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Dec 17 2016
by Nancy Canevari

Holiday Gift Guide: Book Edition

By Nancy Canevari - Dec 17 2016

As the holidays approach, the pressure to buy gifts becomes more urgent — which is a problem when you have no idea what to get for anyone. This guide is here to help. Below is a list of book recommendations for the various people you may have to buy gifts for, all of which are almost certain to bring smiles.

1. For the history lover:

The Nightingale is the beautiful story of two sisters living in Nazi-occupied France, and their respective work with the French resistance movement. The writing is beautiful, the characters are tangible and real and the plot is full of twists and turns that will leave you gasping. Buy it here.

2. For the academic:

Savage Inequalities chronicles the various issues facing inner-city schools in America and the historical explanations for how these schools ended up in such deplorable conditions. While it was written in the 90s, many of the concepts touched on are still disturbingly relevant today, and it’s an excellent read for anyone interested in education, government or the state of public policy. Buy it here.

3. For the fantasy lover:

The Mistborn Trilogy is perfect for anyone who loves fantasy and adventure: it comes complete with a unique and creative magic system, a beautifully well-crafted world and a plot that will leave your head spinning. One of its most noteworthy features: the protagonist, the hero foretold to save the world, is a woman. Buy the boxed set here.

4. For the young adult fan:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a sweet and funny coming-of-age story that follows sixteen-year-old Simon as he navigates high school, family drama and friendships on top of realizing his sexuality. When a fellow student blackmails him with the secret emails he’s been exchanging with a mysterious boy known only as “Blue,” he’s forced into a situation that brings his morals into question. Buy it here.

5. For the fan of classics:

The Bell Jar is the beautifully written story of Esther Greenwood’s descent into madness following a summer internship at a New York City publishing firm. The book follows her time in a mental hospital and explores her complex relationships with her mother and her high school boyfriend and is in some ways autobiographical of Sylvia Plath’s life. Buy it here.

6. For the fan of thrillers:

The Cormoran Strike novels follow the adventures of a British private investigator and his assistant as they investigate a variety of dangerous crimes in London. The writing is fast-paced, the characters memorable and the crimes are gruesome and intriguing. In case you weren’t aware, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. Buy the first novel here.

7. For the world traveler:

The God of Small Things tells the story of a family in Kerala, India — a mother who fled an abusive marriage, her twin son and daughter who are impossibly linked, her mother, her mentally unstable great aunt and her brother Chacko. The family’s life is told in beautifully written snapshots, all circulating around the Christmas visit that Chacko’s ex-wife and daughter make to Kerala, a visit from which his daughter will never return. Kerala and the family come vividly to life in a book that will rattle you. Buy it here.

8. For your younger sibling/cousin:

Tamora Pierce is the queen of children’s fantasy books, and Alanna starts off her multi-series venture into the world of Tortall. Following a nine-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to become a knight. The book is a fun, lighthearted start to a series about strong women and exciting magic. Buy the first book here.

9. For the romance lover:

Everything Leads to You tells the story of Emi, a film student, as she starts her first set design job. While doing so she meets Ava, an aspiring actress with several pounds of emotional baggage on her shoulders. As they work together they learn more about the intricacies of the film business, as well as each other’s pasts, they slowly start to form a relationship. Buy it here.

10. For the person who needs to feel inspired:

The Piper's Son follows Tom Mackee, a musician down on his luck who's forced to move in with his aunt when his life spirals even further out of control. Back in his childhood home, Tom revisits relationships with his family and friends, including his relationship with a girl he left years ago and can't seem to forget. Meanwhile, his aunt, pregnant by her ex-fiance, reevaluates her own relationships with the family, still mourning the loss of her brother who died years before. The book tells a beautiful story of family and recovery and is the perfect blend of sorrow and warmth. Buy it here.

As you're finishing up your holiday shopping for this year, give this list a glance: some of the books may be perfect for people on your list. 

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Editor's Note: As part of Amazon's affiliate program, Fresh U may receive a portion of sales resulting from article. 
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Nancy Canevari - Smith College

Nancy is a junior editor for Fresh U. She is a sophomore at Smith College and plans on double majoring in secondary education and English, with a concentration in creative writing. She's originally from New Jersey, a place she views with one part love and one part exasperated disgust. She loves dogs and young adult high fantasy novels a bit too much and spends most of her time drinking tea and yelling about politics. Follow her on Instagram @fearlesslynancelot for some solidly mediocre content.

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