All year long, Booklisters are busy reading, reviewing, and recommending books for purchase by libraries. We take our own advice, too—especially when the holidays come around. So which books are we buying, and to whom are we giving them? I put this question to my colleagues (and myself) and received a wildly diverse array of answers. If you’re looking for ideas yourself, feel free to regift any of these. Whether you’re giving to a goo-gooing baby or an aging gorehound, we probably have you covered.
Annie Bostrom, Marketing Associate
I’m going to bring a copy of How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran, to the holiday swap for the book club I just joined. I think whichever lucky lady chooses it is destined to be my book club BFF.
Katharine Fronk, Marketing Manager
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty—because there’s no better time than the holidays to remind people that they will die! I plan to gift copies for Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and graduations because this book helped me come to terms with death. Helping someone cope with the inevitable? Now that’s a great gift.
Keir Graff, Booklist Online Editor
I’m giving someone in my family a copy of The Ghost Runner, by Bill Jones. I grew up in a house where I couldn’t have told you a single starting pitcher in Major League Baseball, but could have easily named the current world record holders in running. And this tragic tale of a long-distant great whose career was crushed by bureaucracy will find a good home in the house where I grew up. (If the lucky recipient happens to be reading this, those hints are way too obvious.) And yes, I discovered this through a Booklist review!
Sarah Grant, Editorial Assistant
I plan on giving Catherine Price’s Vitamania to my sister. I haven’t read it, but after reading Donna Seaman’s review and article about the author, I realize it’s right up Leah’s alley. Recently diagnosed with celiac disease, she has been really interested in books about our food culture.
Sarah Hunter, Books for Youth Associate Editor
My brother and sister-in-law just had an adorable baby, so really, there’s a whole stack of books I’m giving as gifts this year to the little guy. But I’m most excited about Steve Light’s Planes Go because I get a lot of glee out of imagining my brother having to say “PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATA” over (and over and over and over) again.
Daniel Kraus, Books for Youth Editor
This one is easy for me: The House of Small Shadows, by Adam Nevill. I’m pretty numb to horror at this point, but this is one of the best horror novels I’ve ever, ever, ever read—it even gave me the queasies. I’m going to be dropping this bomb on a few people this year, whether they like it or not.
Bill Ott, Editor & Publisher
The book I’m going to buy as a Christmas present this year is Martin Short’s I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend. Why? Because there’s a person on my list who loves Martin Short. She would follow him anywhere except that would make her a stalker.
Joyce Saricks, Audio Editor
It’s my practice to give suggestions rather than books. (You know how cheap we librarians are; I seldom buy a book I haven’t read and loved and want to keep.) Does it count to say that I’ve had in my possession over the last year three copies of Meryl Streep reading The Testament of Mary (an Editors’ Choice audio for adults), and they’ve all disappeared. I’m thinking of putting that audiobook on my Christmas list!
Donna Seaman, Adult Books Senior Editor
I’m giving Margaret Atwood’s latest short story collection, Stone Mattress, to a friend who has an irreverent sense of humor and an abiding love for the smart and outrageous, Atwood’s forte. My friend also belongs to a book club that selects excellent books, so I’m hoping she’ll suggest that they all read these wildly imaginative and gleefully revengeful tales.
Rebecca Vnuk, Reference & Collection Management Editor
After finding huge birthday-gift success with Todd Doodler’s Veggies with Wedgies (you should hear me sing the theme song), I can’t wait to give my boys, ages 4 and 6, the followup: Doin’ the Wedgie. This one finds Farmer John’s veggies entering a talent contest. More sartorial singing ahead for me!