Books are cost-effective. They’re like taking a trip without going anywhere. They give and give again, and they’re share-able. What more could you want to give?
So. Without further ado, here is a second batch of book …
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So. Without further ado, here is a second batch of book recommendations.
PETS - ANIMALS
Pigeons. Cockroaches. Sea gulls. Why do we hate them, while we love doves, spiders, and pelicans? In “Trash Animals,” edited by Kelsi Nagy and Phillip David Johnson II, your giftee will read a series of essays on how these creatures – which are often considered disgusting – are really quite intriguing.
If your giftee has lost a beloved family member this year, then show your support by wrapping up “Furry Friends Forevermore: A Heavenly Reunion with Your Pet” by Gary Kurz. Will we meet our furkids someday again? Will they be waiting for us? The author answers those questions in a very comforting way. Be sure to wrap it up with a big box of tissues. It’s that kind of book. Or add “One Big Happy Family” by Lisa Rogak, to the gift box. It’s a heart-melting book about animals of different species that care for other animals, and it might be the soothing balm that’s needed.
For the new doggy parent on your gift list, you can’t go wrong with “The Complete Book of Home Remedies for Your Dog” by Deborah Mitchell. This book starts off with the most basic of health care (nutrition) and will help your favorite pet lover take care of the new family member. Wrap it up with “Throw the Damn Ball” by R.D. Rose, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles. It’s a book of puppy poetry, as told by several short-haired Longfellows.
No doubt you’ve got a bird lover on your list, and no doubt that bird lover would love to unwrap “1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know” by Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler. This is a book filled with fun-to-know facts about all kinds of feathered friends: their physical quirks, migratory habits, diet, and more – plus, tips and hints on being a successful birdwatcher. Give it to show you’re no birdbrain.
REGIONAL BOOKS (LOOK CAREFULLY!)
So your giftee thinks that there may be ghosts in New Orleans. For sure, in the French Quarter, right? But if you wrap up “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” by Cherè Dastugue Coen, you’ll see that NOLA doesn’t have the corner on scary. This book includes tales of ghosts, ghouls, and yes (bonus!) pictures.
The true crime fan on your list will love unwrapping “The Crime Buff’s Guide to Outlaw Pennsylvania” by Ron Franscell and Karen B. Valentine. This book takes a look at murder, scandal, robbery, and other mayhem from around the state. Would your giftee want to visit the crime scenes? He (or she!) can – there are addresses included in this book.
Is there someone on your list who likes to shake her head and say, “Only in California”? Then you’ll want to wrap up “California Fruits, Flakes & Nuts” by David Kulczyk. It’s filled with lots of true, short tales of the crazy, wild things that happened in the Golden State, and it’s plenty of fun.
WISCONSIN – MINNESOTA
For the farmer on your gift list, “One Small Farm: Photographs of a Wisconsin Way of Life” by Craig Schreiner is what you’ll want to wrap up. With pictures on just about every page, this book is also about small-town life, knowing your neighbors, and loving the land you live on. Wrap it up with “Six Generations Here: A Farm Family Remembers” by Marjorie L. McLellan, a book that’s filled with pictures and is perfect for grandparents or anyone who loves Wisconsin history.
The shopper on your gift list will love reading “Something for Everyone: Memories of Lauerman Brothers Department Store” by Michael Leannah. This book is all about an iconic Upper Midwest shopping emporium, but that’s not all: it’s also the story of a time when ladies wore gloves to venture downtown and malls weren’t invented yet.
If your giftee is looking forward to spending some time exploring Wisconsin, then “Travel Wild Wisconsin” by Candice Gaukel Andrews is a sure bet for this holiday. Through seasonal sections, this book explains how to get up-close and personal with the natural scenes and critters that live here. There’s also information on getting involved in state conservation groups. Toss “Wisconsin Lighthouses: A Photographic and Historical Guide” by Ken and Barb Wardius (revised edition) into the package, for an excellent armchair experience.
So yah, your giftee is from Wisconsin, hey. You want to give the perfect gift, ainso? Well, then, wrap up “Wisconsin Talk: Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State,” edited by Thomas Purnell, Erric Raimy, and Joseph Salmons. This book is more appealing than a cold pop, better than brats and beer (okay, almost), and your giftee will want to take it with. Uff da!
The Wisconsin historian on your gift list will love unwrapping “Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal” by Patty Loew. This book, divided by chapters devoted to each individual, major Wisconsin tribe, includes pictures and plenty of browse-able sidebars.
If your giftee imagines suiting up in his (or her!) Pack uniform, then wrap up “My Life with the Green & Gold: Tales from 20 Years of Sportscasting” by Jessie Garcia. This wonderful book isn’t just about the Packers, however … Garcia also looks at the Badgers, Brewers, and more.
One in 88 children is diagnosed in the U.S. with autism, and our knowledge about the autism spectrum has grown over the years. Author Temple Grandin has contributed a lot to that knowledge and in “The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum,” she writes about autism science, what the future holds, and she offers tips for parents on raising a child who’s just been diagnosed.
So the only thing on your giftee’s want list this holiday was a day of “peace and quiet”? Then wrap up “The Power of Silence: The Riches that Lie Within” by Graham Turner. This is a very introspective book on solitude and quiet in religion, music, medicine, and in some unlikely places where you wouldn’t expect to hear a pin drop. Wrap it up with “Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference” by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD. for a gift that loudly says “I understand!”
I also liked “Quiet Kids” by Christine Fonseca. It’s a book about introverted children, and how to help them deal with being that way in a world that definitely is not. Wrap it up for parents and add “A Private History of Happiness” by George Myerson, which is a book of joy from around the globe and through time.
If there’s someone on your gift list who has the opposite of gaydar and a good sense of humor, then wrap up “Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals” by Jeffrey Self. This book will help anyone spot the (not-so) elusive heterosexual in its natural habitat, including its habits, breeding information, and a comprehensive overview of the various species and sub-species.
For the political animal on your list, Christine Quinn’s “With Patience and Fortitude” may be just the right biography to wrap up. It’s the story of Quinn’s life, her rise to power in New York City, her battle with breast cancer, and the secret she knew would eventually come out.
If there’s a novel lover on your list, look for “The Revelations of Jude Connor” by Robin Reardon, the story of a young man who desperately wants to reconcile his church life with the life he senses he needs to live. Can his belief stand beside temptation?
For the giftee who’s grappling with questions of life, “The Gray Zone” by Deborah Day Laxson may be of some comfort.
This tiny little book hopes to make clearer that “fuzzy place” where life is questionable. Yes, it may help….
So there’s someone on your gift list who’s very close to a sibling. How far would he (or she!) go to help that brother or sister? In “My Brother’s Name” by Laura Krughoff, a young woman is convinced by her mentally-ill brother to assume his identity, but the ruse can’t work for long…
For the person on your list who is doing a lot of self-inspection lately, “Out Your Ego!” by Staci Backauskas may help put a few things into perspective. This book will help tame an out-of-control ego to get to the root of who your giftee really is. Wrap it up with “The Scar Letters” by Richard Alther, a novel about a man who must confront the demons of his past in order to move ahead to the strong future he knows he deserves.
For the person on your list who loves the holidays – all holidays – wrap up “Gifts Not Yet Given and Other Tales of the Holidays” by Kergan Edwards-Stout. It’s a collection of short stories about the holidays we hold dear and the ways we keep them.
If you’ve got a giftee who’s kicked the bottle to the curb, then look for “Her Best-Kept Secret” by Gabrielle Glaser. This book takes a hard (though gentle) look at women and drinking - not that at-the-bar-all-night kind, but the glass-of-wine-after-work kind. It’s a hidden epidemic, it’s possible to overcome, and the book will show your giftee that she’s not alone.
Any medical pro on your gift list will love unwrapping “In the Kingdom of the Sick” by Laurie Edwards. This is a look at long-term, chronic illnesses – how they’re proliferating, how we deal with them, and what’s being done about them. Doctors, nurses, and PAs will love this book. So will anyone who’s facing a long-term disease. To counteract the sadness here that may go with it, wrap it up with “Grace, Under Pressure” by Sophie Walker, an uplifting story of a girl with Asperger’s syndrome and her mother, who decided to do something about it.
For the giftee who loves a good memoir, look for “Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia” by Kristina Morgan.
It’s honest, it’s painful, and (spoiler alert!) it’s got an awesome ending.
Is there someone on your gift list who’s in chronic pain? Show them that you’d love to help by wrapping up “Holistic Pain Relief” by Heather Tick, MD. This book is filled with worth-a-try methods of managing pain and may even help get rid of it altogether. Best of all, in addition to helping with physical pain, it can help with the emotional side of pain, too.
For the giftee who’s grappling with questions of life, “The Gray Zone” by Deborah Day Laxson may be of some comfort. This tiny little book hopes to make clearer that “fuzzy place” where life is questionable. Yes, it may help….
If there’s an hardwired someone on your gift list this year – someone who wants to break the too-available cord - then wrap up “Boundaries in an Overconnected World” by Anne Katherine. This is a book especially for someone who longs for communication the way it used to be. Someone who wants to know how to get away from it now and then. Someone like your giftee, right? Wrap it up with “Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Phd, an empowering book that will help that businessperson on your list to gain the strength to say “no” and take her life back.
It’s always nice to have a plan for the new year, which means your business-minded giftee would appreciate unwrapping “Financial Fresh Start” by Shari Olefson. This book offers a step-by-step process for adapting to the “New Economy,’ and some of the tips can be used the minute your giftee rips the wrap.
For the person on your list who needs to know how to kick-start creativity in the workplace, “The Myths of Creativity” by David Burkus will be a welcome gift. It’s a book about how innovation starts, where the best ideas come from, and how to put that knowledge to work. Pair it up with “Unlimited Sales Success” by Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy for a well-rounded (and very helpful) holiday gift.
For the Christian who has questions about his (or her!) faith, “50 Simple Questions for Every Christian” by Guy P. Harrison may lay some of those queries to rest. This is a book that’s both light and deep. It touches upon big questions and small ones. It asks the things your giftee didn’t even know he wanted to know. And it’s going to be a great gift. Wrap it up with “Living a Life of Gratitude” by Sara Wiseman – a book about appreciation for all we have — for an even better gift.
For the person on your list who appreciates history + photographic art + a warm-hearted narrative, wrap up “The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” edited by Roy A. Prete. This lavish book is filled with information and pictures, stories and plenty of history on the Mormon Church, as well as myth-busting paragraphs and more pictures.
Here’s a book you’ll want your giftee to open before dinner is served: “Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World” by Adrian Butash. This slim little paperback includes prayers of gratitude and blessings from many different faiths and cultures. Wrap it up for even more blessings.
For that person on your gift list who wants to dress for more than just success, wrap up “Magical Fasionista” by Tess Whitehurst. This book teaches readers to consider their innate characteristics and personal elements to enhance their lives, from hats to shoes and all that’s in between. There’s astrology in here, feng shui, intuition, moon phases, and more so your giftee can make magic with her appearance.
If your giftee celebrates Christmas in a very different kind of way, then wrap up “The Old Magic of Christmas” by Linda Raedisch. In this book, she’ll learn some crafts and find some recipes. She’ll read about the connections between goblins and Good Will, and she’ll read some eerie stories that will chill her. Cheers!
No doubt, there’s someone on your gift list who loves monsters. And no doubt, he (or she!) will love reading “The Lady and Her Monsters” by Roseanne Montillo, which is a story of Mary Shelley, her evil scientist and his creation, and the people who inspired Shelley to create such a chilling tale. Pair it with “Alien Mysteries, Conspiracies and Cover-Ups” by Kevin D. Randle, a book about more things that go bump in the night… and in the daytime, too…
If there’s a whole lotta scoffing going on with your giftee, then wrap up “The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible” by Joe Nickell. Nickell is a paranormal investigator and in this book, he examines several types of “miracle:” images, relics, healings, and more. Go ahead. Wrap it up and start some arguments. Wrap it up with “Real Encounters, Different Dimensions, and Otherworldly Beings” by Bran Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, because you know there are two sides to every good paranormal tale.
No doubt, your giftee will want to put a little color on the table with “Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts” by Jackie Alpers. The recipes in here – I need to warn you – are fun and addicting. I mean, who won’t want to eat homemade pop tarts, homemade donuts, cupcakes, waffles, and more? Pass the dessert, please, but don’t pass up this book.
If you’ve got a True Crime lover on your gift list this year, then look for “Stories from Jonestown” by Leigh Fondakowski. This book delves deep into what happened 35 years ago in Guyana and why it happened, and it includes interviews with survivors. This is chilling stuff, and not for the faint of heart – which is why you must give it to your favorite true crime buff.
For anyone who cares for someone who’s elderly, for anyone who’s online all the time, and for anyone who thinks nothing is too good to be true, “Faces of Fraud” by Martin T. Biegelman is a book you need to give early. This book tells readers how to fend off fraud, how to spot something that just doesn’t seem right, and how the problem is more wide-spread than they might think.
Surely, there’s a big CSI fan on your gift list, perhaps someone who loves to solve the unsolvable? Then wrap up “The Sixteenth Rail” by Adam J. Schrager. This is a book that may solve the case of the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby some eighty years ago. Science, it seems, is now pointing at the guilty party… or not. Give it, and see if your armchair detective agrees.
If you’ve got a techy who loves true crime on your gift list – or you’ve got a true crime fanatic who’s also a techy – then wrap up “The Internet Police” by Nate Anderson. This is a book about the people who Serve and Protect us online. Be sure to borrow it back, for a truly sobering read. But before you do, wrap it up with “Bombed in His Bed: The Confessions of Jewish Gangster Myer Rush” as told to his nephew Bruce Farrell Rosen. It’s a true crime book that circles the globe and contains all the chutzpah in the world.
Perfect for photography fans and fashionistas alike, “Kylie Fashion” by Kylie Minogue & William Baker is a huge coffee-table-sized book filled with photographs featuring the fashion and career of the award-winning singer. Yes, there’s a little bit of narrative here (and a forward by Jean Paul Gaultier), but mostly … it’s pictures, and more pictures.
If there’s a future musical star on your gift list, you’ll be wrapping up a winner when you give “The Worst Gig,” by various musicians and band members, as told to Jon Niccum. In this book, rock & roll has never looked more soul-crushing… or more fun.
RELEVANT TO LGBT PUBLICATIONS
Editor’s Note: Part three of this book list, including parenting and children’s book recommendations will be published in a future edition of the paper.
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