I was doing a little shopping for my friends and family, and I realized I loved so many of the things I was ordering that maybe I should recommend them to you, Gentle Reader.
So here are 40 items (mostly books & book related) curated specially by me for you or someone you love.
For the chronic reader in your life who already has all the books
1. These small magnetic cat bookmarks – so darn cute.
2. This pretty grey cosmetic bag is lightly padded and actually the PERFECT size for most ereaders! (I mostly use a Kindle Paperwhite.) I prefer this to a case because I like holding just my ereader in my hand at night. Also this has enough capacity to also hold a charger, some cords, and a few other bedside necessitates when I travel home for the holidays.
3. The Knock Knock Personal Library Kit – I think especially reader kids of a certain age would love something like this. When I was around 10 I would have truly adored it.
Some DIY Ideas if you’re crafty!
5. Short Story Scrolls – Purchase eBook-only shorts from your reader’s favorite author, especially if the reader doesn’t like eBooks. Get some fancy paper, print out the short story, roll up like a scroll and wrap with a pretty ribbon. (My shorts are here.)
7. Book Themed Gift Basket – For example, collect some of your favorite romance novels with some chocolates, a bath bomb, and/or a bottle of wine or favorite tea. Here is one example I did for SOULLESS several years ago. Or here’s a photo of a steampunk themed one.
6. Author-Signed Swag – Email your reader’s favorite author and offer to mail a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) if they have any book marks, or even business cards with cover art on them that they’d be willing to sign. You can turn these into magnets!
If the author doesn’t offer swag, you can print out the cover of a favorite book followed by quotes onto nice paper with a high quality printer and make all manner of things with it, from a specialized bookmark (most print shops will do cheap lamination), to Christmas tree decoration, or even framed art.
Just some really funny and/or comforting books
8. Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore – Moore’s debut novel features a memorably mismatched pair: the good-looking one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian “roads” scholar Travis O’Hearn and Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets.
9 & 10. The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune – the funniest fantasy book I’ve ever read. My stomach hurt the next day from laughing. It’s like Terry Pratchett went queer and American in tone and humor. However the cover art isn’t doing it any favors. A better gift (because it’s prettier) might be Klune’s House on the Cerulean Sea instead, which is more comforting than funny but brilliant and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy it.
11. Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree – When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn’t always what we seek. Set in the world of Legends & Lattes, this one takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and secondhand books.
For lovers of the Parasolverse
(historical comedy of manners + romance)
12. Sorcery & Cecelia by Wrede & Stevermer – Anyone who loves my books will likely enjoy this wonderful gaslight fantasy meets double shot regency romance.
13. The Hellion’s Waltz (Feminine Pursuits) by Olivia Waite – After Sophie’s family lost their piano shop to a con man, they’re trying to start fresh in a new town. And Sophie has grave suspicions about silk-weaver Madeline Crewe, whose stunning beauty can’t hide the fact that she’s up to something.
14. Witchmark by CL Polk – In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a world war, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.
15. Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix – In regency times, Newt must track down a missing emerald. As it is much easier to get around alone as a mustache-wearing man, so Newt dons the mustache with gusto.
I also have this rec list if you’re looking for even more books like mine.
For the scifi reader
16. Well obviously I am going to tout my own completed YA series with it’s very gorgeous matched covers – The Tinkered Starsong trilogy (Divinity 36 | Demigod 12 | Dome 6) is queer sci-fi about a far future entertainment industry run by aliens who may (or may not) be trying to take over the galaxy. It has tons of warmth and found family and will also, I hope, make readers thank about the nature of art, fandom, and love.
But naturally I have a few others to suggest as well.
17. Muderbot by Martha Wells – On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
18. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – A motley crew on an exciting journey through space — and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe — in this lighthearted space opera
19. Earth Fathers Are Weird by Lyn Gala – Human military dude accidentally becomes surrogate for tentacle alien children. All the feels. Found family, adorable squidies. Gah. So cute. Her Claimings series is also brilliant.
For the mystery reader
20. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly (paranormal) – A small town librarian and her feline familiars investigate murder.
21. Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty (sci-fi) – Amateur detective Mallory Viridian’s talent for solving murders ruined her life on Earth and drove her to live on an alien space station, but her problems follow her there in this witty, self-aware novel that puts a speculative spin on murder mysteries.
22. Vera Wong‘s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto (cozy) – Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady—ah, lady of a certain age—who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing—a dead man in the middle of her tea shop.
For the graphic novel reader
23. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses.
24. Black Butler by Yana Toboso – The manga that, for me, started it all. The art and the costumes are truly amazing and I feel, in this regard, that you can really see REM’s heritage. (REM is my manga artist. Just a stone’s throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom, its master one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria’s faithful servant . . . and a slip of a twelve-year old boy. His butler is a demon. Or is he?
25. Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern – Light weight and cute, and very very bloody. Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult.
For the teen in your life
I chose some old guard suggestions that I feel like are getting forgotten.
26. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – For teens who are also fans of history this was one of my favorites younger reader and soon to be archaeologist. It’s about a slave girl recruited to become a spy for Tuthmosis III (around the transfer of power from Hatshepsut). Basically… Mara is an ancient Finishing School girl!
27. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede – The princess and the dragon become BFFs and the princess becomes chief cook and librarian and has adventures! Suitable for a wide range of ages.
28. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – Possibly the tightest best stand alone novel ever written. And one of the few where the movie is as good as the book (it’s very different but still excellent).
29. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – What Cooper manages to do with her work is reflect the lyrical nature of the Welsh language and the rolling green softness of its topography in her writing style and in the serene yet tense nature of her prose. I can’t say enough good things about The Dark is Rising series and it a CRIME that these books are not more popular in the United States. Do yourself or your child a solid and check these out.
For the kid in your life
30. Instructions by Neil Gaiman (illustrated by Charles Vess) – Enchanting picture book featuring Neil Gaiman’s lyrical poem guiding a novice traveler through the enchanted woods of a fairy tale – lush gardens, a formidable castle, and a perilous river – to find the way home again.
Not a lot of people know this book exists so I thought I’d mention it.
31. Walking Your Octopus: A Guidebook to the Domesticated Cephalopod by Brian Kesinger – I love this book so much and it’s so adorable. There is also a fantastic coloring book version if that is your preference. Or both, both is good!
32. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths – I spent countless hours as a kid riveted by this book it was formative and the book behind this post of mine.
Grab Bag of Life Hack Gifties
- 33. My beloved bag hook – I also wear this as a bangle, in Thailand it was my most worn jewelry.
- 34. Isntree sunscreen – Words cannot describe how much I love it. I used to resist sunscreen like crazy because I hate the feel on my skin, this one I look forward to putting on each morning. Many have told me how much that love it since I turned them onto it, leading me to suspect it would make a great stocking stuffer.
- 35. These adorable smooth buttery little coin purses. I use them for absolutely everything, including earbuds and charging cords. They come in lots of different colors and patterns and would make a great gift and a great means of containing gifts.
For the Gail Carriger super fan
38. Any super fan of mine probably has all my books but I do have merch, mostly shirts and mugs – if you’re looking to get something not-an-actual-book for the holidays. (Including the wildly popular Team Oxford Comma shirt.) Most of these are customizable, so you can get the design on t-shirts or hoodies or/and in the color of your choice.
For the tea drinker!
I have this whole post full of suggestions and ideas! 30+ Best Tea, Teapots, Teakettles & More but here are my top pulls for gifts.
39. The black tea kettle purse – from Amazon, it occasionally turns up there again for sale, then will go away again for a while. I carry this with with me at conventions and get constantly complimented on it.
40. The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug with Tea Leaf Filter – This is one of my most important travel items and best tea vehicles. I use it as a kind of teapot on the go. It has a removable snap-in strainer so I can make oolong in this puppy which is GREAT.
My one seasonal book is Romancing the Werewolf
You can spoil yourself right now (December 2023) because it’s on sale (digital) for only $0.99. You should be able to get it most places at that price (or your country’s equivalent) including directly from me. Those of you who know me well know I rarely do sales like this (my publisher hasn’t done any for a while either) so this is your chance. Please spread the word if you love this book and want others to enjoy it, it’s a rare opportunity.
I also put the audiobook up for RTW on sale for only $9.99. You get to own the MP3s and Audible can never take them away from you.
Gay. Victorian. Werewolves.
Biffy, newly minted Alpha of the London Pack, is not having a good Christmas. His Beta abandoned him. His werewolves object to his curtain choices. And someone keeps leaving human babies on his doorstep.
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