Book Corner: Giftable Books for Every Reader

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Ted Schubel’s Town Talk radio show recently, along with my colleague Darcie. We were chatting about how giving books as gifts can be so meaningful to the recipient. Selecting a book for a friend or loved one takes careful consideration since everyone has different reading tastes. Choosing a book shows we put thought into our loved one’s preferences and gives the gift a personal touch. If the idea of matching a book to a specific person seems daunting, never fear! Your local library staff love to chat about books and provide recommendations. To get you started, here are a few different types of readers and a suggested book for each one:

For the escapist reader:
Other Birds, opens a new window by Sarah Addison Allen
Allen’s delightful tales with elements of magical realism contain the perfect getaway wrapped up in a book. On Mallow Island off of South Carolina, the Dellawisp is a beautiful cobblestone apartment building named after tiny, magical turquoise birds. When Zoey’s mother passes away, she comes to Dellawisp to claim her mother’s apartment and meets an eclectic set of neighbors, including a solitary chef, a girl on the run, and three ghosts. Each resident of the Dellawisp has their own story to tell.

For the audiobook addict:
Honey and Spice, opens a new window by Bolu Babalola
I’m picky about audiobook narrators, but Babalola’s novel, narrated by Weruche Opia, is an AudioFile Earphone Awards winner. Kiki Banjo, the brutally honest host of a relationship advice radio show, is on a mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University don’t fall for the players on campus. But when a professor suggests Kiki pair up with the sexy Malakai Korede on an academic project, and the two kiss, everything changes. To try and salvage their reputations, Kiki and Malakai embark on a fake relationship while working on their real project. But Malakai is one of those players, and Kiki is determined not to give her heart away. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and Kiki is forced to look past her own presumptions about Malakai.

For the sci-fi lover:
Dead Silence, opens a new window by S.A. Barnes
This science-fiction/horror mashup is perfect for anyone who likes sci-fi with a side of creepy. Claire Kovalik, on her last beacon repair mission before unemployment, picks up a distress signal on the outskirts of the solar system. In no hurry to return to Earth, Claire and her team respond to the signal only to find it’s the Aurora, a luxury space liner that vanished over twenty years ago. Claiming the Aurora for salvage could make Claire and her team rich for life. But when they enter the Aurora, the crew discovers unspeakable horrors that leave them fighting for their sanity and their lives.

For the true-crime junkie:
All That Is Wicked, opens a new window by Kate Winkler Dawson
The brilliant intellect of Edward Rulloff was said to be the key to understanding the criminal mind, according to 19th-century investigators. Rulloff had one of the largest brains on record and used his smarts to excel as a teacher and academic, a con man, an armed robber, and a serial killer in Gilded Age New York. Today, historian and podcaster Dawson seeks to answer how such an intelligent man could commit such terrible crimes. Dawson pieces together Rulloff’s life, from childhood to death, researching every act Rulloff was known to have committed, studying accounts from family and friends, as well as reporters and scientists, who sought to learn about the evil mind. 

For the armchair historian:
Covered With Night, opens a new window by Nicole Eustace
Acclaimed historian Dr. Nicole Eustace presents an extensively researched narrative history of a vicious killing of a Native American man by two colonial fur traders in 1722. The crime was committed on the eve of a conference between the Five Nations of the Iroquois and British-American colonists, causing people all over the Mid-Atlantic to believe that war was imminent. Efforts to resolve the case were complicated by differing views of justice between Native Americans, who favored community, forgiveness, and reparations, and the colonists, who called for the killers’ execution based on British law. Eustace carefully pieces together the crime and its repercussions while illustrating the lives of Euro-Americans and Indigenous peoples during this formative period.

For the fad follower:
Reminders of Him, opens a new window by Colleen Hoover
If you have a TikToker in your life, they’ll know that Hoover’s popularity has surged, thanks to #BookTok reviews, and will be chomping at the bit to read her latest. Returning to town after serving five years in prison for a terrible mistake, Kenna Rowan hopes to reunite with her young daughter. But everyone is determined to thwart Kenna’s efforts, no matter how hard she tries to prove herself. Only Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter, is somewhat willing to let Kenna in. As the two grow closer and form a romantic connection, the risk of losing the trust of those around them also grows. 

For the sucker for self-help:
Brighter by the Day, opens a new window by Robin Roberts
Do you know someone who reads every personal development book ever written? Roberts’ uplifting collection of stories, quotes, and memories is the perfect gift. In her 16 years as host of Good Morning America, Roberts has sought to help millions of people greet each day with positivity and encouragement, even during tough times. Sharing personally meaningful words found in history, prayers, conversations with loved ones, and more, Roberts reveals how she sustains her own spirit by shifting her mindset, setting intentions, and reflecting on the impactful passages in this collection.

Find more book recommendations at your local Central Rappahannock Regional Library branch or by visiting, opens a new window.

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