Finally – your holiday shopping is DONE.

Well, except for… um, and for…. and okay, you’re not really done. Everybody, you included, has that one certain person on the gift list who’s hard to buy for and another certain person who’s really fussy, and a Grandma who has everything. You know who they are, so see if some of these great books might be matches for your list, or books to reward you, Holiday Shopper, at the end of a long, stressful day.



Mystery fans who know their A-B-Cs obviously know Sue Grafton. This year’s Kinsey Millhone mystery, “Y is for Yesterday” begins with a nearly-40-year-old crime and a former criminal who may not be so “former” after all. Wrap this book up for the biggest smile next to the tree. Also look for “Odd Child Out” by Gilly Macmillan. It’s the story of two best friends and one possible murder.

The person on your list who often says she’d like to “chuck it all and run away” will love reading “The Runaway Midwife” by Patricia Harman. It’s the story of a midwife who does just that – she leaves behind a life, friends, and trouble and heads to Canada to start over. But it’s difficult to always be on-guard, especially when you know you can’t hide forever. Wrap it up with “The Art of Keeping Secrets” by Rachael Johns, a novel of friendship, being yourself, trust, and knowing when to keep quiet sometimes.

Who loves a good gaslighter? Your giftee, that’s who, and “How I Lost You” by Jenny Blackhurst is a great book to wrap. It’s the tale of a woman who killed her infant son – or did she? Once she’s released from psychiatric treatment, she has reason to wonder… wrap it up with “Without Merit” by Colleen Hoover, a novel of secrets, truth, and its consequences.

For the person who loves novels of international intrigue, “Act of Betrayal” by Matthew Dunn may make a great gift. This thriller involves assassination, conspiracy, CIA operatives, need I say more?

For the romantic on your list, “Lilac Lane” by Sherryl Woods will be the best gift this year. It’s the story of a grieving woman and the townspeople that wrap their arms around her. Is it possible to find love again? Wrap it up with “I, Eliza Hamilton” by Susan Holloway Scott, a romance-y novel set in historical times.

If you’ve got a novel lover on your list, “The Stolen Marriage” by Diane Chamberlain will make her smile. It’s the story of a woman stuck in a loveless marriage to a man who everyone loves but few know him, obviously, as well as she does. But how well does she know her husband, really? Wrap it up with “Savage Country” by Robert Olmstead, a brutal novel of legacy and hardship, set in 1873.


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Your business-minded friends will love unwrapping “Defined by Design” by Kathryn H. Anthony. Why are we attracted to the things we buy? Does that extend to the buildings we inhabit, the clothes we wear, or the places we eat? Design is everything and this year, your giftee will learn that. Wrap it up with “Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths” by Scott Keller and Mary Meaney, a book with classic answers for leaders in any industry.

If you’ve got a creative type on your gift list, then wrap up “Things Are What You Make of Them” by Adam J. Kurtz. It’s a book of thought-starters and work-pokers that could help open someone’s creative doors. Wrap it up with “The Line” by Keri Smith, author of “Wreck this Journal” and a pack of flashy new pens for the best gift ever.

For the person whose dream is big – REALLY big – then wrap up “Becoming Facebook” by Michael Hoefflinger. It’s a book about the “10 Challenges” that the internet behemoth has overcome and how those challenges have changed the world and the world of business.

If your gift list includes a woman with her eye on high places, then “The Unspoken Code” by Marja Norris is a great gift. It’s a kind of a guideline for female CEOs, complete with worksheets and extra advice. Wrap it up with “This is How We Rise” by Claudia Chan, a book about potential and leadership. I also like “Unscrewed” by Jaclyn Friedman, about getting what you deserve in life and business.



The love – and troubles – between mother and son is at the heart of “Outside is the Ocean” by Matthew Lansburgh, a new short story collection that has a common arc. It’s about a mother with a troubled life, who believes her gay son has forgotten her. It’s about family, and love. Pair it with “Trans Gendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction,” edited by Bogi Takacs. It’s full of collected tales of fantasy, horror, and just plain weirdness.

Why do we even need genders? If that’s a question your giftee asks often, then look for “Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?” by Heath Fogg Davis. This book takes a good look at why we have genders and the four particular places in everyday life where we should think about abolishing any mention of differences.

If your giftee loves his books a bit on the spiritual side, then “Owls Don’t Have to Mean Death” by Chip Livingston is the book to wrap. It’s the story of a Florida Creek man who learns many lessons from his ancestors, but will that help him when illness strikes someone he loves?

For someone who’s on the journey to understanding and acceptance, “Gay Gringo: A Memoir” by Roy Langridge may be a great choice. Just be aware, before wrapping it, that this book includes some steamy scenes.

Also look for “Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea” by Melinda M. Ponder, a book about the woman who wrote “America the Beautiful,” her life, and times.


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Yes, there’s an animal lover on your gift list, and you can’t find a better gift than “Talking to Animals” by Jon Katz. It’s a look at how we can better communicate with our pets and with wildlife, and it’s part of an ongoing story of Katz’s farm and his beloved animals. Wrap it up with “Raised by Animals” by Jennifer L. Verdolin, PhD, a book about how animals raise their young, and what humans can take away from their lessons to use with our own children.

As pet lovers know, dogs can serve in the military. As veterans know, dogs can serve outside, too, as your giftee will see in “Tuesday’s Promise” by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Ellis Henican. It’s the continuing story of Tuesday, the golden retriever who changed one veteran’s life and the work she’s done. Wrap it up with “A Dog Called Hope” by Jason Morgan and Samien Lewis, another wonderful book about a dog and his soldier.

No dog-lover can resist “Will’s Red Coat” by Tom Ryan. It’s the story of an unloved, angry, ailing, mistreated dog and his reformation at the hands of a loving man with infinite patience. Wrap it up with tissues, and with “Rescuing Penny Jane” by Amy Sutherland, a book about dog shelters and those who work to find strays their forever homes.

The cat-lover in your life will want to curl up with “Iris Grace,” by Arabella Carter-Johnson. It’s the story of a little girl with autism and the cat who was more healer than kitty. Wrap it up with “The Inner Life of Cats” by Thomas McNamee for the purrrrrfect holiday!

If there’s a horse-lover on your gift list this year, “The Age of the Horse” by Susanna Forrest should grace their gift pile, for sure. This is a wide-ranging look at horses throughout history, from evolution onward. Can’t miss this one.

For the giftee with a soft spot in their heart for wildlife, “Wolf Nation” by Brenda Peterson will thrill them. This is a book about the history of wolves in America, why they’ve so often been targeted for removal, and what the future holds.

History buffs who also love animals will love “The Zoo” by Isobel Charman, the story of the making of the London Zoo. Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my, but also a nice cast of real people are featured in this fascinating book.

And now the housekeeping: some of these titles may not be available, or you might have to order them. Release dates change, titles change, and if that’s confusing or if you need more ideas, be sure to ASK the friendly, all-knowing, super-intelligent booksellers. There’s actually a good reason they’re standing in your local bookstore (hint: it’s to help you finish your shopping!)

Season’s Readings!