Jesse Cutler Review in Valley Planet

Gift Guide for the Book Lover (Part One)

By Terri Schlichenmeyer


Every year, your holiday list gets longer but your budget gets shorter. You’d love to be uber-generous but money is tight in your house this year. You’d make gifts for everybody, but time is tight, too. Your kids need something for their teacher. You’d like to remember the mailman, delivery people, your mechanic, the lady who took such good care of your Grandma. The list grows, but the money doesn’t.


But don’t despair. Books still make great gifts, and they last! Prices on books have held stable – some books have even gone down in price – and there’s something for almost everybody. For instance, take a look at these

So it’s going to be a year of Bar or Bat Mitzvahs for your family. Remember your own celebration and read about the memories of celebrities in “Mazel Tov” by Jil Rappaport, photographs by Linda Solomon. This book is funny and heartfelt and would make a great gift for celeb watchers or the parents or grandparents of the lucky new “adult”.

The holidays can be a romantic time, so why not match it with a different kind of love story: “The Geography of Love” by Glenda Burgess. This is the story of love against all sorts of roadblocks, love against all the quirky things life can throw at two people. Be aware that this isn’t some fluffy paperback novel. It’s a true story, and very satisfying for anyone who believes in the impossible.

*Do you need to buy a gift for someone who yearns to be famous someday? Then wrap up “Starlust: The Price of Fame” by Jesse Cutler. This cautionary true story is about a guy who did everything right on the path to fame, but may now be the most famous person you’ve never heard of. Bonus gift: a portion of the proceeds of this book go to benefit Habitat for Humanity and music education through the Guitar Center Music Foundation.

Is there an armchair scientist on your gift list? Then you can’t go wrong with “The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment” by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich. This fascinating book is not for a lightweight; it’s filled with hypotheses, insight, and ideas for thinkers. This is a perfect gift for someone who loves to study culture, but will also be a great gift for anyone who’s trying to “go green” this year. Also look for “Going Green” by Sally Kneidel, PhD and Sadie Kneidel, which is a book about shopping carefully to help do your part to lower our carbon footprint; and “Llwewllyn’s 2009 Green Living Guide, a book filled with ideas and tips.

Who’s making your holiday dinner this year? Whoever it is, the cook will love a nice hostess gift of cookbooks. Keep your eyes peeled (and your stomach warm) with “Enlightened Soups” by Camilla V. Saulsbury or “The Military Wives’ Cookbook” by Carolyn Quick Tillery. Either of them are sure to get you invited back. I mean, somebody’s got to do the taste-testing, right? Also, remember those Foxfire books? They were filled with stories and hints from folks who spent their lives in the Appalachians. Well, if you know someone who loved that series, they’ll eat up “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine” by Joseph E. Dabney. This cool cookbook contains some of the same kinds of stories, plus recipes that you won’t find in your Joy of Cooking book.

Looking for something for the pop-historian on your list? Pick up “Peaches & Daddy” by Michael M. Greenburg. This is the (true) story of the Roaring 20’s, a romantic scandal, and the birth of those wonderful tabloid papers. Wrap it in newspaper (a tabloid, naturally) and give it with a grin. Another cool pop-history book to find is “A Pocketful of History” by Jim Noles, a book about the state quarters and why they were designed the way they were designed.

See? There are lots of gift choices when you head to a bookstore. Be sure to remember bookmarks, check out the audiobooks, too, and ask the bookstore people if you’re completely stumped. They know books, and they’re overjoyed to help you. Look for more gift suggestions in the next issue of the Valley Planet!

Season’s Readings!