Always Overbooked

By Terri Schlichenmeyer


The mistletoe is hung…

And so are the garlands, the ornaments, window decorations, and lights. You’d be ready for the holidays, too, if you weren’t hung up on a gift for that one certain person. Now what? Now head to the bookstore with this column in-hand, and look for one of these great books….



For the person who can’t get enough of John, Paul, George, or Ringo, “Visualizing the Beatles” by John Pring and Rob Thomas is something they’ll want to hold in their hands. It’s a graphic history of the Fab Four, so lots of pictures, easy to browse, fun to have.


For the armchair detective or CSI fan, “The Handy Forensic Science Answer Book” by Patricia Barnes-Svarney and Thomas E. Svarney will be a welcome gift this year. In a Q&A format, this book teaches and answers the kinds of questions any detective-show fan can come up with. It may also chill you…


Wrap it up with any good murder mystery, of course! Or better yet, wrap it up with “Murder, Lies, and Cover-Ups” by David Gardner, a book about conspiracies and the whodunit deaths of celebrities your giftee will surely remember.

Consider more with “The Disaster Survival Guide” by Marie D. Jones, a book that’s a good primer for coming out the other side of nature’s worst and mankind’s unthinkable.

For the fashionista, you can’t go wrong when you give “Fierce: The History of Leopard Print” by Jo Weldon. Yes, that’s what this book is about – the evolution of a wild fad that shows no signs of slowing down. You know what kind of paper to wrap this book in, don’t you? Wrap it up for the perfect gift for the giftee who mourns the end of summer from October to May: “Hollywood Beach Beauties” by David Wills. It’s a large picture book full of starlets on the beach, circa 1930 into the 1970s. Not just fun for sun lovers, but for fashion followers, too.


For the person who’s facing That Certain Age in the New Year, wrap up “The Happiness Curve” by Jonathan Rauch. It’s a book about the wonderfulness of turning 50 and how life is so much sweeter. Pair it up with “The End of Old Age” by Marc E. Agronin, M.D., which is about making the latter half of your life the best part.


For the political animal in your family, “Hugs from Obama,” edited by M. Sweeney might be just the right gift. It’s filled with pictures and quotations from the Obama years in the White House, including the end. Pair it up with “The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address” by Joseph Rodota, for a scandalous look back in history.


The giftee who loves to laugh will love having “Laughter Totally Is the Best Medicine” by the Reader’s Digest folks. Filled with jokes, cartoons, and other funnies, it might also make a great stocking-stuffer.


And for the cook on your list, “Buttermilk Graffiti” by Edward Lee would make a great gift. It’s part history, part memoir, and part foodie paradise with recipes and it’s yummy.





A highly anticipated (and much-desired) gift to look for is “In Pieces” by Sally Field, a book by the girl America has grown up with. It’s filled with behind-the-story stories and celeb names you’ll also recognize. Wrap it up with a “The Flying Nun” DVD or two, or a copy of “Smokey and the Bandit.”

Another celeb biography to try is “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon” by Charles Casillo. It’s for the giftee who only thinks she knows everything about MM that there is to know.





For the person who asked for a genealogy test, look for “Because I Come From a Crazy Family” by Edward M. Hallowell, MD, a memoir about inherited afflictions, childhood, and the ways that even a beloved family can be a challenge.



Loss doesn’t stop during the holidays. If your giftee needs any kind of comfort, try “The After Death Chronicles” by Annie Mattingley. It’s a book filled with stories of everyday people who were surprised to receive communication from “beyond the veil.”



Who doesn’t love a day at the beach? Your dog lover and the dog they love do, so they’ll want to unwrap “Dogs on the Beach” by Lara Jo Regan. It’s filled with photos of dogs in the surf & sand, enjoying warm weather and taking every advantage of summer there is.




Who doesn’t like a mystery? Your giftee sure does, and if there are chills inside it, all’s the better so wrap up “Sodom Road Exit” by Amber Dawn. It’s the story of a small but dying village that’s lost its last reason for tourists. Even so, one young woman lives there with her mother because she has nowhere else to go. She wishes she did, though, because her small hometown holds terror… Wrap it up with “Ruin of Stars” by Linsey Miller, the second book in a fantasy series in which the main character is gender-fluid.

For the reader who loves books that may make him think, look for “So Famous and So Gay” by Jeff Solomon. It’s a book about Truman Capote and Gertrude Stein and how their fame still lingers while so many other almost-celebrities barely get a nod today, no matter what they did for LGBTQ rights….

The person on your list who is thinking about transitioning (or who recently has) will love unwrapping “Trans Like Me” by CN Lester, a series of essays on gender diversity, being trans, and how to tackle tacky people whose questions are too nosy. Pair it with “Being Emily” by Rachel Gold, a book about a trans woman, now updated to include new material.

For the traveler on your list, the person who also loves history, you can’t go wrong with “Riviera Dreaming” by Maureen Emerson. It’s the true story of an architect and an ex-officer in the British Army, how they teamed up to create a mansion that took society by storm, and who vied to hire these two men to decorate their Riviera mansions. Wrap it up with “Global Gay: How Gay Culture is Changing the World” by Frédéric Martel, for a very well traveled gift.

More fiction for the gay reader: “You Can’t Tell By Looking” by Russell J. Sanders, a romance about love between two high school boys, one of whom is also dealing with his anti-gay Islamic family; and “Aesop Lake” by Sarah Ward, a unique book based on three of Aesop’s Fables to tell a tale of a hate crime and its aftermath.


So there you are, a bunch of different ways to use that gift certificate for fun, learning, and winter reading anticipation. Remember: if none of these suggestions seem to fit that Special Someone on your list, ask your weary-but-smiling booksellers. They’re the ones who have all the right answers.

Happy Reading!