You want to pretend that you’ve been hunting for the perfect holiday present for months, but we both know the truth—you have no idea what to get at least half of the people on your list. Don’t despair—you have lots of company! This is why we have all kinds of suggestions for book lovers including Christmas-y fiction, books that would make great movies for Hanukkah (but are also awesome reads), books that can change the world, and the best books of 2015. But some of the people on your list are REALLY hard to shop for. Finding the key to world peace would be simpler. No worries! Get ready to make your list. We’ve got what you need; books are always the perfect gift.
For your friend who totes their dog via handbag (and it’s a golden retriever!)
The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs by Elias Weiss Friedman (Artisan)
Filled with portraits of dogs with attitude, The Dogist is has a little something for everyone who spends time online looking at adorable pictures.
My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts written by Laura T. Coffey, photographed by Lori Fusaro (New World Library)
Inspired by photographer Lori Fusaro’s work with senior shelter pets, My Old Dog shows off the remarkable and unconditional love adopting an older dog can bring into your life.
Reporting for Duty: True Stories of Wounded Veterans and Their Service Dogs by Tracy Libby (i5 Press)
Reporting for Duty features real-life stories of military veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD, and the service dogs that have inspired healing and given them a new perspective on life.
Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed written by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates (Candlewick)
How did this adorable book about a musical kitty sneak in here? It’s based on a true story about a feline who inspired a composer.
For the foodie whose appetite is never sated
Everyday Superfood: Recipes for a Healthier, Happier You by Jamie Oliver (Ecco)
Britain’s sexiest chef wrote about his personal journey into health and nutrition and added delectable recipes to inspire good eating habits.
Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea by Annelies Zijderveld (Andrews McMeel)
You don’t have to be a tea lover to adore this cookbook; the brilliant recipes use black, green, rooibos and herbal teas to enhance and complement the flavors of food. In addition, there are recipes for tea honey, pecans, salt, spices, sugars and vinegar. You deserve something delicious for giving this.
Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton (Ten Speed Press)
In our sushi-obsessed culture it’s easy to forget that there’s an entire world of delicious and healthy Japanese food we have yet to explore. Donabe is clay pot cooking done right on the table—a sure recipe for fun and companionship. This beautiful book has recipes and history to help you get it right.
Jacques Pepin: Heart and Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin (Rux Martin/HMH)
The beloved French culinary master wrote this companion volume to his last PBS series. It has everything from simple burgers to dinner parties in his signature style as well as reminiscences about James Beard, Julia Child and more. Perfect gift for anyone who watches with a pen and notebook in hand.
For the aspiring comedian who could use some inspiration
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Crown Archetype)
In her latest collection of essays, Kaling discusses with refreshing frankness the angst and allure of coming into your own while the Hollywood spotlight is pointed at you.
Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton (Drawn and Quarterly)
This gathering of illustrations from Beaton’s popular Hark! A Vagrant webcomic lampoons historical figures, literary geniuses and everyday life with a witty sweetness that’s worth devouring.
A Gentleman’s Companion: 101 Fascinating Things to Do with Your Penis by Henderson Ross (Your Trusty Publishing Company)
This book is guaranteed to put you on the Naughty List when given as a gift, but there’s no better resource for laughs.
Also worth checking out: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg (Penguin Press)
For the person who still likes their stories with pictures
The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III (Vertigo)
The mind-blowing artwork of this Gaiman gem is almost impossible to describe but it perfectly illustrates the long-awaited backstory to his psychodelic series. Be prepared to have your eyes pop.
We think we know this DC Comics trinity, but their earliest years leading into World War II are a revelation in character development and our shifting national character. This heroic trilogy portrays all three American icons as they were originally conceived by their creators.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio and Will Staehle (Quirk Books)
If Edward Gorey and Neil Gaiman had a child he just might be Warren the 13th—bellhop, valet, waiter, groundskeeper and errand boy in his family’s shadowy mansion hotel. Can he decipher the clues and beat Aunt Annaconda and the greedy guests to the treasure?
Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film by Edward Ross (SelfMadeHero)
When you consider how most films evolve from story boards, a graphic novel about the history of cinema makes a great deal of sense. Ross’ engaging cartoons pull you in and explain film in a way beyond words alone.
For the person who can’t resist some behind-the-scenes drama
Days of Our Lives 50 Years by Greg Meng (Sourcebooks)
This photo book offers an in-depth look at the last 50 years of NBC’s Days of Our Lives, including an introduction from Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng. Soap fans will adore this trip down memory lane as it highlights some of the most popular and outrageous storylines.
Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (Scribner)
The perfect book for someone who is looking for depth, heartache and hope, Dear Mr. You collects Parker’s letters to men who’ve shaped her life.
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore (Dutton)
In Wildflower, Barrymore tells stories from her life’s adventures and challenges, sharing lessons that have informed her happy existence today.
But Enough About Me by Burt Reynolds (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
This memoir details Reynolds’s career’s ups and downs, encounters with fellow stars, and the wisdom he gained after becoming a father.
So That Happened by Jon Cryer (NAL)
In this thoughtful memoir, Jon Cryer shares behind-the-scenes stories about working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood with endearing introspection.
Also worth checking out: The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (Simon & Schuster)
For the beret-wearing art aficionado
The Napkin Art of Tim Burton: things you think about in a bar by Tim Burton (Steeles Publishing)
There’s an apocryphal story that Picasso would pay for restaurant meals by doodling on a napkin. We don’t know if Burton’s doodles might buy a meal but these sketches done in his charmingly bizarre style might have bought a few drinks.
Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon (Enchanted Lion Books)
The Brooklyn illustrator and printmaker creates sumptuous art brimming with color to bring poems about nonhuman creatures to life.
Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd (Abrams)
This behind-the-scenes tour into the mind of Charles Schulz includes early work, sketches and other ephemera sure to delight art and comics lovers on your list.
Biophilia by Christopher Marley (Abrams)
Biophilia means “love of life” and this collection of dazzling compositions celebrates living creatures with meticulous care. Your nature lover will be relieved to know that the photographer spent years developing ethical and sustainable ways of collecting his specimens.
Over the River & Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure by Linda Ashman and Kim Smith (Sterling Children’s Books)
You’re sure to find your modern family represented in this fun-filled take on the classic tale that brings one family together for the holidays. Charming and witty illustrations make it a delight.
For the person who knows where they do their best reading
Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen (Quirk Books)
Class up your love of sappy modern pop music with this collection of sonnet interpretations of some of the most well-known songs of all time.
Lonely Planet’s Better Than Fiction 2: True Adventures from 30 Great Fiction Writers by Lonely Planet, edited by Don George
Let’s face it, sometimes we want to be anywhere but here. That’s why this assortment of true travel stories by some of the best working fiction writers is a perfect gift.
Findings: An Illustrated Collection written by Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, illustrated by Graham Roumieu (Twelve Books)
This delightful assembly of single-serving facts taken from the “Findings” back-page column of Harper’s Magazine is guaranteed to make you smile, think and take a little extra time reading.
The book lovers in your life will thank you!