Holiday Gift Book Guide: Gifts for Readers, Writers, & Others #shopping

It's that time of year when we need to find the best gift for our friends and family.  I have read a lot this last year and in these next few posts will share with you my favorite reads and favorite things.

A couple things--

The link included will connect you with Amazon because they have the best overall reviews of books and products...

However-- buying your book directly from the publisher or the author when possible is more beneficial to the press or writer.

If you can't do that, then buying from a local independent bookseller is a great choice.  Support your community by shopping locally!

My third choice on where to purchase it would be Amazon.

So here are some of the books I recommend this year for the people in your life--

For the Poets:

Poet Market 2013, edited by Robert Lee Brewer

The perfect gift for poets.  Not just journals, but articles for poets as well.  And a special activation code to get a one-year one-genre subscription at

 Full disclosure-- I have a poem in this edition, which makes me love it even more!


For the Student or Anyone in your Life who Loves to Learn:

PONDERABLES: The Series, edited by Tom Jackson--

The Elements An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table (Ponderables) [Hardcover] 

The Universe An Illustrated History of Astronomy (Ponderables) [Hardcover]

Mathematics An Illustrated History of Numbers (Ponderables) [Hardcover]

Ponderables is a new series of beautifully designed illustrated books tackling some of the oldest most important subjects in history. Beginning with “The Elements: An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table,” “Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers,” and “The Universe: An Illustrated History of Astronomy,” each authoritative and lively text, using 100 milestone facts and lavish illustrations combined with stories to enhance understanding. A removable fold-out concertina is neatly housed at the back of each book, with a 12-page timeline and more. All 3 books are published by Shelter Harbor Press.

Specifications for all books:
Trim Size: 9.25 x 11.20
144-page book plus a 24-page removable fold-out concertina filled with 1000′s of facts
Illustrations: approx. 300
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Retail Price: $24.95 US - $29.95 CAN

I recently went to a silent auction and this was the most popular item (along with the Stewart McClean Vinyl Cafe tickets). There were four women who circled around this set of books until closing time. I knew they had to be special with that kind of interest.  

And yes, they are beautiful books for those of us who love this kind of stuff!  Also, great for teachers too!  Very hardy and a great size!


For Anyone Interested in Adding a Little Spirituality and More Meaning to their Lives: 

In Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Nepo offers ancient and contemporary practices to help us stay close to what is sacred. In this beautifully written spiritual memoir, Nepo explores the transformational journey with his characteristic insight and grace. He unfolds the many gifts and challenges of deep listening as we are asked to reflect on the life we are given. A moving exploration of self and our relationship to others and the world around us, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen unpacks the many ways we are called to redefine ourselves and to name what is meaningful as we move through the changes that come from experience and aging and the challenge of surviving loss.

This is one of the top-selling books in my local indie bookstore.  And the book mentioned Wallace Stevens & Beethoven, which I appreciated immediately.


For Anyone who Loves Reading Other People's Mail or the Kurt Vonnegut Fan--

I just learned this was available through this article and checked it out at my local bookstore.

Here's the SLATE article in which I learned about this book and a wonderful sample letter.

If you're a letter-lover like I am, you'll enjoy this walk into other people's mail.


For Anyone Who is a Beatles/John Lennon fan, or Again, Loves Reading what Creative People Write When No One is Watching--

The John Lennon Letters (also hardback)

So I innocently go into my bookstore to find Kurt V's letters and right next to it is John Lennon's letters!  This is the most beautiful book.  And is on my own Christmas list.

The paper used to create this book is thick and wonderful, and seeing John's drawings, photos, and handwriting throughout was a treat.

I would actually rate this book higher than the Vonnegut book just for the visual elements throughout.


For Bloggers, Twitter Users, Facebook Friends, and Anyone Who Wants Their Small Messages to be Noticed:

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson

Welcome to the age of the incredible shrinking message. Your guide to this new landscape, Christopher Johnson reveals the once-secret knowledge of poets, copywriters, brand namers, political speechwriters, and other professional verbal miniaturists. Each chapter discusses one tool that helps short messages grab attention, communicate instantly, stick in the mind, and roll off the tongue. Piled high with examples from corporate slogans to movie titles to product names, Microstyle shows readers how to say the most with the least, while offering a lively romp through the historic transformation of mass media into the media of the personal.

Okay, this book got mixed reviews on Amazon and I think I understand why.  Some of the info in here, I already knew or figured out for myself.  Though there was new info and new ways of looking at things in here.  I personally was interested in the section on naming things and titles.

I could tell the author enjoyed sharing information and what he'd learned, which was what I found interesting in the book, but I'm wondering if what I liked about the book--learning about how things came to be in advertising or businesses, etc.--was what others disliked it for.

I think wordpeople would like this, people who want more of a "how to" guide will not.


For the Capricorns and Organizers in the Family--

Get-It-Done-Guy's 9 Step to Work Less and Do More by Stever Robbins

First, let me say for the record, I am a nerd.  I love to organize and I love labels.  I love doing things efficiently and better than before.  I like helpful hints and being getting stuff done.

I am such a nerd that I bought this book as an audio book and liked it so much, I went out and bought a paper copy too.  Yes, I have to copies of the same book because I'm a weirdo.

Also, I *loved* that this book was written by a man (who also seems organizationally nerdy) because he is right to the point and had a different perspective from some of these books I've read written by women.


Okay, this is just a touch of all the books I have to recommend.  I swear, I am one book away from being on Hoarders...

I still have poetry books, humor, soul searching... more on the next list.  Not to mention, my favorite gifts for writers!

~ Kells

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  1. Thanks for this, Kelli! You might be interested to know that Mark Nepo will be in Seattle in early February 2013--giving a reading and a workshop at Nalanda West in Fremont. Details at:

  2. Thanks for posting these, Kelli. Reminds me how I need to start getting going with my shopping ... now that Black Friday has come and gone!

  3. G'day from Australia, Kelli!

    I second the mention of the Poet's Market 2013 (and not just because I love your poem in it). :)

    You may be interested to hear there is a 2013 Australian Writer's Marketplace, that is indispensible for anyone wanting to crack an Australian market and/or you know of an Australian author. I can pass along the ISBN if you're interested.



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