Best Books to Give as Christmas Gifts

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Great Books to Give as Gifts

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Crown

Books make excellent Christmas gifts. Even those who don't usually read will often enjoy beautiful hardcover books about subjects they enjoy. Here are some suggestions organized by what type of person might appreciate the book.

For the Uncle with a Long Plane Trip Home (A Great Thriller!)​

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn is a big thriller. It is a smart page-turner about a wife who disappears. Did her husband kill her? The novel is told from the alternating viewpoints of the wife's diary and the husband during the search. It is a book that readers won't want to put down, but it isn't fluffy, Flynn writes well. The movie was a hit, and so is the book.

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For Those Who are Passionate about Poverty and Global Issues

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
'Behind the Beautiful Forevers' by Katherine Boo Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Random House

"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is a true story. Katherine Boo spent years in a Mumbai slum observing life and interviewing residents. She wrote "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" in a narrative style that will grip readers and help them wrestle with the complex nature of inequality in India.

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For Those Who Love Books on History, Politics, or War

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
'The Yellow Birds' by Kevin Powers The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. Little, Brown

"​The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers is a debut novel from an Iraq War veteran about one soldier's time in that war and struggle returning from it. "The Yellow Birds" has beautiful writing and poignant insight.

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For the Literary Hipster

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
'Telegraph Avenue' by Michael Chabon Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon. Harper

"Telegraph Avenue" by Michael Chabon takes place in Oakland and centers on a small record store that is threatened by a big chain. This novel has many plot threads and ambitious writing. Chabon may just be the greatest living American writer today. His sentences are sumptuous. One is 11 pages long and fills an entire chapter as the writer and reader observe the goings on of every major character. It’s ingenious.He brings all the underground and popular recognitions of art and culture naturally into the flow of his stories. There are some explicit sexuality and violence, so read in-depth reviews for a better understanding of what you are buying before you give this gift.

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For a New Mom or Grandma

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott
'Some Assembly Required' by Anne Lamott Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott. Penguin Group

"Some Assembly Required" by Anne Lamott is the follow-up to her bestselling ​"Operating Instructions," which detailed her son's first year. Now her son is a father, and this book is a journal of Lamott's grandson's first year. "Operating Instructions" remains a good read for new parents, and parents or grandparents will appreciate "Some Assembly Required."

06
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For the Religious Intellectual

When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
'When I Was a Child I Read Books' by Marilynne Robinson When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

"​" by Marilynne Robinson is a short book, but it is dense. This collection of essays considers American life, political discourse, and religious responsibility. It is health food for the brain, but still a pleasure to read.

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For a Sister with a Sense of Humor

Where'd You Go Bernadette
'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' by Maria Semple Where'd You Go Bernadette. Little, Brown

"​Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is a novel by Maria Semple, one of the writers of the TV show "Arrested Development." Fans of that show or over the top humor laced with social commentary will enjoy this novel about an eccentric mother whose daughter is trying to track her down after she suddenly disappears the week before Christmas.