Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best Gift Books of 2013: Fiction & Nonfiction Guide

I hate to start out a blog post by saying, "Hey, it's been awhile..." But: "Hey, it's been awhile..."

Then again, I should't have expectations for this blog. After all, I found out that a common google search people have found this blog with is: "hamburger crafts." So maybe I should let that sink into my ego for a bit. 

Best Gift Books of 2013

Before you Shop: The Bookish Person is a Persnickety Person

Very much like the word "persnickety," book lovers are misunderstood in the gift-giving process.When you ask, "What books do you want?" And we answer, "Oh, just books." We say this because:
1. We do know what books we want;  we just don't want to tell you what books they are.
2. You haven't read a books since 1972 and we don't want to bang our heads into a wall.
3. We want a book that is, well... And we don't want judgement for this, uh, yeah.

(Some of you know what I'm talking about.)

Do us a favor, gift-givers. Us book lovers are tired of getting gifts for ourselves. There are only so many "To: Me, From: Me" gift tags you can fill out on presents before one feels like taking a nice shower with a plugged-in hairdryer, so here is a guide to your holiday book giving, edition 2013.

Best in Fiction

1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman 

(Gift For: The slightly-picky reader.) 

This is a Neil Gaiman book, and it isn't. There are tragic, dark, and whimsical elements for sure, but these are tied more into our everyday world than his other fantasy books. It begins with the suicide at the end of a lane, and ends with a revelation that is difficult to be described effectively. This book comes a little over 150 pages. It's a shorty, and an overall unforgettable book. 

Best in Children's Fiction 

1. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio 

(Gift For: All the humans.) 

This children's book really does live up to all of the hype it has in the literary world, and then some. Wonder is a serious gem, targeted to grade schoolers, and jr. high kids, but it reaches well  beyond that audience. The themes of finding friends and humor in a world that alienates is merged with great, smart writing. All-around sure-to-please book. 

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, by Jeff Kinney 

(Gift For: The kid who never reads...ever).

Yup. There's another one of these out. The Dairy of a Wimpy Kid series is known for its super-funny writing, and hilariously drawn comics. These books are perfect for the non-reader. 

3. The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan 

(Gift For: The kid who does not stop reading.)

For kids who like the Harry Potter series, fantasy, Greek Mythology, or just geeking-out over fantastic writing, The House of Hades is their book. Part of The Heroes of Olympus series, this book gives us serious book nerds some well-deserved lovin. 

Best in Picture Books 

1. The Dark, by Lemony Snicket & Illustrated by Jon Klassan 

(Gift For: The picky child who may be afraid of the dark, and may like Russian opera.)

There are few people I like more than Lemony Snicket. Need I say more.

(Pictured Above: Ideal life-partner for M.D.)

2. The Day the Crayons Quit By Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers 

(Gift For: The odd, creative kid.) 

This book is funny, innovative, and a perfect gift for any creative kid in your life. Also, just read the author's bio on the book jacket if you want to learn what his favorite crayon color is, and mine. (You stalker.) 

Best in Adult Humor & Memoir 

1. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh 

(Gift For: Just-everyone-read-this-okay-thanks.) 

Based on the wildly humorous blog under the same title, author Allie Broch's writing and comics are touching, disturbed, and always darkly comedic. Covering topics from depression, to "The God of Cake," please do yourself or a friend a favor and get this. 

2. Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris 

(Gift For: "That odd person," taxidermy enthusiasts, vegetarians, men with bowties, men without bowties.) 

There are few things more strange than a Sedaris story. Often using stories which draw from his odd and dark childhood, Sedaris explores more of his middle age life with this book. If are looking for something even stranger, get a David Sedaris audiobook. Give his voice a listen. 

(You'll thank me later.) 

Best Adult Mystery and Thriller 

1. Cuckoo's Calling, by J.K. Rowling 

(Gift For: The friend that thinks they are British, British people, me, mystery lovers, crime fiction lovers.) 

This book reminded me of why I love crime fiction in the first place. It took the cliche of  a model's death (please though, no more dead models), and threw it on it's head. (Quite literally. Hardy. Har.) Brilliant dialogue, settings, and characters from Rowling, per usual. Cormoran Strike is sure to become a classic sleuth as the series continues. 

Best Young Adult Fiction

2. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell 

(Gift For: The teen who likes a dab of romance, realism, and just a stellar book.)  

Ah, first love stinks. (Or so people tell me.) But this book doesn't. A well-written book for teenagers and adults alike. It's sure to resonate across love-sick generations. Happy Holidays! 

2. Allegiant (Divergent #3), by Veronica Roth  

(Book For: lovers of dystopian books, emotions (all the feels), and science fiction.) 

This is one of the few bandwagons I hear is worth catching onto. This dystopian novel is a part of a series which teens and adult readers enjoy. Snap up a copy...if you can find one. 

This concludes the Best Gift Books of 2013. Want other recommendations? Question these? Need help finding a good book? I live on goodreads: here.