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10 Books That Make Great Christmas Gifts

Updated on November 5, 2014

Books for Christmas

Books for Christmas

In my opinion, books are pretty close to perfection when it comes to Christmas gifts. You can give a thoughtful selection that matches up with someone’s personality or, you can go a little extreme and expose a person to something that might be slightly outside a person’s comfort zone. Either way, that person will be happy because you thought enough of them to give them a gift and they’ll either really enjoy the book or maybe learn something new or have a great re-gift present at their fingertips. Here are a few suggestions for the book lover on your Christmas shopping list.

When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris

Irreverent and When You Are Engulfed In Flames is a chronicle of the author's humorous take on everyday life. Sedaris manages to take what many would consider dull and mundane and make a very funny story out of it. Not only is it entertaining, it’s a good way for would be writers to look for the inspiration that comes their way each and every day.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Joyce took the stream of consciousness concept to new heights with this brilliant and difficult work. Double entendres, dark humor and eroticism are part and parcel of this tale of some Dubliners activities on an Irish day in June. It’s not for everyone but, the ones who take on this masterpiece are rewarded for the rest of their lives as it’s not the kind of book one only reads once.

David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

An interesting take on how we perceive power and those who supposedly have it and how underdogs end up with the upper hand more often than we think. Gladwell’s unique talent of looking at things from more than one perspective helps to broaden our horizons to see things as they really are.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Vol I & II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Doyle created a character that remains a vital part of our culture to this day. The entertaining stories of the single minded Holmes and his unlikely sidekick, Dr. Watson, are as much about human nature and frailties as detective work.

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

This collection of short stories is a good example of Murakami’s ability to make almost other worldly people and events seem somehow real and unreal at the same time. The best part is, it’s hard to put down any of his books once you start reading them.

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

One might wonder how a book about putting together the Oxford English Dictionary could be anything other than boring. Winchester weaves a captivating tale about the unorthodox relationship between Professor James Murray, the man tasked with shaping the dictionary, and Dr. W.C. Minor who contributed thousands of words to Murray and who happened to be an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

More Matter by John Updike

Updike was most closely associated with his Rabbit series of fiction about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom’s life of middle class struggles and erotic adventures but, he was also one of the most prolific essayists and critics of the twentieth century. More Matter is also a series of criticisms and essays that includes Hugging the Shore and Due Considerations.

Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

One of Vonnegut’s less heralded books about a cruise to the Galapagos Islands and the interactions of the diverse array of people on board. As with all of Vonnegut’s stories, we get the underlying theme of how society is going to hell in a hand basket through the author’s sharp and very dark humor.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

When it comes to detective fiction of the noire variety Chandler is in a class of his own. His mastery of uncluttered language manages to evoke the dark side of human nature. The Big Sleep brings us private detective Philip Marlowe and the blackmail of a wealthy Los Angeles man and his two psychopathic daughters. The twists and turns of Marlowe’s investigation formed the template for a lot of crime fiction writers over the years.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

A tale of American expatriates working and playing in Europe between World Wars, The Sun Also Rises showcases Hemingway’s stripped down writing style that influences writers to this day. Though Hemingway seems to go out of fashion from time to time, there’s not much argument about the large shadow he casts over modern fiction.


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