I can remember and I loved B O O K S and there plots!

    Tumperkin’s latest blog has an amusing passage on a much loved kids book: Peace At Last (sadly Mr. Bear, the dad, gets no sleep at all one long long night).

    Thumbs up on stretching away from the obvious and tried and true (like Twilight) — there’s so much else out there!

  13. Maili
    Dec 24, 2009 @ 18:23:38

    My husband recently bought Larsson’s three books, so I’ll nick his Reader to read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    I only buy books for people whose taste I know well. Even then, I’d still rather buy them book vouchers. This way, it’s a win-win. I’m seriously tempted to buy Last Night I Dreamed of Peace for my youngest sister’s birthday, though, as she’s studying all things Vietnamese (particularly French Indochina).

    (Keishon, I finally have my paws on a copy of William Landay’s Mission Flats! I plan to read it tomorrow.)

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