Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Shopping List

I’ve been trying to do a lot of my Christmas shopping early this year and I decided about a month ago that most everyone would be getting books. It’s a little tricky to gift books when you work in the publishing industry. Friends and family often assume you’re getting them free and are just unloading a space on your bookshelf.

Even so, I think it’s more important than ever to support the bookstores and publishing industry this year. Sure, my paychecks come from that industry, so it’s pretty self-serving. But, actually, it serves anyone who loves books and doesn’t want their choices to start diminishing.

So, here’s just a few books on my shopping list:

For Dad: Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman.

My dad is actually a Baltimore Ravens season ticket-holder. He’s not a Cowboys fan, but he loves football and I know he’ll be interested in the inside scoop on some of the game’s legendary players, like Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith. Plus, Jeff is a friend. I could buy a copy and get it signed, and my husband’s name is listed in the acknowledgments! :)

For my son, Nicky: Merry Christmas, Curious George! by H. A. and Margret Rey, Cathy Hapka and Mary O’Keefe Young

There aren’t too many Curious George stories that my son doesn’t already own . . . and has completely memorized. His favorites are George’s trips to the chocolate factory and the pancake breakfast. He can really relate to George’s sweet tooth! I’m sure this will become another favorite that we’ll read over and over and over again.

For my daughter, Samantha: Samantha: An American Girl collection by Susan S. Adler

Well, my Samantha is only 4 months old, and while I’m sure she’s brilliant, she’s not quite up to this reading level yet. But the Samantha doll from American Girl is being retired after this holiday season, so Santa will be putting one under our tree this year, along with the set of books that details her adventures.

For the young teenage girls in our family: All About Me Teenage Edition: The Story of Your Life by Philipp Keel, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The ages of 12 to 14 can be a difficult, awkward time. I really wanted to buy the girls in our family a journal, but one that was a bit more interactive and enticing. I was excited to find the All About Me book. It’s kind of like a cross between a journal and a Seventeen magazine quiz. Some questions are deeper than others, but who doesn’t love taking those quizzes?

These girls are booklovers, so I also wanted to throw in some classic and award-winning novels as well.

For the pre-teen boys in our family: The News Way Things Work by David Macaulay, Heat by Mike Lupica and The Big Field by Mike Lupica

One of the boys in our family is a technology junkie. The kid already has the mind of an engineer. He’ll either gobble up The News Way Things Work or declare that he could have written it himself. Either way, it’s definitely his area of interest.

Both he and his brother are big sports fans. They both play baseball, and the younger is a big Yankee fan (smart kid). I have a feeling he’ll enjoy Mike Lupica’s books about a kid’s baseball team in the Bronx.

And for the vampire lovers in my family: The Sookie Stackhouse box set by Charlaine Harris

Well, they already devoured the Twilight series and are now completely hooked on HBO’s True Blood. Somehow they overlooked the books that the series is based on. I was working at Berkley when my colleague John Morgan first discovered this author and character. I never got around to reading them while I was there, but just picked up Dead Until Dark for the first time and now I’m completely hooked. I have a feeling these family members will be too.

I’m still deciding on the rest of my list (yes—it’s a long one!). What books are on your shopping list this year?



Keri Ford said...

Aside from the kids, I'm the only reader in the family. I got my neice one of the many Disney princess books and will probably be returning to the book section for my young second-cousins (we're a close family).

When my son was younger (that makes him sound old, he's 20 months), he fell in love with Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Suess-the hard and shorter baby version. He wouldn't sit still to listen to any other book but that one. He could pick it out of a pile when he was just crawling. He still loves that book. We've had to tape it back together twice now because he carries it around a lot.

Melinda Leigh said...

Love it, Kim.

When relatives ask me what to get my kids, I beg for gift cards to the book store. Having literate children gets very expensive.

I just picked up a huge book on WWII for my father, my 13 year old has Ellen Hopkin's Crank on her list. I'm not sure about my son, who just finished Brisingr by Chris Paolini. Any suggestions for a ten year old who loved all the HP books, the Eragon series and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books?

Anita said...

Oh! Folks with 12-14-year-old girls to shop for: My daughter (12) and I just finished Spinelli's STARGIRL and LOVE, STARGIRL. We inhaled these books and then cried when they were done. Very, very good.

Anonymous said...

I picked up huge hardcover book on guitar players for my son. Has every single player from chet Atkins to Jimi Hendrix to Eddie Vanhalen...he'll love daughter always gets the new Ripley's and I bought a Nancy Drew box set for her as well.....

CD Covington said...

I got my almost-13-yr-old cousin (his birthday is in the end of January) in the family gift exchange this year. He likes fantasy books and books about dragons, so after consultation with my aunt, I got him A Wizard of Earthsea, Dragonsong, and The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any kids and no one in my family are readers, but I do plan on buying myself a gift card to B&N so I can buy a few books for those dreaded months of Jan-Feb where everything is cold and dreary.

Gee, that sounds somewhat sad, doesn't it? Buying your own gift card? But if I don't, no one else will think to. Merry Christmas to me, I say, Merry Christmas to me.

Anonymous said...

My teen daughters and I have been grabbing everything similiar to the Twighlight series, HP, and Eragon series. We've discovered Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series have a heroine we can love and they are very entertaining. Keep on trucking Richelle! Hopefully you'll see mine out there next year!

Anonymous said...

PS I am not writing about vampires, although they are very entertaining to teens write now.
ANON 9:39

Anonymous said...

Did you get that play on words? Write now. HaHa! Merry Christmas!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, I wish I was related to you!
I LOVED the Mixed-up Files book. I dreamt about living in a museum for months.
My four year old also loves to watch Curious George. That's a good idea to get the book.

Anonymous said...

I found this new romance web site called, and I'm getting my best friend a gift certificate. And I'm buying three copies of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN for other people.

whoissecretdubai said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jean Wogaman said...

Kim - I thought Valerie Tripp was the author of the Samantha books.

Melinda Leigh - Do you think your ten year old is ready for THE GOLDEN COMPASS?

Spy Scribbler said...

My niece is named Samantha and she loved the Samantha American Girl stuff. Now that she's older, I also got her those quiz books. They're actually pretty cool. I think it's important for kids to explore who they are.

I just started (and am about to start book 8) of the Sookie Stackhouse series. They are amazing; I've loved every minute of the experience.

Linda C. McCabe said...

My ten year old son has recently stayed up late in order to finish reading a book. He also demanded that I take him to the local bookstore to buy the next installment, *before* he finished reading the one he was on so that he wouldn't have to wait.

It is the "Warriors" series by Erin Hunter and he heard of this through word of mouth at his school. He is devouring these books and likes them better than the Harry Potter series.

I don't know that I would have predicted that stories about clans of warrior cats would excite my son and his friends, but they are bestselling books. Yesterday he begged me to get him the field guides for these books and didn't want to hear that he might have to wait for Christmas.

Gina Robinson said...

Oh, no! I can't believe they're retiring the Samantha doll. She's my favorite. My daughter has all her books and an original Samantha doll the her grandparents gave her back before Pleasant T Roland sold the Pleasant Company to Mattel. The doll came with a real 1889 penny.

My daughter wants a collectible leather bound copy of Gone With the Wind. My son has a number of graphic novels on his list, as well as The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, but the American release keeps slipping. And I just bought myself The Far Pavillions by MM Kaye to read during the holidays when I need a break. I read it when I was young and loved it.

Kristin Laughtin said...

At least half my gifts are usually books as well. I got my father a boxed set of Dashiell Hammett's books (he's a distant relation and thus my dad is quite hooked on him, and never quite forgave me for stealing his copy of THE MALTESE FALCON). I got my mother THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN even though she's not a big reader, and recommended that she get my younger sister the third book in the WICKED series. Most of my friends are getting books tailored to their tastes as well, and my entire list is books this year too.

I'm glad to see so many older books in your children's gift pile--there's a lot of great new stuff coming out right now, but it's important to remember the "classics" too. And I can't believe they're retiring Samantha! I'm in my mid-twenties, so I'm not that old, but I remember when there was only Samantha, Kirsten, and and Molly. (Kirsten was my favorite though, because she had a similar appearnce and name as mine. Now I'm waxing nostalgic...)

Anonymous said...

I gave my twin sister Jennifer Lee Cannell's Interred with their Bones; we're both Jeffrey Deaver fans and she's a classic English major with a sociology minor/loves psychoanalysis, so the book is a perfect fit. Unfortunately I didn't wait for Christmas. Guess I'll just have to get her another! :)

I plan on getting books for the other people I need to shop for, but I don't know what yet. I need to just go browse the store for a couple hours. >.>

Anonymous said...

I recently posted a survey on a LiveJournal book community asking what books people had asked for or were hoping to receive.

It was one of the more commented on entries of the week which gave me the warm and fuzzies.

( for the curious)

Sarah J. MacManus said...

The books I loved at that "awkward age" of 12-14 were the adventure girl classics, "Julie of the Wolves" and "Island of the Blue Dolphins" along with the books by Judy Blume and Molly Cone.

I even sat down and reread them all last year just for the fond memories.

EilisFlynn said...

-For my teenaged nephew, 100% HAPA, a nonfiction work about being of mixed race (and a gift certificate to iTunes, of course);
-To sundry friends and relatives who like Western-themed romances, DOWN HOME, EVER-LOVING MULE BLUES, by Jacquie Rogers;
-For a friend who wants to know about new writers, SPY CANDY by Gina Robinson;
-Kathleen Gilles Seidel's KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND WEAR BEIGE for, I dunno, somebody (well, me!);
-And more books are on the list, but these are the ones I just bought yesterday, so they were fresh on my mind.

Books are always good for gifts!

Anonymous said...

My daughter (14) is eating up the Maximum Ride series. She'll probably get the next book for Christmas. My other dd found a vampire series she likes better than Twilight -- got to go find the author's name. Was someone looking for a vampire book? I highly recommend Robin McKinley's "Sunshine" but for an older audience.

I have very young nieces and nephews, so I'll be hitting the bookstores any day now to complete their Christmas presents. Books are always a good fit.

Oh, and I have a couple of titles on my own list, too.

WandaV in AL

Carolyn V. said...

Books are my favorite gift to get, so for my children's friends, we bought them all a fun holiday cookbook. Well worth the money. Hopefully the gift will repay itself with a plate full of cookies or candy *fingers crossed*.

Kimbra Kasch said...

I read Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead - in no time. They are soooo fun.

Anonymous said...

My 16 year old daughter who likes adventurous books (fantasy, mystery, thrillers, spies) and history, especially WWII, is getting "The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington". Plus "A Man Called Intrepid" which I remember enjoying long ago. Plus either a B&N or an Amazon gift certificate; she goes through fiction so fast I can't keep up with what she's already read. Plus, just for fun, a "Dollar Bill Animals in Origami" book and some crisp accompanying bills.

My 14-year-old with special needs also likes history, and books with pictures. She's getting the "Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out" anthology, which should be fun in an inauguration year. And I may pick up another Eyewitness book or two for her; have to check what she already has.

For my husband the engineer, I've ordered "The Invention of Air" about the intertwining of science and history in Joseph Priestly's discover of oxygen and his interactions with the American Founding Fathers. It's not released until December 26h, though. He also likes military thrillers and science fiction, a la The Hunt for Red October, Elizabeth Moon's Vatta War books, or John Scalzi's Old Man's War. And J.D. Robb, but he's up to date on those. I might get him the next Scalzi too.

Anonymous said...

Not sure just yet, but probably Liz Curtis Higgs' series that takes place in Scotland (Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes). I'll probably get them for my mother-in-law, who's an avid reader.

The American Girl Books are great--it's what started my interest in historical fiction more than a dozen years ago when I was a little girl. My favorite was Felicity. I never knew they retired the dolls though...