Book Corner: Books That Make Great Holiday Gifts

Giving a book as a gift is always appreciated, as it shows you’ve put consideration into its selection, thinking about what that person might enjoy, or wanting to share a book that held special meaning to you. Not to mention the possibilities are endless--the combination of words and ideas that is unique to each book, even as there are millions to choose from. And if the recipient doesn’t like the book you give them, they will love the gesture and perhaps pass the volume onto another soul who will appreciate the story it tells.

Here is a selection of books I would love to receive as gifts:

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
In every woman, Doyle posits, there is a voice that strives to be heard, a life of freedom that begs to be embraced to its fullest. Numbed by cultural expectations and the constant striving to be “good,” Doyle received a wake-up call when, at a conference, a woman walked into the room, and she fell instantly in love. At that moment, Doyle decided to stop abandoning her own desires and instead abandon societal expectations. Through Doyle’s experience, we learn to be brave, take a look at our own lives, and be our own true, untamed selves.

Procrastibaking by Erin Gardner
Baking and cake design instructor Gardner encourages mindful procrastination--er, relaxation-- in the form of baking. This delicious collection of 100 recipes is perfect for avoiding all things mundane, such as paying the bills and cleaning the house. 

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
No gift book list is complete without a sweet holiday romance. Vivian Forest is thrilled to accompany her daughter Maddie on a work trip to England to style a royal family member. What she doesn’t expect is an instant attraction to a certain private secretary to the Queen. Malcolm Hudson finds himself just as intrigued by Vivian and starts making excuses just to spend time with her. A full fling ensues, despite knowing it all comes to an end on New Year’s Day. But they’re fine with that...right?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Linus Baker leads a quiet life in a tiny house with his mischievous cat. As a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, Linus oversees the welfare of children in government orphanages. Then, he’s given an unusual assignment: travel to the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children, one of whom is the Antichrist, reside. Linus’s top-secret mission is to determine if these children will bring about the end of days. But orphanage caretaker Arthur Parnassus will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow close, Linus is forced to make a difficult choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn. An enchanting tale of unlikely families and embracing differences.

I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb
Today Show co-host Kotb began posting a variety of quotes on her Instagram page, some from a favorite writer, others providing a needed helping of love and laughter. Reactions poured in as these quotes connected and comforted people from around the world. So many of them said, “I really needed this today” that Kotb was inspired to gather them into a collection, enough for every day of the year. With her trademark humor, Kotb includes stories of the people and experiences that challenged her and taught her to explore deeper relationships. 

In Bibi's Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen
Cookbook meets travelogue in this gorgeous volume of 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations instrumental to the spice trade. With beautiful photography, shot on location by Khadija Farah, and food photography, from Jennifer May, these women and the stories behind their mouthwatering recipes come to life.

The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
With the new year approaching, and staying home still the safest thing to do, it’s a good time to tame the chaos of your space without resorting to extreme minimalism. Shearer and Teplin help you get to know your organizing style and tailor it to your family’s lifestyle to tame disorder, clear the clutter, and help you feel happy and calm.

The Answer Is by Alex Trebek
Since his debut as Jeopardy! host in 1984 until his passing in November of this year, Alex Trebek has been like a family member to millions, bringing education and entertainment with his calm presence and dry humor into our homes nightly. Over the decades, Trebek has resisted countless pleas to produce an autobiography, until an outpouring of love and kindness from his fans after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis compelled Trebek to share his story. Enlightening personal anecdotes combined with his thoughts on a number of topics, Trebek also addresses questions most often asked by fans (Why did you shave your mustache? What did you think of Will Ferrell impersonating you on Saturday Night Live?). We all miss Alex, but he lives on in this fascinating book and in American culture.

Adult Winter Reading at Central Rappahannock Regional Library starts December 21! Read to earn a new limited-edition mug and enter giveaways. Visit for details.

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.