Best books to gift


graphic by Grace O’Neil

Emily Mears, assistant editor

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas and picking out gifts for those in your life. Gift giving can be difficult, but with a reader, a book is always a safe bet. Here are some book ideas for you to get your favorite reader.




A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson should be considered a literary classic. This nonfiction story takes place along the beautiful Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Author Bill Bryson was a person who always struggled to answer when someone asked where he was from. He was born in Iowa but spent his early adult years living in England, but after being married and having four kids he moved back to America to New Hampshire. Being on the coast, you could say, inspired him as a middle-aged man to hike the Appalachian Trail with a friend who he had not talked to in years. The book is hilarious as he recounts their adventures and misfourtains along the trail. Along with the humor are statistics, facts, and tons of information about the world around us. (Goodreads:  4.05/5 stars)


Of Moose and Men: Lost and Found in Alaska by Torry Martin and Doug Peterson is another should-be classic. Torry Martin is a comedian, actor, and hippie making the tale of him fleeing from California to Alaska even more enjoyable as he knows how to tell a story well. It makes this memory unlike any other. Every chapter is filled with a different, funny, and true story of his misfortunes, misunderstandings, and comical adventures. And at the end of every chapter, he relates what he gathered from the incident and relates it to a chapter in the Bible. So not only are you laughing with him, but you are finding the answers to the deep questions that he went to Alaska to get answers to. (Goodreads: 4.5/5 stars) 


For a more classical book gift you could go with something from James Alexander Thom, an Indiana author. Coming most recommended is Sign Talker. Sign Talker is a historical fiction book taking place shortly after the Louisiana Purchase when Lewis and Clark set out to explore the new-to-us territory. They choose George Drouillard, an actual historical figure, to help them along the way by providing them with fresh game and helping them communicate with the tribes they plan to encounter along the way. The story shows an entertaining version of early America that shows a new version of our nation. (Goodreads: 4.29/5 stars) 




Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Mansico is a young adult historical fiction and mystery. As the title aludes, the book takes places during the Autum of Terror in 1888 London. The main character Audrey Rose Wadsworth is breaking the gender stereotypes by taking an interest in studying forensics under her uncle, who everyone else considers mad. She is a lord’s daughter and lives a life of wealth and luxury, but she is not content with it. Audrey Rose has decided to step out of what she knows with the assistance of her uncle’s apprentice, Thomas Cresswell, to solve the murders and put an end to them. The story line is thrilling and the writing is beautiful. Any teenager who enjoys a good mystery is sure to love it. (Goodread: 3.98/5 stars)


Warcross by Marie Lu is a popular science fiction novel. Warcross is the name of the “game” played throughout the novel. In actuality, it is a different reality. It’s virtual reality. By slipping on a special pair of glasses, they are transported into this world, this game. In the game, there are people illegally betting inside. That is where the main character Emika Chen comes into play. She is a bounty hunter struggling to make ends meet. But needing to make some quick money, she hacks into the system and becomes an overnight legend. Emika was convinced she was going to get arrested when game inventor Hideo Tanaka called her into his office, but instead she was given an irresistible offer. The science fiction is easy to understand, yet there is so much world building that makes it fascinating. (Goodreads: 4.14/5 stars) 


We Were Liars by E. Lockheart is another highly recommended book. The book is about a wealthy family who gets to spend their summers on their own private island. On one of the summers, the main character, Candance, gets a head injury and can’t remember most of what happened on that trip. Throughout the book she is working to confront the truth of what happened that summer. (Goodreads: 3.79/5 stars) 




The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a great choice for any preteen or middle school aged students. The plot follows the main character, Thomas, who wakes up in a box rising up into the Glade. The twist, he remembers nothing and is now surrounded by teenage boys around his age. A day passes and he is beginning to get an understanding of what is happening and then a girl shows up, Treasa. Following her arrival, all the customs the boys had been used to changed. They no longer got their supplies and the glade walls no longer closed. Now the group has to find a way out before they all die trapped in the Glade. (Goodreads: 4.03/5 stars) 


The Giver by Lois Lowry is a must read for everyone. The reading level makes it perfect for tweens. It’s a science fiction novel that is subtly a piece of propaganda. Their world has no colors. Everything is black and white, it’s a utopia. Until the Ceremony of 12 when the main character Jonas will be assigned his role in the society. At the ceremony he is given the honored Assignment of Receiver of Memory. All the memories of hurt, pain, war, and color are stored and released to one person, and he was chosen to be that person. It is something everyone should read at least once in their life. (Goodreads: 4.13/5)


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green also comes highly recommended for soon-to-be teens. The book follows the main character Hazel who has a terminal illness. Hazel has lung cancer. Her parents, thinking it will help her, talk her into going to a support group. At first Hazel, being 16, is hesitant about going but is soon glad she came when she meets Augustus Waters. The whole book is trying to get readers to appreciate what they have before it is no longer there. This is one book everyone seems to reference or has read, so it doesn’t hurt to at least know you can read it to join the discussion. (Goodreads: 4.18/5 stars)


In conclusion for readers, a book is always a safe bet when it comes to gift giving. It’s hard to go wrong with a book of any shape or size, but a little research behind it doesn’t hurt.