Gift Guide: New Books for Every Member of the Family


Picking out gifts for your loved ones can be one of the most difficult parts of the holiday season. Not only that, but for some reason, picking out books for other people is a lot harder than just picking out a sweater in red or blue. After all, you’re hoping that the recipient will spend hours in rapt attention with your gift, so you have to choose wisely, and you can’t just give the same book to your whole list the way some people give out gift baskets to everyone they know. To help you out while you’re making these monumental decisions, we’ve collected some suggestions of new books for every member of the family — from your nosy aunt to that post-pimply cousin who just made it through puberty. Click through to check out our list, and let us know which books you’re giving to your loved ones this holiday season in the comments.

For the literary sister that misses David Foster Wallace SO MUCH:

Pulphead , John Jeremiah Sullivan

Because with his devastatingly good book of pop culture essays, Sullivan will manage to fill that DFW-shaped hole in her bookshelf and be his own bright new thing all at once.

For your kid brother when the folks are getting him down:

The Family Fang , Kevin Wilson

Because trust us, some kids have it worse. And hey, you’ll always have each other.

For your TV-crazy, boy-crazy, crazy-crazy little sister:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) , Mindy Kaling

Because if you can’t get through to her, Mindy will. Plus, you can borrow it after.

For your grown up niece with a witty streak:

Falling For Me , Anna David

Because every girl can use a best-friend-in-a-book, and this one is a winner: funny, smart, and brutally honest.

For your sad young literary nephew:

Leaving the Atocha Station , Ben Lerner

Because any self-loathing poet-in-training will see himself in Lerner’s muddled protagonist — or wish he did. Plus, it’s like, the coolest indie press book going around right now.

For the cousin who’s over Twilight, but you know, still kind of likes vampires and werewolves and stuff:

The Last Werewolf , Glen Duncan

Because finally he’ll have something sexy, insane and violent that he can read without shame in public, and hey, he might actually like it better.

For your witty dreamer of a mom:

Swamplandia! , Karen Russell

Because after all the fairy tales she read you, she deserves a surreal masterpiece with a little bite.

For the sports dad:

The Art of Fielding , Chad Harbach

Because everyone’s reading it. And, baseball!

For the mom with an adventurous streak:

State of Wonder , Ann Patchett

Because she’ll be transported.

For indoorsy dads:

The Tragedy of Arthur , Arthur Phillips

Because he’ll have fun picking it all apart.

For your fun uncle:

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them , Donovan Hohn

Because this is one story you’re going to want to hear at the dinner table later.

For the nosy aunt:

The Psychopath Test , Jon Ronson

Because she’s judging everyone anyway — she might as well know what she’s talking about.