Thursday, November 30 2023 10:23

Holiday Gifting Made Easy

Written by Shelley Laurence, Main Point Books

Because there's the right size book for everyone

Let’s face it. We all love to get gifts. But buying the perfect holiday present for others can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve got a long list.

A trip to your local independent bookstore is a great way to breeze through the whole gift-buying process! There’s something for everyone, whatever their interests.

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For example: who doesn’t love a well written story that makes you think? Absolution by Alice McDermott fits that bill. My colleague, Anmiryam Budner calls Absolution “a stunning book that forces you to consider the nature of good deeds. Is a good deed really for the benefit of the recipient or is it for your own? With its Vietnamese setting, this novel ties together the personal and the societal level considerations of these questions brilliantly.” She asks the question, “Why have I not read Alice McDermott before?” Have you?

Got a pop culture vulture on your list? A celebrity memoir could be a great choice, especially from a major superstar. Barbra Streisand tells her own story in My Name is Barbra. The book is just like Streisand: frank, funny and opinionated. From her early struggles to the breakout performance (Funny Girl) that made her a star, Barbra dishes on everything, including her famous friends and her marriage to actor James Brolin. My Name is Barbra is a must for any Streisand fan.

Know someone who fancies The Fonz? They’ll love Being Henry by Henry Winkler. The actor’s memoir is a thoughtful and deeply felt history. He shares stories of his heartbreaking childhood, his struggles with severe dyslexia and the pressures that come with success. This book has it all: heart, charm and, above all, a sense of humor.

Need a book for a cook? Give them the definitive seafood guide from Eric Ripert, the three-Michelin-starred chef of Le Bernardin. Seafood Simple features mouth-watering photos and 85 step-by-step recipes for preparing incredible fish at home. Does the thought of tuna carpaccio, crispy fish tacos or shrimp tempura set your mouth watering? Seafood Simple is a master class in these dishes and more, created especially for the home cook.

Here’s a great gift idea for the Eagles fan in your life (and who doesn’t have one of those?). Robert W. Cohen offers up The 50 Greatest Players in Philadelphia Eagles History. Cohen scrutinizes the careers of the 50 players who made the greatest impact on the Birds. It’s sure to spark a great debate around the table at Christmas dinner. At least three people on my list are getting this book!

Know someone who wants to spend more time in the great outdoors? Wild Philly by Mike Weilbacher is the perfect choice. If you think Philadelphia is a concrete jungle, think again. Weilbacher is the executive director of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, our area’s largest and oldest nature center, and his book is a vibrant, family-friendly guide to the unexpected nature around us. But don’t just take my word for it. The Philadelphia Inquirer agrees, saying “This guidebook by Mike Weilbacher includes the region’s natural history, 101 species to know and 19 field trips in the city, surrounding suburbs and South Jersey.”

Want to help someone achieve a goal? With Think Again, Wharton professor Adam Grant offers a new framework for raising aspirations and exceeding expectations. Former tennis superstar Serena Williams is a believer, saying “This brilliant book will shatter your assumptions about what it takes to improve and succeed. I wish I could go back in time and gift it to my younger self. It would’ve helped me find a more joyful path to progress.”

For the Kiddos

There are plenty of new holiday books for kids, and some are sure to become your next family classic. Mo Willems brings us Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh. The Pigeon has made his holiday wish list, and the thing he wants most is to drive a sleigh. Will his dream come true? Your kids will have a great time finding out.

Matt Tavares offers up another holiday classic in the making. Dasher Can’t Wait for Christmas is a joyful ode to helping others. Dasher gets lost after sneaking out for a holiday party and can’t find the North Star in the sky to lead her home. With the help of a child and an unexpected gift, will she make it back in time to guide Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve?

Celebrate Hanukkah with your favorite Diggers! This one is perfect for kids who can’t get enough of trucks. Where Do Diggers Celebrate Hanukkah? shows diggers, cranes, cement mixers and more eating latkes, lighting the menorah and playing dreidel with friends.

And Kwanzaa takes center stage in The Night Before Kwanzaa by Natasha Wing, with Kirsti Jewel. You’ll meet a little boy who’s excited to celebrate with his family. Every evening, they light a candle and learn about their history.


This is just small sample of what you’ll find at your local bookstore. Drop in and get some help to put a dent in your holiday list. Happy shopping!

Shelley Laurence is a bookseller at Main Point Books, an independent bookstore with a handpicked selection for every member of the family. Check out their events, book groups and children’s activities at or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Order online for delivery or pickup. 484-580-6978; 116 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne.