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The best books and reading gifts for your favorite bookworm in 2022

Here are some of the best titles to gift book lovers this holiday season. Shop Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target and more.
Books for book lovers
Give the gift of adventure, mystery, romance and more with bestselling titles by authors such as Colleen Hoover, Kate Quinn and the beloved Dr. Seuss.Amazon

Whether they love spending weekends at a local bookstore or have downtime on their commute, everyone can benefit from more books. Not only are they a great way to enrich your knowledge, they’re also easy to take along with you, regardless if it’s the traditional paperback or an e-reader. What’s more, a good book is not only a thoughtful gift but a thought-provoking one. Books have the power to change your outlook, attitude and life — all just within a packet of pages.

SKIP AHEAD Best books for nonfiction lovers | Best books for fiction lovers | Best books for young readers | Best books for kids | Best gifts for every book lover

The best gifts for book lovers

We’ve gathered a list of books for people in different age groups with different interests. These books were carefully chosen based on reviews, ratings and personal preferences from our Select team. For the bookworm in your life, you can’t go wrong with these picks.

Best books for nonfiction lovers

“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite book is, this title is always the first one I say. When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir written by a neurosurgeon as he goes from treating patients to becoming one. Kalanithi has to grapple with the question of what makes life worth living as he watches his own escape him. Heartbreaking yet surprisingly uplifting, this Pulitzer Prize finalist, which has a 4.4-star average rating out of 552,297 reviews on Goodreads, is hard to put down.

“She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement” by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

A favorite among Select staffers, She Said traces the journey of how Kantor and Twohey broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s longstanding sexual harrasment and abuse in Hollywood. In this book, which has a 4.4-star average rating out of 31,251 reviews on Goodreads, the two journalists walk us through steps of the reporting process, including in-depth interviews and deep searches for private settlements and nondisclosure agreements. They also discuss about the effects of the #MeToo movement from their reporting and the aftermath of breaking the story. She Said is a must-read for journalists, and an insightful story for all about resilience and impact.

"Time is a Mother" by Ocean Vuong

Vuong’s poetry collection, which has a 4.1-star average rating out of 11,516 reviews on Goodreads, paints an honest portrayal of how he deals with the aftermath of his mother’s death. While experimenting with structure and narrative, Vuong paints a work of relatable themes like personal loss and the meaning of family. How do you sit in grief yet seek to survive and grow beyond it simultaneously? Vuong’s poems offer a beautiful suggestion of how one can do that and more.

Best books for fiction lovers

The beauty of fiction is that it can introduce you to people, places and things that don’t otherwise exist, expanding your imagination in the process. And that’s why fiction books can make such good gifts: It’s a way of sharing your favorite worlds with your friends and family. With that in mind, choose from these fantasies, thrillers and more.

"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T. J. Klune

For an escape into a fantasy world with charming characters, The House in the Cerulean Sea is the perfect book. Six magical children are determined to be possibly dangerous, and the head of the orphanage will do anything to keep those children safe. A New York Times bestseller, this book explores the idea of an unexpected family within the backdrop of a fantasy novel. Select production coordinator Gabriella DePinho was gifted this book by a friend and thoroughly enjoyed the tackling of complex themes and ideas in a way that also left her feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Dive into the world of old Hollywood and forbidden romance with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a popular recommendation on BookTok with a 4.5-star average rating out of 1,594,995 reviews on Goodreads. A magazine reporter is summoned to Evelyn Hugo’s home as Hugo dives into the story of her seven husbands, paired with all the heartaches and triumphs along the way. It combines the grandeur of old Hollywood with the stark realities of the present day where two women have to face their struggles and truths head on.

"The House of the Spirits" by Isabel Allende

As one of the most beloved Latin American works in the 20th century, Allende paints a beautiful picture of the intricacies of three generations of family. A story that intertwines decades and generations, The House of the Spirits has soared ever since its release in 1986. Each generation that is highlighted represents different parts of a human trait that all weave together to illustrate the complicated beauty of the definition of family. It has a 4.3-star average rating out of 232,748 reviews on Goodreads.

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover

Another New York Times bestseller with a 4.4-star average rating out of 142,023 reviews on Goodreads, this psychological thriller centers on a struggling writer who, newly hired by the husband of a famed novelist, stumbles across a secret that could break their family — leading her to stare down a game-changing decision. With twists that will keep you on your toes, it’s one of those books you can’t put down.

“The Rose Code” by Kate Quinn

Friendship, mystery, puzzles — this bestseller (with a 4.5-star average rating out of 15,392 reviews on Goodreads) offers it all. A call for codebreakers during World War II unites three wildly different women from across Britain — and then, inevitably, tears them apart. A few years later, they're reunited by a mysterious letter written in code, which contains the secret to their downfall.

Best books for young readers

Books can serve as formative moments for young readers and early teenagers, serving as a road map for both their current lives and where they want to go. Plus, reading about other characters (and their experiences) can be an incredible lesson in empathy that stays with the reader for the rest of their lives. With that in mind, these are our picks for the best books for young readers.

"Out of My Mind" by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind follows Melody, a young girl with cerebral palsy who is determined to show everybody that doubts her that she belongs just as much as they do. Intelligent, witty and engaging, Draper’s novel is one of my favorite books I read when I was younger. Thoughtful and perceptive, the journey the reader is taken through Melody’s mind and her way of thinking is gripping, direct and satisfactory.

"A Place to Hang the Moon" by Kate Albus

Set in World War II, three kids who have just lost their grandmother are sent away from London to the countryside for their protection. Bouncing between families, they go through hardships together as they try to find a place to belong. In this heartwarming book, which has a 4.6-star average rating from 7,931 reviews on Goodreads, they find their solace in a local librarian, who offers hot tea, stories and, most importantly, a home.

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collin

As I’ve gotten older, my peers and I have agreed that this series (and its accompanying motion pictures) stands the test of time. The first in a trilogy, The Hunger Games paints themes of revolution and survival amongst a dystopian North American backdrop. Thrilling, heartbreaking and yet inspiring, this entire series is an essential read for young readers, inspiring them so they can ensure that they grow up in the world they want to live in. This book has a 4.3-star average rating out of 7,630,431 reviews on Goodreads.

Best books for kids

Children are vying to read books about meaningful connections, according to Deimosa Webber-Bey, director of Information Services & Cultural Insight at Scholastic. They also look for stories that make them laugh, bring them to different worlds and help them understand others. “​​Developing empathy and resilience are part of the reading experience during childhood and adolescence,” she said. Below are some of our favorite titles for children.

"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss

The Lorax is a tale that explains the basics of taking care of our planet — and, conversely, the dangers of manmade programs and efforts. Told in a rhyming tale by classic children’s author Dr. Seuss, The Lorax is a favorite of Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin, who appreciated it as a child and still does as an adult due to its important messages.

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond

One of my personal favorites as a child, this picture book always makes me smile. The illustrations are fantastic and the guiding narrative allows a child’s imagination to run wild. The mouse may do some things that the child doesn’t agree with, letting the child think about their own actions. It’s a great first book in the “If You Give…” series.

"The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt

This story was a favorite with kids when Rebecca Rodriguez, Select editorial operations associate, was a preschool teacher. A playful and imaginative story, The Day the Crayons Quit will draw kids in with its fun illustrations, and it has a 4.4-star average rating from 51,516 reviews on Goodreads.

Best gifts for every book lover

If the book-lover in your life has no room on their bookshelf or already has a long list of books they have to read that doesn’t need to be longer, here are some gifts that aren’t books that they’ll appreciate.

Pickled Stamps Customized Book Embosser

To mark ownership on a book they adore, this customized book embosser (which has a 5-star average rating from 3,225 reviews on Etsy) is a great, personalized gift. It has numerous designs to choose from, comes with different colored ink options and is a fun personalization to add into any books.

Topfurny Tree Bookshelf

This tree bookshelf is a creative way to organize books — and also a great gift for someone who wants to spruce up their living space. With nine open shelves, this shelf takes up little space, making it a perfect bookcase for a smaller living area. There’s some assembly required, according to the brand, but it comes with everything you need and an instruction manual. It has a 4.4-star average rating out of 1,487 reviews on Amazon.

Nubble Light Candle New England Bookshop Candle

Part of cozying up with a book is establishing a comfortable surrounding. This candle, which has a 5-star average rating out of 1,036 reviews on Etsy, can help with that, with scent notes of old books, leather and weathered wood. Light it and you’ll be transported to an antique bookshop right in your home.

Meet Our Expert

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Deimosa Webber-Bey is the Director of Information Services and Cultural Insight at Scholastic.

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