Your last minute holiday gift guide

Laura Davulis—

It happens: you put off your holiday shopping until the last minute, you start panicking, maybe you procrastinate a little more (perhaps by writing a holiday gift guide) until you can’t put it off anymore: you must go to a bookstore. With their huge inventory on a massive variety of topics, bookstores are the very definition of something for everyone. Need a little help? Here are some last-minute suggestions for everyone on your list.




Your cousin who’s been backpacking around the world — Restless Valley, by Philip Shishkin.  It’s a gripping account of recent history in the Ferghana Valley, which encompasses parts of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Multiple revolutions, murders, intrigue, mystery: this book has it all.




Your little sister who came out of the closet at Thanksgiving — A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, edited by Valerie Steele. What makes clothing “gay?” This gorgeous volume will help her figure it out.





Your dad who loves war movies — The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire by Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy.  Bring this one up the next time your dad says you’re not living up to your potential: this study of ten of the most prominent British military leaders argues that though they led brilliantly, they were constantly stymied by turmoil at home.





Your aunt who loves to garden — A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch.  What did the founding fathers grow in their gardens, and how did they eat their produce? This book is beautiful, informative, and delicious.

What if your giftee already has a stack of books-to-be-read that teeters dangerously?  A bookish life requires some accessories, and any bookworm would be happy to receive a thoughtful gift to support their reading life.




Every reader needs a throw blanket to keep them warm while they’re lost in a book. The ideal reading blanket is warm, soft, and large enough to cover the average adult from mid-torso to ankle — about 5 to 6 feet long. I’m partial to these throw blankets from Ireland, but if you’re doing your last minute shopping on this side of the pond, stop by West Elm and pick up one of these.

There’s nothing like a nice cup of tea to go with a book. A whole pot of black tea will leave your reader with the jitters, though — why not pick up some green tea with mint, or maybe a nice herbal blend? I buy my teas at Harney & Sons or check out your local tea shop.





Your reader is going to have occasionally get up to refill her tea — why not get her a nice pair of fuzzy slippers? And by “nice,” I do mean the most ridiculous slippers you can find. carries a wide variety of silly slippers for adults, including unicorns, legos, and heated s’mores slippers.





Finally, how about a cat? Felines are the perfect companions for readers: in addition to being warm and fuzzy, a cat, when curled up on a lap, can be used to prop up a book for easier reading.  Look, I’m not suggesting that you wrap a cat and put it under the tree, but why not wrap up a copy of Bathus: Cats and Girls and then, oh, what a coincidence, we’re driving by the animal shelter!
Maybe we could just go in for a second and look around?  No harm in that, is there?

LauraDavulisLaura Davulis is the Associate Editor and Development Editor for Digital Projects at Yale University Press.

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