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holiday gift guide: bookworm by susan giffen

Ampersand Design Studio


I'm so excited to share a gift guide by my mom, Susan Giffen, today. I personally love giving and receiving books as gifts and I knew right off the bat that my mom was the one to go to for a literary gift guide. She is a voracious reader and happens to be a word person by trade (she was an editor for Hallmark for 25 years!) When I ask her: "Have you read_____ (fill in the blank with any book)," she rarely says no. So if you still need something for a reader on your list, here is a sampling for all different interests. Happy reading! Thanks, mom, for being our personal librarian! Love you, Carrie

Some summaries from my mom:

1. The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz
This big book of ideas is for kids (no matter the age) who still love their Legos. There are hints from Master Builders, tips on easy modifications and templates to create new and different things. The pictures in this colorful book will inspire anyone to try at least the hot air balloon or the giraffe…maybe even the 3-D mosaics. Fun.

2. What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-Ups from Children’s Books  Compiled by Amy Gash
Filled with charming quotations from familiar children’s books and the not-so familiar children’s books, What the Dormouse Said offers wisdom and advice that is organized into categories such as “Eating Habits” and “Faith and Courage” and “Love and Friendship.” Mostly this book reminds adults to remember what it was like to be kids.

3. The Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Sometimes we just need a reminder of what the holiday season is supposed to be about. This sweet book, from the author of Fried Green Tomatoes and other heartwarming books, gives us just that. Filled with kind people, redemption and a hint of miracles, it will add a warm glow to your Chistmas

4. The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

For those of you who were blown away by the Steig Larsson’s “The Girl Who” books, here’s another series from a Swedish author that offers fascinating stories and great character development. It’s best to read them in order (this the last of the ten in the series but I'd start with either The Pyramid or The Dogs of Riga.) The main character, Wallender,  shows what it is to be a police inspector and keep his decency and humanity while dealing with the ugliness of life.

5. Social Q’s: How to survive Quirks, Quandaries And Quagmires of Today by Philip Galanes
Offers suggestions for what to do in situations that happen TODAY. Definitely not your grandmother’s Emily Post Etiquette book. From the popular Social Q’s column in the New York Times, Galanes answers questions about in-laws, email, dating and entertaining…and not questions like “Which fork should I use.”

6.  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The clever title lets the reader know that this mystery is set in Mississippi.  Set in 1970, two men who were friends as children confront their pasts and the reasons they’ve been estranged for years. Poverty, racial tension, and suspicion add to the plot but the complexity of the relationship and the possibility of forgiveness and redemption are the real story and make it much more than the average "who done it."

7. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

This is much more than a futuristic re-telling of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as it’s sometimes been called in reviews. Yes, the accused is singled out for her “sin” of abortion. But in this futuristic society, Hannah is chemically turned red and shunned like the other Chromes (different colors for different crimes). But, as she grows more confident, she begins to defy the ultra-conservative society she lives in and look realistically at the affair that resulted in her pregnancy. A great read for book clubs.

8. Baseball: An Illustrated History by Ken Burns
Anyone who loves baseball and has enjoyed the historic PBS baseball series can look forward to the upcoming new, two-part Tenth Inning. This is a companion book to all the series and includes information related to the newest Tenth Inning. It includes essays by well-known sports writers and an interview with Buck O’Neil.