Wondering what to buy for that bookish friend in your life? I have included my top book recommendations and bookish related gifts for everyone from the casual reader to the bookwormiest book nerd like myself!
Many of these books are written by and about BIPOC. I wish to promote diversity in reading all the time, but especially during the holidays when we are gifting amazing books, please diversify your shopping list.
Please also consider shopping through the links by clicking on the image of the book shown as it will take you to Bookshop.Org, a site that supports local and indie bookstores. I’ve also posted my review of the book if I have one, so I encourage you to read those for more info.
For the Light Reader
The light reader is someone who might read 1 or 2 books a year. They might be interested in popular reads, but will likely choose one or two books that are best sellers – must reads.
Promised Land by Barack Obama
This is a book that I think everyone will want to read at some point. If it does as well as Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, it will be a household necessity. Book clubs will pick this one up, and even your non-reader will probably get to this one eventually. I am willing to bet the audiobook is excellent as well. Thirty hours of Obama reading to me? Yes, please!
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is continuing to make the rounds with her book Becoming. It was released in paperback and has had a resurgence this year. It is a favorite of many readers of all levels. It would be a great gift idea to pair this with Barack Obama’s new book. His and Hers 🙂
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It follows a Hollywood starlet throughout her life. We get to know her through her string of husbands, lovers, and secrets she has kept. I absolutely love this book and recommend it to everyone. It is also extremely popular, and is a great one to chat about around the watercooler – whenever we get back to watercooler chat. My Review.
For the Casual Reader
The casual reader might read 5-10 books a year, getting through one every couple of months. They are likely looking for something popular, some good book club material.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle released Untamed in March of this year, and for me it couldn’t have come at a better time. Full of life advice, and guidance on how to learn to care for yourself first. And about how to know what is right for you. Personally, I loved this book and recommend it to anyone I can. It’s a crowd pleaser, and the cover art is gorgeous! Also, excellent as an audiobook.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
This is another book a recommend a lot. It is a romance, and there is a little steam, but not too much. Talia Hibbert gives us wonderful characters in her books. Chloe is a character you can love and also she’s not perfect. I think a lot of us can see ourselves in her. She’s the strong female protagonist we all need in our stockings this year. My Review.
Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
Yes, Please is what I have to say to this book. It’s a memoir but also has incredibly funny essays. Samantha Irby has gone through some crazy stuff in her life and she does us the honor of packaging it into some hilarious and digestible memoirs that we all need to read. These are great audiobooks also, as she reads them as only she can. She has two others that came before this one: Meaty and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. My Review
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
This book has made the rounds on social media. It had a great marketing campaign and developed a lot of attraction among influencers and then everyone else. Anyone who is a “reader” of contemporary fiction has probably heard of this one or read it. And the hype is legit, this book was fantastic. A favorite of so many people, it’s a good pick for most people. My Review
For The Avid Reader
This person likely will read 1-2 books per month, so you can go a little outside of the NYT bestseller list. Below are some great options for someone wanting some depth and diversity in their reading. We should all be striving to read diverse books, and gifting them is a great way to do that.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I really can’t say enough about this book. It is one of my favorites of 2020 and it’s incredible. It follows seven generations of two sisters and starts in Africa. One sister marries a British soldier, and one is sold into slavery. It is epic. I think everyone should read this. My Review.
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
This is another of my favorites this year. It’s so powerful. It’s a story about three different generations of Palestinian women between Palestine and Brooklyn New York. The clash of dual cultures after immigrating, resisting patriarchal power structures to find your voice, and finding strength even in the most difficult circumstances. This book will win your heart, but there are definitely some trigger warnings. My Review
Erotic Stories of Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
This is a book that is definitely on my top 10 for 2020. It’s funny in some ways, tragic in others, and has a depth and heart that keeps you engaged throughout the book. Another strong female protagonist in this book, it is a good choice for just about anyone. My Review
Patsy by Nicole Dennis Benn
Patsy moved from Nigeria to New York to see her friend and former lover. She leaves her daughter behind, with the promise to return, but there is a lot happening for her in New York. This book is one where the characters are so interesting and flawed, but real and relatable. I absolutely loved this book and high recommend it. My Review
For the Bookworm
The bookworm will likely be reading over 50 books during the year. They have probably already read many of the popular books and book award winners, or they want to. These folks probably have a book wishlist on Amazon, so consult that before buying something they already have – or give them a gift receipt. 🙂
Bookish clothing, tote bags, and coffee mugs are always popular. There are some great small businesses that produce these things. One of my favorites is The Stacks, which is a bookstagram/podcast ran by Traci, and her merch is great for any book lover. And of course you can buy my bookish shirts and sweatshirts until midnight EST on December 9th.
Personalized Bookmark – Easy to find on Etsy, you can gift someone a bookmark with their name on it! I ordered personalized bookmarks for my niece and nephew. Great stocking stuffers.
For the Young Adult Reader
Below are some excellent books in the Young Adult category. These can be gifted to young adults, or adults who read YA – there are many of us! These books have the perfect combination of empowering female protagonists, and stories that will hit you on the soul stirring level.
Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez
Loved this book so much! It was a YA pick from Reese’s Book Club and has been really popular among YA as well as everyone else. The Strong Female Protagonist in this book is a futbol player hoping to make it big someday. She is empowering and strong, and is absolutely endearing. I highly recommend this one. My review.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo gives us this gorgeous book written in verse. Don’t be intimidated by the writing style, it starts to flow beautifully when reading or even listening to this one. Written about two young women who share a father, but who have never met and didn’t know about each other until recently. This is one of my top 3 of the year. It’s incredibly beautiful, moving, and a must read. Here is a link to my review on Instagram.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
This was such an incredible book. I absolutely loved the main character, Juliet, as she figures out who she is and where she belongs in the world. There are also some great examples of white feminism that is incredible damaging, and I think it is written to perfection. This book is also available as a graphic novel. My Review.
I hope this list has been helpful! The image for each book will go to the Bookshop.org page for that book. Bookshop.org supports local and indie bookstores, so please consider shopping through those links.