Always Overbooked

By Terri Schlichenmeyer


The Perfect Gift


It sounds so cliché doesn’t it? But that’s what you want to give to every single person on your gift list this year, from your family to your bestie to your neighbor. The Perfect Gift, however, isn’t so perfectly easy to find – especially for that hard-to-buy-for person. So why not wrap up a book? Why not wrap up one of these…?

Let’s start with the littlest reader, and a book that’s sweet as can be: “Stella Brings the Family” by Miriam B. Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown. It’s the story of a little girl whose school is having a Mother’s Day event. Problem is, Stella has two daddies. This book is the Perfect Gift for the 3-to-6-year-old whose school isn’t quite as up-to-the-minute as it could be.

There are a lot of options for teen readers; I particularly liked “Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis” by Alexis Coe, illustrations by Sally Klann. Based on a real historic event, this is the story of two girls who fell in love – one more so than the other. It’s a little scandalous, a lot readable and The Perfect Gift for the girl who loves a delicious story.

Also look for “This Book is Gay” by James Dawson, an easy-to-read book that will answer a lot of questions your teen may have. The nice thing about this book is that it’s appropriate for any kid ages 13 and up. It’s The Perfect Gift for teens and their allies who are questioning.

The possibilities are almost endless for the adult on your list, but I think there are two positively can’t-miss authors …

First, “A History of Loneliness” by John Boyne is the story of a priest who’s gone through seminary with a man he considers a friend. There’s something about his friend that isn’t right, however, but he can’t quite figure out what it is. This is The Perfect Gift: a meandering book, quietly thoughtful, with a gently building tension that gets squirmier and squirmier until the pinnacle of the story pounces.

And if you want to give two Perfect Gifts, wrap up Boyne’s “The Absolutist,” which is a World War I tale of unrequited love. My best advice: buy two copies and read one yourself. Your giftee is going to be desperate for someone to discuss these books with….

I’ll also read anything by Bob Morris. His “Assisted Loving” from a few years ago – a book of memories of his widowed father, dating, and falling in love – was a scream, both in laughter and in poignancy. This year, Morris wrote about his mother in “Bobby Wonderful,” and it’s another laugh / cry book (mostly the latter) because he writes about how much she loved him and how much he misses her now. It’s the Perfect Gift for anyone who’s ever had a Mom.

So there you are: gift ideas for every hard-to-buy-for person you know. And, of course, if these ideas don’t quite work, you can throw yourself at the mercy of the kind bookstore worker, who knows the exact Perfect Gift you need.

Season’s Readings!