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The Bookworm Sez: Gift Guide 2021 – Part 2

You knew this was coming.

You knew that you were going to have to finish your holiday shopping soon but it snuck up on you, didn’t it? And even if you’re close to being done, there are always those three or five people who are impossible to buy for, right? Remember this, though: books are easy to wrap and easy to give, and they last awhile, too. So why not head to the bookstore with your Christmas List and look for these gifts…

No doubt, there’s someone on your list who plays favorites, when it comes to sports. That’s why you’ll want to wrap up “Talking to GOATs” by Jim Gray. It’s a book full of interviews with sports’ Greatest Of All Time competitors (GOATs, get it?). Surely, there’s more argument in this book, just as there’s more to know about superstar professionals.
Want to make a home run this holiday? Then wrap up “42 Today: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy,” edited by Michael G. Long. It’s a collection of essays on the impact Robinson left on folks today, and memories that others have of the great man.

For the woman on your list who has a love-hate relationship with sports, wrap up “Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America” by Julie DiCaro. It’s a book that looks at pro sports’ “thorny issues”of sexism, exploitation, and the toxicity that women sometimes face when competing. Not for the faint of heart, for sure.
If there’s a young player on your list, here’s a book for their parents: “The Brain on Youth Sports” by Julie M. Stamm, PhD. Help them lay to rest the myths and be armed with the facts on brain injuries in kids’ sports.

The reader who can’t have enough World War II history will relish reading “Into the Forest” by Rebecca Frankel. It’s the true story of a family that escaped the Nazis by hiding in a nearby wooded area and they were able to stay safe for two years. Decades later, long after their liberation in 1944, another miracle happened and so did love. Wrap it up with a tissue. It’s that kind of book.

For the person who races through books faster than fast, wrap up “The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker,” edited by Jelani Cobb and David Remnick. It’s a thick anthology filled with essays from decades ago but are still relevant, thoughts that need reconsideration, and historical tales that modern eyes need to see. Wrap it up with “Black Nerd Problems” by William Evans & Omar Holmon, a book that’s perfect for geeks, nerds, Con-lovers, and gamers of any race.

History lovers will love unwrapping “Travels with George” by Nathaniel Philbrick, a book that chronicles the author’s trip across America to see how our country has change, including the way we see George though modern eyes.
Memoir and Biography

For the fan of police procedurals and courtroom drama, “Redeeming Justice” by Jarrett Adams is a no-brainer gift. When he was just a teenager, an all-white jury convicted Adams of a crime he didn’t commit and they sent him to prison. Ten long years later, he was exonerated and released but not without help and a long fight to prove his innocence. He’s now an attorney and this is a must-read tale. Wrap it up with “The Prison Guard’s Daughter: My Journey Through the Ashes of Attica” by Deanne Quinn Miller, whose father was murdered in the 1971 Attica Prison uprising.

The reader who’s also a fan of World War II stories will want to unwrap “Eva and Eve” by Julie Metz. It’s the story of Metz’s cosmopolitan, ultra-urbane mother and the side that Metz didn’t know about: when Eve was a child, she lived in Nazi-occupied Vienna. Wrap it up with a bookmark, though your giftee won’t need it.
Hollywood biography lovers will truly enjoy unwrapping “Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship” by Charles Casillo. It’s the story of a deep friendship, but that’s not all; it’s also a dual-biography of two of H-wood’s most beloved stars.

The teacher in your life will love reading “Matchsticks” by Fred Engh. In 1961, Engh was a husband and father living in Maryland when he was inspired by an interview he saw that made him want to become a Physical Education teacher. And so Engh, a white man, enrolled in Maryland State College, which was then an all-black, segregated school. Bonus: this book is also a great read for the sports fan on your list.

For the skater on your list, wrap up “The Most Fun Thing” by Kyle Beachy. The author is a skateboarder and he writes about how he first learned the sport, what it’s like to be a middle-aged sk8r, and he addresses other “fun things” about life and skateboarding. It’s like a biography on wheels.

If you know a family that loves to travel, wrap up “We Came, We Saw, We Left” by Charles Wheelan. Long before Covid-19, the Wheelan family decided to take a long extended trip to “recharge and reflect” and see the world. Picture it: nine months and six continents with three teenagers. Wrap it with an atlas because you know what could be next…
Fans of the late Anthony Bourdain will absolutely love unwrapping “Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography” by Laurie Woolever, who was Bourdain’s co-author on many books. This is a collection of memories from those who loved Bourdain, like a love letter to those who followed him fiercely.

For the woman who finds herself alone this holiday, “But You Seemed So Happy: A Marriage, in Pieces and Bits” by Kimberly Harrington is a book about the end of a marriage, but also about the beginning of a marriage, things between those two points, and how it’s possible to find something good again.

Readers who love historical biographies will devour “Cleopatra: The Queen Who Challenged Rome and Conquered Eternity” by Alberto Angela. It’s a sweeping story and your giftee will love getting it, no de Nile.
What do you give to the person who longs for a time gone by? How about “The Farm on Badger Creek: Memories of a Midwest Girlhood” by Peggy Prilaman Marxen? Set in Wisconsin in the middle of the last century, your reader will find tales of life on the farm, of one-room schoolhouses,chickens in the coop, and Grandma in the kitchen. It’s got warmth, and it’s perfect for the nostalgic one on your list.

For the businessperson who wants to spend this winter making that business grow, wrap up “The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It” by Sandra J. Sucher & Shalene Gupta. Highly researched, this book explains why trust may be the most important advantage you have in your business, what you need to do to maintain your clients’ trust, and what to do if you lose it.

If you’ve got someone on your gift list who struggles at work for whatever reason, then “Anxiety at Work” by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton with Anthony Gostick will show you care about what they’re going through. This book offers eight strategies to overcome the Sunday Night Dreads, the lack of self-confidence, and the building of new relationships at work. Pair it with “The Rejection That Changed My Life” by Jessica Bacal, a book of essays from powerful, sometimes famous people about the “no” that led them to a career’s worth of “yesses.”

No doubt, there’s a budding leader on your gift list, so wrap up “Make It, Don’t Fake It” by Sabrina Horn. It’s a book that will help your entrepreneur to strive for authenticity in business and, by extension, in life. Then let that authenticity lead to impact by giving “Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact” by Liz Wiseman.

Business is a hard game these days but “Rogue Waves” by Jonathan Brill will help ensure that the storm doesn’t last forever. This is a book that looks at the future, helping businesspeople to get there intact, make money, and survive. Wrap it up with “Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change” by April Rinne, a book that’ll help your business person to stay resilient. Pair it with “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval” by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., a book on leading in times like ours.

And for the person on your gift list who desires to be The Best this coming year, wrap up “Your Pocket Guide to Corporate America: A Roadmap to Achievement” by John Dortch. In this book are fourteen “rules” to live and do business by, and all of them are easier than you’d think to incorporate into day-to-day life. Wrap it up and watch what happens!
Pets and Animals

If there’s someone on your list who loves animals, wildlife, and working to save them, then “The Wild World Handbook: Creatures” by Andrea Debbink, illustrated by Asia Orlando, is a great book to wrap up. This isn’t just about the animals or conservation efforts; it also includes easy-to-do projects to help creatures in the wild, mini-biographies of people who fought for conservation and preservation, and short chapters on animals and why we should care about them. This book is perfect for readers 12-to-17, but an adult who wants something light might likewise enjoy it. Pair it with “Wild Life!” by Re:wild and Syd Robinson, a book about weird and unique animals around the world, and what conservation efforts are doing to keep them there. Bonus: PICTURES!

The dog lover on your list will really like “The Forever Dog” by Rodney Habib & Dr. Karen Shaw Becker with Kristin Loberg. It’s a book filled with ideas and science that’ll help that puppy parent keep their fur-kid around a whole lot longer.
Season’s Readings!