Best Books to Gift This Christmas

I love to give books as Christmas gifts, but I think books can be tricky to pull off. You want to give your loved one something awesome she will love without worrying that she’s already read it. What you give also says a lot about you. (“I don’t want to give him a Malcolm Gladwell book — he’ll just think I’m trying to seem smart!”)

In the end, it’s all about the other person, so I’ve included a few of my favorite books from this year (and some that I really want to read!), organized by the type of reader.

For the ‘Hunger Games’ Fan

The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguirre

I know I’ve mentioned this series before, but that’s only because it’s truly one of my favorites. “Horde,” the third installment in the trilogy, was just released at the end of October, and it’s fabulous. This is a great gift for the “Hunger Games” fan in your life who’s already read “Divergent” and prefers her dystopian future with a side of flesh-eating monsters.

For the Dystopian Purist

George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls

This one is at the top of my must-read list for 2014, but I’m making my way through some of Orwell’s lesser-known books first. I had a chance to pick it up at a bookstore while I was abroad, and I think it examines Orwell and his books through an interesting lens of his “Englishness.”

For the Introvert in Your Life

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Lots of writers (and readers) are introverts. And although it isn’t new, it’s probably the most life-changing book I’ve read all year. If you’re an introvert, it will have you nodding and feeling like someone has finally explained you to yourself and everyone else. But beware: It will also having you screaming “extrovert bias!” at just about every part of the public school system and the American workplace.

For the Couch Potato Who Likes a Challenge

A Game of Thrones Boxed Set by George R.R. Martin

Tackling all five Game of Thrones books is a daunting challenge, but it’s probably one I’ll try to accomplish before the premier of season 4 on HBO. It’s the perfect gift for the TV fiend and sometimes-reader on your Christmas list.

For the Mystery-Lover

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith / J.K. Rowling

I generally don’t read mysteries, but after the J.K. Rowling pen name scandal, I had to give it a try. Even if you aren’t a whodunnit fiend, it’s a great story with wonderful characters you’ll love curling up with this Christmas.

For the Writer in Your Life

Write. Publish. Repeat. The No-Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

This is at the top of my list this year as well. I’m an avid listener of “The Self-Publishing Podcast,” and these guys are the real deal. Through pure hard work and good writing, Sean, Johnny, and their co-host Dave have built an indie-publishing empire, and here they tell you how to do it. I would say this is their no-bullshit handbook to getting serious about making a living as an indie author. From what I gather, it’s more about the business of self-publishing than the craft of writing itself.