In the past I haven’t jumped on the gift giving bandwagon of blogging. Primarily because I felt like it was a saturated market and I didn’t have a unique point of view. This year is different though, I finally found a little space to share with you guys so this marks the first gift guide on the blog! I am an avid reader. From an early (I mean really early age) I was devouring books and literature. There’s something about reading that helps a person escape to a new place, invigorates the mind and spirit and takes you on a journey. I love that books inspire imagination!
Now being in a digital age reading is now available in a variety of mediums. If you are looking to give a heartfelt gift to a loved one consider buying a book, subscription to a magazine or even an e-reader gift card to inspire someone to take their own journey into the world of words. Here are my top picks for reading this year (all of these are books, magazines or literature I’ve ACTUALLY read.)
Little Women - If you follow along on my Instagram stories you probably have seen my hunt for this antique book. Although I own two copies (one was gifted and in a beautiful hardcover while the other was one found at a local antique book shop) there is nothing more satisfying that opening a beautiful hardcover book. Little Women was a book my father told me to read at the age of 8. It’s a long novel about four sisters and their journey through life. Disclaimer: You may want to add a beautiful package of tissues to this gift. Unless you are someone who has no soul you will definitely shed a tear throughout this book. It’s a perfect gift for the young and old!
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays - I picked up my copy at the same antique bookstore but this can also be easily ordered online. Emerson was a profound pillar in the transcendentalist movement in American literature. His essays cover a multitude of topics including history, family, and life in general. He’s one of my favorite authors and this is a perfect gift for the person who thinks on a deeper level.
Conversations with God - I read this three part trilogy back in college and have continued to pick it up from time to time ever since. It’s literally a conversation written by Neale Donald Walsh and his experiences talking with God. It’s forward thinking and each of the three parts covers a different aspect of life. The first book focuses on practical application for the individual. The second part is centered around global topics and the third covers metaphysics. It’s mind blowing! This gift is great for a college student or someone pursuing spirituality.
Lord, Only You Can Change Me - This is written by Kay Arthur who is a well known bible teacher. She discusses the ever famous Sermon on the Mount in an inductive style bible study. The book can be used alone or in a group setting and has questions throughout to inspire your reaction. This is a study anyone can go through although I would recommend no younger than high school level. I actually went through this book my senior year with a college mentor I had and we used it on coffee dates for discussion.
Tuesdays With Morrie - This is another tear jerker. Be prepared. I’m not the biggest crier, but this one got me! It’s a story about how to deal with emotions and written by Mitch Album and his dialogue with an old professor who has been diagnosed with ALS. The wisdom presented in this book is astounding although it’s a shorter read.
Magnolia Journal - Can I say Joanne and Chip did it again? This magazine is produced seasonally with handpicked recommendations, products and well thought out articles. With a farmhouse style emphasis Joanne and Chip write about family experiences, crafted recipes and how to entertain wholeheartedly. This is a great gift for anyone who loves to entertain, craft or just looking to add inspiration in their life.
Martha Stewart Living - I have to share something… I’m a Martha nut! I have been buying her magazine for almost 15 years now. Next to Instyle, it’s my favorite! Her photography is exquisite and the directions are always step by step. One caveat: Be prepared to take your time when crafting or creating something from her instructions. Most everything I’ve made from her cookbooks, magazines and crafts have turned out but usually take longer than expected. My grandmother taught me so much about baking but it was Martha who taught me how to cook. This is a perfect gift for the homebody or someone aspiring to learn more about classic cooking.
Martha Stewart Baking Handbook - After this I promise to get off my Martha rampage but this baking handbook has been on my shelves for a decade. Like her magazine the cookbook has beautiful pictures and detailed instructions. From this very book I’ve learned to make chewy double chocolate brownie cookies, a New York Style Cheesecake, and made from scratch Apple Pie. It’s the holy grail of baking books!
Williams Sonoma Slow Cooker Recipes - Here is a book inspired by recipes all over the world. The recipes include Mexican Mole, French Tarragon Chicken, and even Indian Dal. I received as a gift about a decade ago along with a large slow cooker. This is great for anyone who has a family and serves large portions! Most of the recipes require about 30 minutes of prep and then the rest of the cooking time is done in a slow cooker. I will say probably not best suited for a dorm student because it does require using a stove. It’s the perfect gift for family and friends!
Books to Inspire
Success: My Path to a Meaningful Life - This book was written by Gisele the famous Victoria Secret model on her path to finding a meaningful life. I was surprised by her earthy nature and it’s in fact the opposite of what you might expect for a supermodel. She shares about her struggle with anxiety, how she parents, and desire to positively impact the world. This is a great book for someone going through a tough time!
Whiskey in a Tea Cup - Reese does it again! I swear everything she touches is pure gold. This is a charming collection of Southern traditions with a sweet spin. Her narrative is witty and the book is a perfect addition to any coffee table. It would be adorable to add a vintage teacup and craft whiskey bottle when giving this one!
Books for the Kiddos
Mary Poppins - This is such a beautiful copy of Mary Poppins with illustrations and with so many classic children stories premiering in 2019 this makes an excellent prologue into the year. You can gift it along with a copy of the movie or even purchase tickets in advance to go see the film upon release! You can also add a bucket of movie popcorn and their favorite candy if you’d like it!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - This series is a great collection for children who are beginning to enter into reading chapter books. You can purchase the entire collection or just start with a couple of the books. We actually found a version of the book so that you can have your child fill in!
Get Epic - This is actually an app you can purchase a subscription for a kiddo. It gives them access to tons of books and many schools allow this on campus! In fact, we found out about it from our daughter’s reading teacher. It’s less than $10 a month and will allow a child to read more books on a tablet, phone or computer. Great for long car rides and traveling!
Books Full of Suspense
Sharp Objects - I’m sure you’ve seen the previews and advertisements for this HBO mini series starring Amy Adams and while the series was a great depiction of the story, the book is even better. There are so many details in the book that keep you on your seat and fill in where the series doesn’t dialogue. It’s written by the same author of Gone Girl and has a twist I couldn’t see coming! This is a book appropriate for an adult who wants to spend the afternoon curled up with a good book and cup of coffee. It’s one of those you just can’t put down once you start!
The Couple Next Door - This was listed on the NY Times Best Sellers and I actually read it on a plane flight. I oftentimes pick up books to read since I get a lot of anxiety around flying. The book is written in an interesting way where it flashes back to different parts of the abduction of a baby while a couple is attending a party next door at their neighbors.
The Shining - Although this was written decades ago, this is hands down my favorite Stephen King novel. It’s a MUCH shorter read than many of his other books and like Sharp Objects, the book gives more insight to the story than the movie version. Another fantastic gift when paired with a copy of the movie starring Jack Nicholson and directed by the ever impressing Stanley Kubrick.
I hope you guys really enjoy this list and find something perfect for a loved one. One of my favorite things that we do in my family is that when giving a book the gifter writes a loving message on the inside cover. From AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh to Dr. Suess’ Oh, the Places You Will Go! have heartfelt notes written from my parents. I encourage you to find meaningful gifts and attached a handwritten (or typed if your handwriting resembles that of a doctor’s - haha) for your recipient to keep forever.