RecommendationsTalk about books


The good and bad thing about being friends with me is that, most of the time, I give books as gifts.*

But I think that after all these years of practice, I have learned how to choose the perfect book for everyone. And if not the perfect book, at least something they will actually read and not just throw in a drawer forever.

Here’s my easy guide on finding books to give as gifts!

*”Why?” Would you ask. “Why do you always give books as gifts?” Because books are awesome, timeless, reusable, useful, entertaining, educational and I like them a lot.

How to find books to give as gifts

1. Find a movie they LOVE

This is the easiest way to find a good book for someone, especially for people who don’t read a lot but have an open mind about books. The movie method could work in three different ways:

  • Find their favorite movieor maybe their Top 10 favorites– and check if it is based on a book (it probably is). If they haven’t read the book, SCORE! I believe that, most of the time, reading a book after watching the movie will enrich a story and probably improve future rewatchs.
  • Find their favorite animated movie. Extra points if your loved ones are Disney fans since they make BEAUTIFUL art books about their movies. Books like The Art of Tangled, The Art of Wreck-It Ralph and The Art of How to Train your Dragon (Not only Disney makes these books!) often include insightful interviews with the artists and animators behind the film, on top of showing tons of sketches and illustrations.
  • Find their favorite movie genre/style. I use this method when I’m looking for books for my parents. I obviously know which kind of movies they like since I often give them movies as gifts too. For example, I know that my mom likes to watch romance movies AND movies with female protagonists from the 80’s and 90s’s, so I got her Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg. She loved it! She liked it so much that she read three other books from the same collection that year (and she’s not an avid reader).

2. Look into their hobbies

Careful with this one, though. If you are not completely sure about someone’s interests, better to go with a safest and more thoughtful choice. (You don’t want to end up being like the old aunt that once saw you wearing a sweater with an elephant print and, from that moment, decided that you love elephants and now gives you elephant themed gifts every time).

  • A hobby they love. Every hobby has its bible, you just have to look really well. When I got really into makeup I bought myself the Making Faces book by Kevin Aucoin. A book like this would be perfect for a makeup enthusiast because it includes history, techniques and professional photographs by a renowned makeup artist.  You just need to find someone’s favorite hobby and Google will do the rest. BUT, be careful when choosing the book. You want to get something that will offer useful information! For example, if someone LOVES baking cakes and has been doing it for years, don’t give them a “Baking for Begginers” book. You need to do your research, ask on Internet forums or read reviews before buying.
  • A hobby they want to get into. Here is where you can buy “Baking for Begginers” and the like. I think that, every time I get into a new hobby, I buy a book to go with it. Even though the Internet is full of free resources and tutorials, there’s something special about having a printed guide to help you in your journey. I’ve gotten cross-stitch books, watercolor books and books about preparing pretty lunches to go. There are also more in depth books such as On Writing by Stephen King, for people who want to improve their writing skills. Or Strong Curves, a book about fitness and nutrition for women.

3. Look into their interests

Maybe they LOVE a certain thing even if they don’t treat it as a hobby. (But, of course, if they LOVE a certain thing so much, you might want to give them that thing as a gift instead of a book. Especially with kids and teenagers, since they can’t afford to buy a lot of things themselves.)

  • A subject they can talk about forever. I have a friend who loves videogames, physics and reading scientific research articles. And even though all these things involve reading, he told me he didn’t like to read, because books never grabbed his attention. “Oh well,” – I told him- “I bet you wouldn’t like this fun Nikola Tesla autobiography I just bought, would you?“.  He actually read it, and we later talked about it and had fun. Because, I think, most of the time people will find a book they like even if they ‘don’t like to read‘. Of course, this is not about forcing people to read if they don’t want to**. Said friend also bought himself the The Legend of Zelda book with the fictional history of one of his favorite videogame franchises. You can look into other interests in the same way, like philosophy, history, a specific country or culture, a language, a brand, a franchise, a personality or anything they like. I’ve gotten books about the history of mathematics, the Romanov family and extremely funny webcomics. So I am sure that there’s truly a book for everyone.

**I might have forced my friend, but that’s because that’s how we treat each other. He also makes me play his favorite videogame, which I’m terrible at, so we are even. 

What do you think about giving books as gifts? Do you do it? Is there a specific book you like to gift? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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