Never-Fail Books for Gifting

Books. Basically the perfect gift.


  • They always seem more thoughtful than they really are (i.e. “ I read this book and totally thought of you and you alone”)
  • They make everyone involve seem smarter (“I knew you would prefer literature to a bottle of hootch”)
  • Books are damn easy to wrap.

Even if you’re not a bookworm, think books as a solution to your gift-giving pickle!

Here are a few of my never-fail* books for gifting


Book: “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen. The first hand account of Seal Team Six and their mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. This book actually came under some controversy because of all that is revealed inside (isn’t that the best hook ever?) I didn’t understand most of the army tactical jargon, but it was very interesting. Lots of action and insight into high-risk operations.

Never-fail recipient:  Brothers, Fathers, people who love video games more than books, or my good friend M., a police officer who is always combing my bookshelves looking for something to read “with some action in it”.

Book: “The Emperor of all Maladies” by Siddhartha Mukherjee. A fascinating book (which will make an appearance in “Review Time”) about cancer. More accurately, a biography of cancer; its discovery, development, cancer research and its impact on politics, medicine and popular culture. Mukherjee draws from his own experience as an oncologist to lend a compassionate, human aspect to the book.

Never-Fail Recipient: Co-workers, friends you fear are more intelligent than you are, and any doctors or scientists you happen to know. This book is impressive and in-depth, with enough science to satisfy people in the healthcare field but accessible enough to be enjoyed by just about anyone.

Book: “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. This book is the story of a Harvard Professor who, just shy of her 50th birthday, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. What really draws you into this book is that the narration is first hand, so you are inside Alices’ head. When she forgets a name or discovers she is in the wrong house, it’s almost as if the reader has made the error. A really great, book club-worthy read.

Never-Fail recipient: Moms, Mother-in-laws, anyone who misses Oprah’s book club (or just misses Oprah).

Book: “The History of the World According to Facebook” by Wylie Overstreet. A really clever and cute look at what it would be like if key players in history had Facebook. As in, ALL of the key players, from Boston creating the “Tea Party” event to John Wilkes Booth “Like-ing” Lincolns’ post about hitting up the theatre later. For me, the whole WW2 section makes me laugh every time, with Winston Churchill telling Chamberlain to “GTFO”. It’s like if slapstick comedy was in book form. Except better.

Never-Fail Recipient: Teenagers. I know, I know, Facebook is SO over, it’s all about Vines now or whatever. But they’ll still get a kick out of it, and maybe they’ll learn something! Also history buffs will LOVE this.

Book: “The Painted Girls” by Cathy Marie Buchanan.  Following in the steps of Mr. Hugo (but 80% shorter and 100% more reader friendly), this book takes place in 19th century Paris. In it, we follow 3 sisters whose only hope for income and survival is to become popular ballet dancers at the Opera Garnier. Although the paths they set out on are identical, their successes, failures and outcomes are very different. A lovely book, with very realistic and detailed descriptions of 19th century Paris. The author captures the beauty of the city, its art, music and vibrancy as well as the filth, hunger, illness and desperation that haunted most of its citizens. A little bit “A Tree grows in Brooklyn” a little bit ” A Moveable Feast” and a lot of “Les Miserables”.

Never-Fail Recipient: Travellers, friends who love fiction and my friend A.,who loves the musical “Les Miserables” and believes Paris to be among the most lovely and interesting places in the world (rightfully so, its amazing…in fact here’s a picture of me and my husband in Paris because…why not? ;))

Happy gifting!


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