Hello Readers!

Books make the best gifts. Of course, I believe that; however, let me lay out the facts: Books entertain and/or inform. They're relatively inexpensive. They give people the gift of a whole new experience or way of viewing the world. They can be wrapped easily. They can be either intensely personal or pleasantly generic. They are the kind of gift good for both your significant other and the coworker you barely know but pulled in the Secret Santa drawing. They are perfect. 

And then, sharing books is a special thing, like sharing a little piece of yourself. I feel this most often with my kids; some of my greatest joys as a parent have been giving them books that I loved at their ages, like The Egypt Game, and watching them get lost in the same story, or getting lost with them in a story new to all of us, like The Wild Robot. But getting a book from a friend by an author you've both loved for years, or demanding your husband read the best new book in the one genre you both enjoy — well, those are pretty delightful as well, in my experience. I don't think I'm alone. 

I asked the other night on social media for the best book gifts people had ever received. Dozens of people shared the books they were delighted to open and treasured long after the occasion: science books, signed copies, and so many childhood favorites. For me — and for many other women who were girls in the '80s — the Little House series box set was the gift we read to pieces. Don't you want to give someone a gift they'll love for 30 years and beyond, even after it literally begins to fall apart at the edges? 

Of course you do, and Make America Read wants to help with book-giving suggestions.

For lovers of history and nonfiction: Founding Brothers, Killers of The Flower Moon, Vital Little Plans

For mystery junkies: Since We Fell, old school Agatha Christie in beautiful covers, The Bullet

For young professionals: The AnimatorsAmericanah, Exit West

For readers — the people in your life who always are recommending books to you: Men We Reaped, To The Bright Edge of The World; Boy, Snow, Bird

For cooks: Smitten Kitchen, vol. 1 or 2; A Homemade Life, Runner's World Cookbook (I am not a runner; I love the food from this book.) 

Picture books: I Want My Hat Back, Penguin Problems, Chicken Soup with Rice

Tweens: (these came from my own boys) Raina Telgemeier's graphic novels, James Patterson's Middle School series, Ender's Game

Teens or anyone who loves YA:
The Hate U Give, Ember in The Ashes, The Scorpio Races.

These are all generic ideas pulled from my own reading and gift lists. They'd work for many people. But ideally, whatever book you give will be one of two things to the recipient: either a sweet reminder of a time or interest you share, or a thoughtful connection to something you know they love.

You know who can help you with this? Who can take something like, "I don't know. I think he likes cars," and turn it into a great book recommendation? Your local independent bookstore.

Here's hoping we all add to our TBR pile this holiday season.

— Hillary 

What I'm reading

The favorite: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado
Some stories are better than others in this collection, but all of them are fiercely feminine. My favorite was the first, The Husband Stitch, a dreamy, updated take on the old story of the girl with the velvet ribbon.  

Up next: The Regulars, Georgia Clark
I chatted just for a minutes with Kayla Rae Whitaker, who wrote one of my favorite books of the year, The Animators, at a book festival recently. Of course I asked what she was reading, and this was it. 

Read Harder: Still taking suggestions for titles to fill the categories I'm missing.

Tell me what you're reading!

Reading links
"Epic stories about small places." Sherman Alexie perfectly explains Louise Erdich's greatness in this Buzzfeed profile. Excited about her new novel, Future Home of The Living God

Gucci Mane's memoir sounds pretty great, too. Read voraciously and omnivorously, people. 

I'm still thinking about Little Fires Everywhere. (Which is why I'll be leading a discussion on it this spring at The Mercantile.) If you are, too, you might be interested in this view from a native of Shaker Heights, the picture-perfect community at the heart of Celeste Ng's novel.

Facing cancer, finding solace in book stores. 

The stories behind Gatsby and other classics. 

Ask A Publisher

Have you ever wondered how your favorite books get published? Why certain books get all the buzz?
Luckily for us, the Make America Read community includes Jennifer Canzoneri of BenBella Books, and she is ready to answer all your publishing questions.
Email your publishing questions, and keep an eye on this space in upcoming newsletters for the answers.
Housekeeping note: I use Amazon affiliate links for books throughout this newsletter.
If you purchase books through these links, I will earn a small commission, which I probably will spend on books. 
Copyright © *2017* *Make America Read Again*, All rights reserved.

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