bookgift I’ve seen various tweets and blog comments about giving books as gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah. On the one hand, it’s a brilliant idea. I keep a downright scary number of books around the house, but I don’t buy enough to support the publishing world or my favorite authors singlehandedly. Still, books are so subject to personal taste that I find it a little agonizing to figure out which ones would be the perfect gift for someone.

A few people on my list are easy. My husband reads only nonfiction, but I know which historians and legal writers he likes, so I can usually come up with a book or two for him. Since he reads AAR sometimes, I’m not going to say what those might be this year, though. My mother is also a fairly easy one for me since we’ve been sharing books since I was in middle school. She also has a number of authors whom she quite openly adores and most who know her know this. Since two of them happen to be Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer and her old copies from the 1960s are either falling to bits or have gone missing over the years, I have access to beautiful reprints of their books for her.

One of my close friends has similar tastes in paranormal romance and urban fantasy to mine, so I’ve been having fun introducing her to authors. Last year it was the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. This year I’m thinking of either Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac books or perhaps some Riley Jenson or Lori Handeland’s Phoenix Chronicles.

After that, I have to confess I’m fresh out of ideas. I usually get a cookbook for the office white elephant party, but of my friends offline, I really can’t think of too many people whose reading tastes I know well enough to select books that I know they would like. And there’s just something about a bad book choice that seems to reflect on the giver more so than with other gifts. Perhaps the recipient just can’t help feeling a little slighted and wondering how well a giver truly knows her if that giver thought she would squee with delight and stay up nights reading Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.

I used to feel like I was being lazy if I gave people gift cards to Amazon or brick and mortar bookstores. However, I know that I LOVE getting bookstore gift cards because I have fun just sitting down and deciding what books are “cardworthy”. I figure I can’t possibly be the only one who gets blissed out over books, so this year I’m not going to obsess. And maybe if I find out what my friends get with their gift cards this year, I’ll learn a little something about them that I didn’t already know.

So, how about you? Do you like to pick out books for people as gifts? What’s out there that would be “cardworthy” for you?

-Lynn Spencer