My song to you this season is a simple one: Choose books as your gifts. The gift of a great story is at best transformative and soul-opening; at basic, it is a joy.
And it so happens that to play bookish matchmaker is a delight.
I have for you the fourth edition (revised, expanded, updated, all-around wonderful) of Choose Books: A Gift Guide for People Who Care About Stories (PDF).* Here's what you can look forward to:
- This one goes to thirteen: Thirteen more pages of bookish delight in this 82-page expanded edition. 82!
- Many hundreds of thoughtful and original book recommendations, including those featured in expansive profiles and those recommended for particular groups of readers—including history buffs, activists, people going through hard times, mystery-lovers, politicos, children, and wannabe cooks
- New listings on the book profiles for books that are “of an ilk,” in case what you see isn’t quite what you’re looking for, or you want to make a gift of two or three books, or you’re looking for another way to get a feel for the book's style
- An updated rendering of the Top Ten Eleven Magazine Gift Subscriptions
- A new feature on the top book—yes, book!—subscriptions from extraordinary and innovative publishers and booksellers
- A much-expanded feature on the best books to pair with a cinematic experience: that is, books that should be given along with their film adaptations (which you should watch alongside the gift recipient, of course).
- A reprise of the best literary organizations to offer your gift donations—a meaningful gift on your behalf or in someone else’s name when giving donations are for many of us are a luxury.
As always, this is more than a mere list of personal favorites. Choose Books is outward-looking, featuring outstanding books of different styles for different tastes and ages. These are both contemporary titles and classics, authored by both esteemed and emerging writers, and released by both small and large publishers.
While updated for the 2012-2013 winter season, this gift guide can also help you navigate the year’s birthdays, holidays, ceremonies, and, simply, those days when the thing to do is to give another a story they just might adore.
It's worth reiterating: Your purposeful choice of books, purchased from indie booksellers, supports a vibrant and dynamic literary culture at a time when the book world is struggling, and even literacy is horrifically low.
Choosing to give books translates into a choice of being an active and engaged participant in a thriving literary culture. And it's not as if this is something to be done out of charity: there are so many wonderful books out there, dynamic and strange and absorbing books, books suited to so many different personalities and tastes. A carefully-chosen book is more meaningful than giving someone, say, a necklace or another plastic toy with too much packaging.
Choose Books because your choices matter. Choose Books because it is joyful.
This 82-page gift guide is free and accessible, my gift to you. It's also 100% free of ads and sponsorships. If you find this guide worthwhile, however, I'd very much appreciate it if you'd pitch in a donation.
And also, I'd love to hear your recommendations. What's missing in this gift guide? What books have you given to others that they've loved? Feel free to contact me at annaleighclark-at-gmail-com.
I want to hear all your stories.
* UPDATE: For a few hours on 12/2, last year's version was live at this link. All fixed now. Get your clean copy today -- sans the weird 2011 references!
About the Image: I'm reading with my niece Joan on a Sunday afternoon in April.