For about a month now, you’ve been on a mission.

You’ve been doing a bit of spying and stealth is the name of your game. Bravely, you’ve ventured forward in search of your prey, always aware, eyes constantly roving. You’re not sure what your target looks like, but you’re confident you’ll know it when you see it. Able to leap tall trees in a single bound, speedier than shoppers at a buy-one-get-one bin, more powerful than a seventy-five-percent-off sale, you’re invincible.

Whew. Holiday shopping is hard work.

So, how about some relief? How about one-stop shopping at your local bookstore, at tiny non-budget-busting prices? Here are some great suggestions to get you going (and to shorten your gift-buying load).

And, if none of these books are perfect, be sure to ask your favorite bookseller for his or her expert help because, hey, that’s what they’re paid to know, right?

Season’s Readings!

LGBT authors

Somebody on your gift list has a sense of humor. So wrap up “I Told You So” by Kate Clinton, because you know it will be a welcome present. This collection of essays is one of those books that will make your giftee call you to read passages aloud. Better yet, just borrow it back in the New Year.

If you know a child who loves dress-up, then pick up “10,000 Dresses” by Marcus Ewert, illustrations by Rex Ray. In this book, a little boy dreams of beautiful dresses and even though Bailey feels like a girl, everyone tells her otherwise. This cute book is perfect for questioning kids ages 4 to 7.

If you’re looking for something very unique for someone on your gift list, look for “In Jupiter’s Shadow” by Gregory Gerard. This is a true story about secrets, devoutness, and what happens when someone pokes them both to learn more about himself.

The music fan on your gift list will definitely want to read “Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division” by Jon Ginoli. An inside story of the first openly gay pop-punk band in America, it will appeal to anyone who played air (or real) guitar. Hint: wrap it up with a new CD or concert tickets.

Do you have a Drama Queen on your gift list? If so, give him (or her) more drama by wrapping up “The Collected Plays of Mart Crowley.” This book contains six complete plays, including “The Boys in the Band” and it will make your theater lover smile.

If your giftee loves a novel experience, then be sure to give “Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary” by Monica Nolan. This novel is, well, it’s about a lesbian secretary and the world of working women with passionate desires. Do I need to say that it’s humorous? Do I need to say that this is a book you give, if nothing but for the hilarious title and cool cover? More gifts to look for: “Where the Girls Are”, edited by D.L. King, (an anthology of lesbian erotica), and “Verge” by Z Egloff (a quirky story of love, bad decisions and filmmaking).


Without a doubt, there’s someone on your gift list who loves a mystery. That means you’re going to want to wrap up “Heat Wave” by Richard Castle. When a real estate tycoon falls to his death on a New York City sidewalk, it’s obvious that he didn’t just fall. It’s up to Detective Nikki Heat to turn up the heat on NYC bad guys in this hard-bitten novel. Also, try “The Big Wake-Up” by Mark Coggins (with a very noir 50’s cover).

Need a unique book for someone who loves the out-of-the-ordinary? Check out “Death Wish” by Nicole Cleaver. Following a tragedy, a woman escapes to another life where nobody knows her background and she tries to put her life together. When she meets a man she’s sure she can love again, well, let’s just say your giftee will want to take a bite out of this unusual novel.

If your giftee loves historical novels, there are lots to look for this holiday season. “The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire” by C.M. Mayo is based on the true story of the reign of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico. “Lady Vernon and Her Daughter” by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and is set in Regency England.

Does anyone ever outgrow their love of the classics? If your giftee is a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, then your gift will be the favorite when you wrap up “Flint and Silver” by John Drake. A prequel to “Treasure Island”, this novel imagines what happened before John Silver and Joseph Flint met up in the classic. Hint: wrap it up along with a new copy of Stevenson’s book for arrrrgreat gift.

Maybe someone on your gift list is missing home. Show her you understand by giving her “Evenings at the Argentine Club” by Julia Amante. This is a book about family, generations, and loving those who love you. Also look for “Tell Me Something True” by Leila Cobo…that’s a book about family, secrets, and things you never, as a child, want to know.

What will the world be like two generations in the future? If you’ve got to find something for your favorite science fiction fan, then find “2045: A Story of Our Future” by Peter Seidel. This novel — part fiction, part call-to-action — will make your giftee think and it might even scare him to action. For further hair-raising reading, wrap up “The Touch” by F. Paul Wilson, a novel about a doctor whose new powers of healing come at a frightening price.


No doubt there’s a Drama Queen (or King) on your gift list. For her (or him), there’s no better gift than “How to Be Famous” by Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt. This tongue-in-cheek book gives step-by-step tips on getting your name in the tabs and becoming The One Everybody Talks About. Hint: not just for grown-ups, your teen may get a kick out of this book.

The holidays are a lousy time to be sick, but if you wrap up “Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors” by Carolyn Rubenstein, you can give the gift of encouragement. This book features the words and hopes of high school and college cancer survivors and though it sounds like a downer of a book, it’s not. What it is, though, is inspiring.

No doubt, there’s a country music fan on your gift list and there’s no better gift to give than “The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country’s Big Boom” by Patsi Bale Cox. Mostly about Garth, but containing other big names in country, this hefty book is a gift that will last awhile.

This was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock and if you’ve got someone who still longs for summers of Peace and Love, wrap up “By the Time We Got to Woodstock” by Bruce Pollock. Complete with pictures and lots of memories, this book is groovy, man. Also, look for “The Sixties” by Jenny Diski, which is a memoir as seen through the eyes of someone who lived through those psychedelic times; and “The Rock & Roll Book of the Dead” by David Comfort, which is a look at the lives of Hendrix, Elvis, Lennon, Joplin and Morrison and their impact on our music.

The new-ager on your list will no doubt be overjoyed by this trilogy from Brad Steiger: “Beyond Shadow World” is newly re-released and is the third volume in Steiger’s Shadow World trilogy in which he discusses spirits and the supernatural. Then there’s “Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside,” a book that’s, well, it’s about the things that go bump in the night.