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  • Writer's pictureAndrew J Brandt

Books to Gift this Holiday Season

Before we start, let's address the elephant in the room.

Yes, I totally stole this blog post idea from Andrew Monroe.

Now that we've got that out of the way...

Books make great holiday gifts. Whether sharing your favorite book, or a new release by your friend/loved one's favorite author, books are one of those rare gifts that keep on giving, long after the holiday has passed.

Here are my picks for the top 5 books to gift this holiday.

King has had a bit of a renaissance is recent years and The Institute is his latest. On its surface, it's the story of a boy who is plucked from his bed one night and taken to an Institute for kids with extraordinary mental powers. We're talking telekinesis and telepathy. This institute, ran by cold, heartless people, extract these powers as some government program. Underneath it, King's thesis here really is a diatribe on the way our current political environment treats children in captivity and how the people in charge become desensitized to that poor treatment. It's not classic King—no supernatural clowns here—but, as he's shown in recent years, his storytelling takes on our current zeitgeist and makes the reader turn inward for answers.

Neil Gaiman's beautiful prose is coupled with illustrations by artist Elise Hurst in this new edition of this beloved modern-day fairy tale. Ocean is a short novel, but enchanting, and it's about the age-old battle of good and evil and young and old. It's about memory, about friendships and about the things that we hide from ourselves when we grow up. And though there are several editions available—paperback, hardback, etc—this illustrated version was recently released and would make a beautiful and coveted addition to any book lover's collection.

This one is on my list because my son is a huge fan of Rhett & Link, the hosts of YouTube show Good Mythical Morning. He and his friends are constantly talking about these two YouTube guys, and this book is right up their alley, marketed as "Stranger Things meets the south." Set in the early 90's, it involves a small town in South Carolina where "bad kids" are sent to a reformatory, and suspicious teenage deaths are chocked up to succumbing to vices such as Marlboro Lights and Nirvana. It's a great thriller and makes me pine for the days of grunge music and flannel shirts.

A secret book club made up of Nashville's alpha men in order to get together to better understand the women in their lives? Sounds hilarious and fun, and that's exactly what this romance novel is. When Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage ends up in a crisis, he turns to an unlikely source of help: a group of men who get together to read a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess. With the coaching of his newfound friends, Gavin sets out to save his marriage. But it'll take more than flowery words for him to win his wife back.

For the fantasy lover in your life, this book, at its core, is the story of a heist gone wrong in a land of magic. A harrowing tale of two friends who narrowly escape certain death, A Leaf and Pebble is set in a peninsula full of elemental powers and magic. When these two friends set out to save their own lives and abandon their schooling, they must survive a shadowy group trying to turn their homeland into a warmongering kingdom.

I couldn't resist.

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