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Books Make the Best Gifts

Books Make the Best Gifts
  • On December 16, 2015

I have always been a giant book nerd.

I have vivid memories of spending the summer between my junior and senior years of high school curled up on my bed reading “War and Peace” for fun. (Shut up, Russian lit is my jam.)

It can be tough giving books as gifts, though, so here are some of my favorite books I read this year.


“Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valente

I picked up this book on the recommendation of one of the employees at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, (though Bell wrote a stellar review awhile back), and I pretty much devoured it in one sitting. It’s that good.

I knew nothing of the legend of Kolschei the Deathless, but I do love a good modernization of folklore story. This story blends legend, magical realism, actual history, mythology, and romance in an unforgettable tale.


“The End of All Things” by John Scalzi

The “Old Man’s War” series is great for anyone who loves military scifi, science fiction that doesn’t delve too deeply into the hardcore science, and snark. There’s a ton of snark.

The most recent entry, “The End of All Things,” (which I reviewed earlier this year) features one of my favorite characters from the series in a leading role.

Scalzi continues to write amazing and diverse characters, and this book is no different. It’s written as a series of novellas that each move forward the plot. It’s also a direct sequel to “The Human Division.” I’d recommend reading the whole series, but you don’t have to. Scalzi gives new readers enough information to get what’s going on.


“The Paladin Caper” by Patrick Weekes

This book broke my phone case.

No, really. I threw my phone across the room while reading it, but that’s part of Weekes’ charm.

“The Paladin Caper” is book three in the “Rogues of the Republic” series and continues to follow Loch and her friends. This time, they’re determined to stop the ancients from returning to the world they once ruled—current residents be damned.

Weekes is just so great at storytelling and banter. If you like having a lot of emotions about fictional characters, this whole series is an excellent buy.


“Power Up!” by Kate Leth and Matt Cummings

“Power Up!” is a six-issue comic run that explores what happens when ordinary people (and a goldfish) get superpowers.

It’s super cute and empowering and would be great for tween and teen readers.

It’s got a lovely tongue-in-cheek style that combines “Sailor Moon” and Scott Pilgrim, and the art is just so sweet.

Really, everyone just go pick these up, OK?

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“Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel” by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Craynor

So, I know I reviewed the print version of this book, but let me tell you something: The audiobook is the way to go for fans of the podcast.

Cecil Baldwin, the voice of Night Vale, narrates the book—though a couple other familiar voices show up, as does music by Disparition.

The book explains just what the hell is up with the Man in the Tan Jacket. It follows Jackie Fierro, owner of the pawn shop, andDiane Crayton, Night Vale Elementary PTA treasurer and mom, as they solve the mystery of King City and Diane’s son’s dad.

This is a must for fans of the Night Vale podcast.


The Spindle City Mysteries by Carlie St. George

The Book Smugglers published a trio of mysteries by Carlie St. George set in Spindle City—and thus continues my love of retellings of fairy tales and myths.

(We reviewed the first story, “The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper,” on Pancake Sex Book Club—and it was the first book we all loved.)

The stories combine fairy tales and noir mysteries. They’re gritty without diving into grimdark territory, which is absolutely not my jam.

St. George is a wonderful storyteller; honestly, my only complaint about the stories is that I want so much more. I could read books in this universe forever.


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