Monday, December 21, 2015

A Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide

I always love to get a book as a gift. There are so many wonderful things about books as gifts. You can find a book to please pretty much everyone on your list. The right choice of book can speak to how you feel about someone. It can bring your gift recipient pleasure, new knowledge and possibly some laughs. And books are affordable - you can get a great book for under 20 bucks.

In other words, I heart books. Go out and get one for someone you love. There's still time! Here are my suggestions for books to gift to your friends, family and colleagues this holiday season.

For the Musician: Junkyard Jam Band: DIY Musical Instruments and Noisemakers by David Erik Nelson

I am giving this book to my husband for Christmas. He ordered parts one day to build his own guitar pedal. He has also built his own pedal board to hold his various guitar pedals. So I know he will love Junkyard Jam Band, which was created out of the belief that "you can make good noise out of bits of wood and wire, plastic and steel." It's a step-by-step guide instructing novice do-it-yourselfers how to build 16 unique instruments and sound effects.

Buy Junkyard Jam Band in Canada. Buy Junkyard Jam Band in the U.S.

For the Tea Lover: The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard

I love to see tea get the same kind of attention that coffee does. Tea shops have sprouted up all over the place and brewing a good cup of tea is once again becoming an art form. The Tea Book tells us tea enthusiasts how to make the perfect infusion and how we can learn to taste tea like a professional. The book looks at 15 important tea-growing regions in the world and outlines how the tea plant, growing environment and harvesting impact your cup of tea. Best of all, there are over 100 global recipes.

Buy The Tea Book in Canada. Buy The Tea Book in the U.S.

For Adults Who Colour: Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined by Steve McDonald

I was drawn to this particular colouring book because it was created by a Canadian and therefore includes cities well known to me. Cities and towns like Toronto, Peterborough, Binbrook and even my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. There are also intricate drawings of Paris, New York, London and many others. If you are giving the gift of this lovely colouring book, be sure to include some fun coloured pencils like these pretty double-sided pencils designed by Louise Fili and inspired by Italian packaging and stationery.

Buy Fantastic Cities and Tutti Frutti Pencils in Canada. Buy Fantastic Cities and Tutti Frutti Pencils in the U.S.

For the Fiction Lover: The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart is one of my favourite Canadian authors (favourite authors period). Set mainly in a remote area of County Kerry in the ’40s and ’50s, The Night Stages follows Tam, an English woman in her thirties, who has been living in the harshly beautiful region since shortly after the war, having served as an auxiliary pilot. Tam has made the difficult decision to leave her lover, and she is now grounded by fog at Gander Airport in Newfoundland. As she waits (and waits), she ponders a large mural and thinks back to her life experiences and her intense relationship with Niall, who is despondent over his younger brother Kieran’s disappearance years before. The Night Stages is, as expected, beautifully written - it has a rich sense of mystery, poetry, melancholy and history and I highly recommend it for literature lovers.

Buy The Night Stages in Canada. Buy The Night Stages: A Novel in the U.S.

For the Out of Africa Fan: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

For people for whom Robert Redford and Denys Finch Hatton are synonymous, Circling The Sun takes us back to colonial Kenya in the 1920s to look at Beryl Markham, the record-setting aviator who was left out of Isak Dinesen's classic memoir, Out of Africa. Brought to Kenya from England as a child, Beryl is abandoned by her mother and raised by her father and the native Kipsigis tribe. Her unconventional upbringing transforms her into a young woman not restricted by social conventions. Well, she tries anyway. Although she eventually falls in love with Finch Hatton, getting caught up in a love triangle with the safari hunter and his companion, Karen Blixen, the story is fascinating more for the difficulties Beryl faces as a woman who yearns for a career of her own without the influence of or need for a husband.

Buy Circling the Sun in Canada. Buy Circling the Sun in the U.S.

For Inspiration: Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

You remember Cheryl Strayed from her memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Brave Enough gathers over 100 of Strayed's quotes and thoughts. It's a perfect gift for somebody who wants to start 2016 feeling inspired. And that's everybody, isn't it? "For every quote in this book imploring you to accept and forgive and be brave (enough), to be kind and grateful and honest, to be generous and bold, I'm imploring myself to do the same," writes Strayed.

Buy Brave Enough in Canada. Buy Brave Enough in the U.S.

For the Foodie: My New Roots by Sarah Britton

This plant-based cookbook is first of all beautiful, with lots of gorgeous photos of wholesome looking food. The 100 healthy, whole-foods recipes are broken down into spring, early summer, autumn and winter. They are vegetarian, often with options for making them vegan and frequently free of gluten. From carrot rhubarb muffins to roasted red pepper walnut dip to grain-free black kale sushi rolls with white miso ginger sauce, there is lots here for the foodie to experiment with.

Buy My New Roots in Canada. Buy My New Roots in the U.S.

For the Art Enthusiast: DK Art: A Visual History by Robert Cumming 

Every home needs at least one good art anthology. (We probably have a few more than we need in this house!) DK's Art: A Visual History is a good starting point for the whole family. It looks at art and artists from 30,000 BCE on up to the current day, with a few common questions in mind. When I'm looking at art, what should I look for? What is going on? How was it made? Why? And is it any good? The book comes in a lovely, bold and colourful "paint-splattered" box that speaks to its contents. With plenty of beautiful, full-colour images, Art: A Visual History is a comprehensive guide to western artists and themes.

Buy Art: A Visual History in Canada. Buy Art: A Visual History in the U.S.

I'll be back tomorrow with part two of A Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide, including a look at books for preteens and teens.

Do you like to get books as gifts? Which of these books would go on your wish list?

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  1. What a great selection of books I would like to read the book of tea

  2. I would enjoy the tea book and the ar book

  3. I haven't tried one of the adult colouring books, but that For Adults Who Colour: Fantastic Cities looks intriguing.

  4. I have The Tea Book and it is beautiful! I really want to read Circling the Sun!

  5. For the Foodie: My New Roots by Sarah Britton sounds interesting for some new recipes.
    Florence C

  6. What a diverse, interesting list! Really something for everyone on your Christmas gift list.

  7. The Tea Book sounds fascinating!

  8. The Night stages sounds interesting.

  9. I would enjoy the tea book, art book Circling the Sun. Out of Africa was one of my favourite stories ever! So the other side would be interesting to read.

  10. the tea book sounds really interesting!

  11. Fantastic Cities appeals to me because I like to colour

  12. I would love to flip through fantastic cities. I am from Peterborough. It would be cool to see what part of the city made it into a colouring book :-) My New Roots would be awesome too. Great for this time of year when I'm focusing on healthy choices in the kitchen!

    1. Yeah, it's really fun to see your own city represented. :)

  13. My new roots looks like a good book. I really appreciate when they combine common sense with good recipes and lovely photography.

  14. Im looking forward to reading Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. I really enjoyed her book Wild - very interesting and inspiring read! :)

  15. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed is the type of book I enjoy, a dose of daily inspiration is good for the soul!

  16. I know a friend who would love the Tea book!

  17. love books . . . .the tea one looks interesting :)

  18. I would love to flip through My new roots. The idea seems very interesting!

  19. I think I would enjoy the tea one. Would love to know more about the various teas I love to drink

  20. I would love to read Brave enough!Looks great

  21. I think I would love to get into this book For Adults Who Colour: Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined by Steve McDonald