Books to Give

As we get closer to Christmas, the window for shopping online is closing! A lot of retailers won’t guarantee delivery unless you upgrade the shipping. One thing that you can buy pretty much up until a few days before the big day? BOOKS. Whether you pop into your local bookstore or shop with Amazon, you can’t go wrong with giving a book for the holidays.

There is a book out there for every recipient.  This year two people on my list are getting books (they definitely don’t read my blog, so I’m safe saying that 😉). I’m rounding up some crowd-pleasing options:

When Breath Becomes Air | Well I guess I’m starting off the list with a very heavy read. Even though the subject is deep (the author wrote it when he was dying of lung cancer), it’s an incredible book that really shows you what matters in life.

Holes | There are a few kids on my list every year, and they can be especially difficult to buy gifts for. I try to give some of the books that I loved as a kid!

Presence | My friend’s dad had lunch with us last December, and he raved about this book. I finally read it and understood why he thought everyone needed to read it. He gave it out to everyone in his office as Christmas gifts, and I have basically copied him! A must-read!!

All the Light We Cannot See | This is a pageturner that the women on your list would love. Even if they’re not big readers, I think they’d enjoy this one! The story is beautifully written and brings you along an emotional journey from page one and beyond.

The Royal We | I think we all have at least one friend looking forward to the royal wedding in May… this book is 100% for them. I’m not even into the royal family thing, and I loved this book. Such a fun, light “fictional” read!

The Defining Decade | After a long talk with my sister, I sent her this book as a little surprise, and she’s obsessed with it. If you’re a big sister (biological or not), I highly recommend gifting this!

You Are a Badass | This is somewhere between a pep talk and a kick in the butt in book form. A great present for your girlfriends or close coworkers.

When God Winks at You | Our neighbor in Tampa sent me this book (it’s a long story as to why), but it was the exact thing I needed to read this year. I loved it! A heartwarming read that you could give to literally anyone (from your best friend to your grandma).

10% Happier | I stumbled on this book and ended up really enjoying it because of my meditation obsession this year. I ended up giving it to my dad (along with a year-long subscription to Headspace) for his birthday.

Along the Infinite Sea | One of my favorite books this year! It’s great for the women on your list for sure, and I think it’s actually part of a “sister series” if you want to give multiple books!

The Island | Elin Hilderbrand is one of my go-to authors when I need a light, entertaining read. All of her novels are based on Nantucket so, really, how can you go wrong?

American Girl Books | Without a doubt, one of my favorite gifts for girls is to get them their first American Girl books! They’re classics and totally timeless.

The Boys in the Boat | The best book I’ve ever read. I give this to EVERYONE if they haven’t read it yet. (Hint, it’s a hit with the dads if you’re struggling to find them the perfect thing.)

Alexander Hamilton | I have both given and received this book. I haven’t dug into my copy just yet, but the reviews are great, and I know the history buffs in my life will love it.

Hillbilly Elegy | This was my #1 book that I read in 2017. It’s a gutwrenching but great memoir about growing up in a white working-class family and the obstacles he faced.

Wonder | Another book for everyone on your list, including kids. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my “to-read” list.

What books have you given as gifts? Any favorites that you’ve received or read recently?

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LOVE this post! Always great to get good book recommendations! So many excellent ones included in the list!
One book that I recommend for children or anyone with kids is “A Little Radical: The ABC’s of activism”. SO good!

Taylor |


I love that you have a gift guide dedicated entirely to books. They’re my favorite present under the tree every year, always have been. I’ve been eyeing some of these on your list. Hopefully Santa will be generous this year!


The Hamilton bio is such a good read – Chernow makes it interesting; it doesn’t feel like you’re just reading about history, but just really digging into someone’s (fascinating!) life. And The Royal We is SUCH a fun read, I love the Fug Girls!


I just finished When Breathe Becomes Air and it was incredible. Totally taking some recommendations for myself!


This post came at a perfect time! I’m looking for some last minute gifts and I think some of these books will be perfect!


Love this! I think we have very similar taste in books so I’d love to see more book recommendations here and there on your blog. 🙂

I’m actually gifting two books this year- a cookbook for my mom and one on investing for my brother who’s been really into that lately.

I’m going to check these out too!


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, I think everyone in my life has received this as a gift.


I *loved* The Boys in the Boat–it brought back all of the things that made me fall in love with rowing. I also didn’t make it through all four years on my college team–the book didn’t make me regret that choice, but it did make me miss being on the water.

Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

I love browsing secondhand bookstores for books to gift; there’s nothing like a read, worn, and loved book! Of the books you’ve recommended, I’ve read When Breath Becomes Air, Holes, and All the Light We Cannot See. I remember you raving about Presence earlier but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! I’d probably also consider gifting Turtles All the Way Down by John Green to any YA lover, though I haven’t read the book myself yet haha, but I have no doubt that it’ll be a wonderful read. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s


Great recommendations! I have been wanting to read When Breath Becomes Air! Joanna Goddard, the founder of one of my other favourite blogs – Cup of Jo – is the sister of the author’s wife. She had shared parts of Paul’s (and her sister Lucy’s) story over the years on her blog, and it is truly incredible! Not gonna lie, have ugly-cried reading some of those posts!


Thanks for the suggestions, Carly! I’ve been searching for a couple of books for gifts and there’s a few I’m going to pick up from this list! Xo


Such a great list! The Defining Decade is a life changing book. It’s certainly a great older sibling gift- gives a lot of objective advice without you having to say it!