The Book-Lover's Holiday Gift Guide / by Madeleine

It's that time of year again (hooray!) and if you're anything like me, you're at least attempting to get your holiday list checked off without having to panic in mid-December. No worries, because I'm here to help. Below you'll find gift ideas (both books and bookish things) for all of the bookworms in your life. And while we'll all be celebrating around the Thanksgiving table tomorrow, now is a great time to seek out these easy-peasy gifts. 

P.S. As always, I encourage you to shop local at your independent bookstore, however I understand that many readers -- including myself -- sometimes purchase books from big corporations such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In that case, I would encourage you to keep an eye out for steals & deals on Black Friday!

 For the Mystery Lover


For fans of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louise Penny's Still Life is the perfect gift. This is the first in a (growing) series of twelve novels about the elegant Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, and my current favorite series (currently working my way through the eighth).

Other ideas: The Charles Lenox Mysteries (review here) & The Veronica Speedwell series (review here)

For the Nonfiction Fanatic


Though I am not a huge fan of nonfiction, I have a few go-to recommendations. Empty Mansions always tops the list. Fascinating, mysterious, and great for any reader interested in stories of wealth and the gilded age in America. You can read my review of it here.

Other nonfiction titles that top my list: In the Heart of the Sea (review here) & these two happy reads

For the Dystopian Die-Hard


For grown-up fans of the genre, Drew Magary's The Postmortal is a little-known but excellent work of dystopian fiction. It's totally outside my wheelhouse but I flew through it and found it very impactful.

Other ideas: Station Eleven & one of my all-time favorite classics (not dystopian but similar tone)

For the Historical Fiction Devotee


I'll admit that my tendency within historical fiction leans towards the lighter side (I prefer it to be a fun escape rather than a serious historical exploration), so if you have a bookish friend with similar taste, I'd recommend any of Michelle Moran's books, including Madame Tussaud, Cleopatra's Daughter (review here), and The Heretic Queen

Other historical fiction finds: The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy & The Tudor Trilogy

For the Janeite 


For fans of Jane Austen, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a clever and intricate novel with a heroine that reminded me very much of Elizabeth Bennet.

Other ideas: The Flight of Gemma Hardy (based off of Jane Eyre) & The Austen Project series

For the Contemporary Fiction Fan


This book has been big in my reading circle (a book club pick from this summer), but I haven't seen much about it on other platforms. Its focus on past lives puts it somewhere on the line of supernatural fiction, but it's examination of society's approach to death and the afterlife and the relationship between parent and child anchors it firmly in the realm of contemporary fiction. In one word: contemplative.


Bookish Gifts (That aren't Books)



For the audiobook fan, a subscription to Audible or a favorite book.









Beautiful Book Collections


Penguin Clothbound Classics (love the whimsy!)

Customizable Harry Potter Sets (warning, expensive)

In Bloom Book Collection by Rifle Paper Co. (my personal favorite & on my wish list)


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As always, if you're looking for a personal recommendation, feel free to contact me at topshelftext@gmail.com. I'm happy to help both gift lists and wish lists alike.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations (if you're in the U.S.), and see you back here next week for some more bookish talk!

Happy Reading!
-Madeleine-