I love giving books as a gift. It is such a good feeling when I read a book and just know that someone close to me will love it as much as I do. Here are some of my favorite books from over the years… books I’ve loved so much that they keep a permanent spot on my book shelf (usually I pass along when I finish something), or buy for friends and family as gifts. They are all a little different (from inspiring to educational to just downright enjoyable) but they are all so good for their own reasons.
My Favorite Books to Give as Gifts!
one // Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain
This is one of my favorite books… ever? It’s especially great if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant. It’s older so may be a gamble that your recipient has already read it but I love this book and think about it often. I gave a copy to my dad last year and he loved it even more than I did.
two // World Travel, an Irreverent Guide, by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever
This is the perfect gift for the foodie/traveler in your life! It’s really fun to page through (and even more fun to daydream about your next big trip).
three // Save Me The Plums, by Ruth Reichl
Another foodie pick! I gush about this book pretty much constantly, Ruth Reichl is amazing and has had the most brilliant career and this is her memoir of her time spent as editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine. It’s equally exciting and salacious (love the Conde Nast inside scoop/gossip) as it is beautifully written and an ode to all of the amazing food in New York.
four // The Selection, by Kiera Cass
This is not great writing but so fun. Buy this for the stressed out friend who needs an escape (get her the sequels to be prepared, haha). It’s The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games and just a fun escape. Fun fact: it was our first ever Bad on Paper book club pick!
five // City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is just such a wonderful book. I didn’t include it for any reason other than that I just enjoyed it so much. It’s beautifully written and researched and an ode to New York in its most glamorous era (with incredible, feminist storytelling). I rarely re-read fiction but will absolutely re-read this one at some point!
six // Circe, by Madeline Miller
Similar to City of Girls, I just really love this book and didn’t include it for any deeper reason than that! I personally really love mythology and think it would be a great gift for anyone who loves that sort of thing or really anyone who just appreciates great writing and an epic saga.
seven // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is a favorite book to give just because I love it so much. It is my favorite of all of TJR’s books, one of those books that just sucks you in because you just need to know what happens. It’s got glitz and glamour heartbreak… it’s just SO good!
eight // My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
This is such a beautifully written book (and there are three more!) I would buy this for a best friend who loves to read and read them together.
nine // The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
This is probably my favorite book of 2021. I think it would be the perfect gift to give anyone who is going through a lot of change or experiencing self-doubt. My takeaway from the book was that regret is futile, we are right where we are supposed to be, and everything will be okay. It is a lovely book and I have given it to at least 5 friends. I want everyone I know to read it!
ten // The Magical Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom
This is a magical, musical, saga… perfect for the musical friend in your life (or anyone, really… it’s such a beautiful, uplifting book!) Absolutely unforgettable.
eleven // A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
This is such a fun book. All of my girlfriends loved it too. I feel like there are so many books about witches but they get cheesy or feel YA-y (nothing wrong with that but this is a more serious witchy read if that makes sense). Love this book!!!
twelve // Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell-Lee
I did a longer review of this book but just loved it so much. This is a great way to learn a little bit more about design and why the things that make us happy make us happy. I found it SO interesting.
thirteen // Modern Love, by Daniel Jones
This is another go-to gift of mine. It’s a collection of essays (from the popular New York Times column) and it’s just so heartwarming and lovely. Some of the essays will make you cry, others feel like a warm hug… I LOVE this book.
fourteen // Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
The best best. This has been one of my go-to gifts for a while now because it is just packed with inspiration. A must-read for anyone in a creative field, anyone in a bit of a rut, or anyone who wants to get back in touch with their creative side.
fifteen // The Chiffon Trenches, by Andre Leon Talley
This was one of my favorite books last year – it’s Andre Leon Talley’s memoir and absolutely fascinating. He has led such an incredible life and had an amazing career. It’s both salacious and inspiring. The perfect gift for anyone into fashion or in the world of publishing/magazines.
sixteen // We’re Speaking, by Hitha Palepu
This has already been purchased for both of my sisters. This book is for all of the women in your life.. it’s a guide to stepping into your power and finding your voice! It’s part biography/part self-help, and such an inspiring book. I think it would be an especially good book for the younger women in your life… I’d want my niece to read it when she’s in high school.
seventeen // Collective Wisdom, by Grace Bonney
This is more of a coffee table book, but it is such a good one… Similar to We’re Speaking, I’d say give it to any woman in your life. Grace Bonney profiles over a hundred incredible trailblazing women… all over the age of 50. The book is packed with wisdom, life lessons, and inspiration.
eighteen // Attached, by Amir Levine
This is a helpful guide to understanding attachment styles and relationships. I feel like reading it opened my eyes about so many things – both about myself and past partners. Really helpful and educational, and also just interesting… it will spark a lot of conversations.
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