Tis the Season for Book Recommending

Being a librarian (and an outspoken one, at that) I am often hit up for book recommendations. More often than not, it’s not even for the person I’m talking to, but for someone the person I am talking to knows/is related to/likes/doesn’t like/wants to get a gift for/is obligated to buy a gift for but refuses to spend more than $15 and wants it to be semi-personalized. I have a few fail-safe titles, books that I know anyone will love (and if they don’t, they should probably give up reading and maybe even all hopes at being my friend). They are:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Orphaned teenager Liesel is taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Huberman, an oddly-matched couple who hide a young Jewish man in their basement as a last favor to the boy’s dead father. This story of death is full of life.
I have yet to meet a human* who did not fall in love with that book upon reading it, nor is it ever available at my library. Ever. As of right now, all 17 copies are checked out and there are 9 people on the hold list. The book came out 5 years ago and still maintains a significant wait list. Buy it. Read it. Your soul will thank you.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: Ender Wiggin is a mere 8 years old when he is tasked with saving Earth from the Buggers, but to his knowledge he is only in a simulator. The harsh realization of what he did is the basis for the 15 other books in the Ender and Shadow series, as well as the short stories and prequels.
I only read this is 2009, but regret not reading it upon birth (the book was first published in 1985, the year I was born), and then re-reading it every year after that. When it comes to re-reading books I actually have to put a limit on myself (and to date I have only done so with the Harry Potter series, Gone with the Wind, and Ender’s Game.) I get to re-read Ender’s Game in 2013 and cannot wait. Oh…and then there’s the whole finally-becoming-a-film thing

Favorite books aside, let me give you a few Christmas 2012 book suggestions:

For the teenaged boy in your life, give him the first three books in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series, as well as the graphic novel series of The Walking Dead. Are they graphic? Yup. Is there murder? Absolutely. But if you’re a good adult, you’ll have a conversation with them about it, about reality and morals. Just like you did when you bought them Halo last year, right? Right?

For your dad, One Second After by William H Forstchen. What would happen to a small town in NC after an EMP attack? What would happen to the United States? This book will tell you, and it’s realistic as if you were watching it on the news. If nothing else, this may convince him to finally put together an emergency plan for him and your mom, other than “Eh, just sit tight and wait for the Corps to straighten stuff out overseas.”

For the woman in your life who read 50 Shades of Grey (while you were on a road trip with her…ew), I recommend When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. It has action (not sex. Okay, one scene. But it’s relevant to the plot. It’s isn’t the entire storyline.), deceit, passionate love, and self-hate. Everything that women love in a good (and I use that term loosely) book! Jordan’s book is far better than that other one, and keeps you thinking long after you’ve put it down.

For your sister, you absolutely must buy her an afternoon’s worth of babysitting. No book, you ask? No. She doesn’t need to read. She needs a nap. And a shower. And maybe some low-lights, because she’s been looking rough lately**.

So those are my recommendations. Want more, or more specifically, want to tell me everything about your loved one so I can make a more informed recommendation? Email me at librarian.april {at} hotmail

*as opposed to all the cats I know who enjoy a good book

**A.G.: You don’t look rough, and your hair is stunning!

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