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10 Book Gifts for the Person Who’s Got You Stumped

For this holiday season, let us recommend some new and classic titles.

For a Child of Any Age

A Treasury of Wintertime Tales edited by Noel Daniel (Taschen, $39.99)
This gorgeously illustrated collection of 13 classics such as “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Snow Children,” and “The Red Horse” is guaranteed to charm anyone young—or young at heart.

For the President of the Book Club

Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26)
In the new novel by Pulitzer Prize–winning Robinson, a young woman who’s endured a harsh, transient childhood slowly finds her way toward love and faith. Few writers can match Robinson’s grace.

For the Friend With Impeccable Taste

They Came like Swallows by William Maxwell (Vintage, $14.95)
Maxwell (1908–2000) was a longtime editor at the New Yorker whose own novels are a treasure: elegant, accessible, and loved by pretty much everyone who picks them up. This luminous story of a Midwestern family, set in 1918, is ripe for rediscovery.

For the Soulful Friend

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $22.95)
Lamott’s devoted following values the way she approaches life’s bigger questions with humor, humility, and rubber-meets-the-road insights. 

For the Spirit With Heart

A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts by Leo Tolstoy (Scribner, $24)
Tolstoy (1828–1910) included quotes from the New Testament, the Koran, Greek philosophy, Lao Tzu, and Buddhist and Jewish thought, along with poetry and other writings.

Weekend Warriors (and Those Who Love Them)

Embrace the Suck by Stephen Madden (HarperWave, $25.99)
Can a 50-year-old amateur athlete survive CrossFit training? Madden’s entertaining and inspiring fitness memoir is ultimately about life, love, and so much more. 

Mystery is Their Middle Name

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie (William Morrow, $25.99)
During her lifetime, Christie (1890–1976) sold some two billion books, topped only by Shakespeare and the Bible. Now bestselling author Hannah breathes new life into Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 33 novels—with the blessing of Christie’s estate and the adoration of critics.

For the Crime Solver

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (Vintage, $14)
A veteran of both world wars, Hammett (1894–1961) was blacklisted in the 1950s, but his hard-boiled novels endure. This 1929 gem features the classic PI Sam Spade.

He’ll See It On-Screen… So Buy Him the Book

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, $16)
The true story of WWII survivor Louis Zamperini, based on the mega-bestseller, comes to your multiplex on Christmas Day. Spanning the 1936 Berlin Olympics, harrowing ordeals at sea, and torture in prisoner of war camps, Zamperini’s life—and his resilience—is jaw-dropping. Reading the book will double the awe.

For the Super Fanatic

A Game of Thrones 5-Book Set by George R. R. Martin (Bantam, $49.95)
Martin’s edge-of-your-seat fantasy is a hit on HBO, but the books go deeper into the machinations of the royals and warriors of the seven kingdoms. This set has more than enough sword fights, dragons, and intrigue to last till the show returns in spring.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest