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Finding the Perfect Gift for your Book Loving Friends, 2021 Edition

Cindy Burnett
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Woodrow on the Bench

Woodrow on the Bench is a great gift for animals lovers.

Happy Thanksgiving! With the holidays rapidly approaching, people have started asking me for bookish recommendations for gifting and whether I was creating this list again this year. 

My suggestions are grouped by genre or theme to provide guidance to anyone looking for the perfect book for a loved one, close friend, co-worker or even a gift exchange. A number of my selections were published in 2021 so the odds someone already owns them are lower. I have also added a section for book-related items – fun gifts for those who love to read.

Bookish Gifts for Those Who Love to Read

  • Earrings and bracelets made out of typewriter keys and purses made out of old Readers Digest books. I found these items at Lark and Owl Booksellers in Georgetown, Texas and they can be ordered by calling the bookstore (512-688-5582).
  • An “I Closed My Book to be Here” T-shirt. These fun t-shirts can be found on Etsy.
  • Custom book earrings. These can also be found on Etsy and are fun for readers.
  • Library Sticky notes – these will make the perfect stocking stuffers. Another great find on Etsy.
  • Literary candles covering mainly classics. These fun candles span various genres and include authors such as Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.
  • Bookish socks, totes, mugs, t-shirts, and more. Out of Print has a wonderful selection of creative and clever items for readers.

These books will appeal to those who love food:

  • Cooking with 5 Ingredient from Trader Joe’s by Tracey Korsen  
  • A New Take on Cake by Anne Byrn
  • American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations by Anne Byrn 
  • Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
  • Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites by Mary Guiliani
  • Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories Behind America’s Favorite Dishes by David Page

This grouping includes an eclectic mix of entertaining non-fiction books: 

  • The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People by Rick Bragg 
  • The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Elizabeth Letts*
  • A Season with Mom: Love, Loss, and the Ultimate Baseball Adventure by Katie Russell Newland
  • Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books by Jess McHugh* 
  • Will by Will Smith 
  • Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am by Julia Cooke*
  • Woodrow on the Bench: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog by Jenna Blum*
  • You Got Something Stronger?: Stories by Gabrielle Union
  • Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson

Several of these books are on my Best 2021 Nonfiction list. You can read more about them here.

The Man Who Died Twice

Richard Osman's new book is perfect for mystery lovers. 

Here are some fabulous fiction titles that will make great gifts:

Mysteries/thrillers:

  • These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant*
  • The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
  • Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner*
  • Shiver by Allie Reynolds
  • The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry
  • Down Range by Taylor Moore*

Contemporary Fiction:

  • We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza*
  • Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy*
  • The Guncle by Steven Rowley
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Historical Fiction:

  • Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams
  • The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray*
  • Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie*
  • Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan*
  • Dovetails in Tall Grass by Samantha Speck*
  • Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson

Several of these books are on my Best 2021 Historical Fiction list. You can read more about them here.

These books are perfect for a Houstonian or a Texan:

  • Houston Culture Shock: Quirks, Customs, and Attitudes of H-Town by William Dylan Powell  
  • Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way of Life by the editors of Texas Monthly

*I interviewed the authors with the * by their names for my podcast and you can listen here if you want to learn more about their books.

And before I close - shop local! Houston has some wonderful indie bookstores that are part of the city’s fabric and culture, and they can answer any and all questions about books. If a particular title is not in stock, any of these local bookstores are more than happy to order it for you.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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