Give the Gift Of Reading


With the holidays around the corner, there’s a good chance you’re looking for gift ideas. As a collection development specialist at Capital Area District Libraries (CADL), I’m able to see a huge swath of the fabulous titles that come through our system, so I’ve gathered some that might be great for gifting this season.

Home DNA tests are very popular these days, but what happens when the results aren’t what you expect? In “Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy,
Paternity, and Love” by Dani Shapiro, the noted memoirist digs into her own distressing test results.

Is there someone in your life trying to maintain their passion for their chosen field? Try “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad” by Austin Kleon. Along with previous titles “Steal Like an Artist” and “Show Your Work,” this is an inspiring book for maintaining creativity, focusing on important things and staying true to yourself. The ideas can be applied to any field – not just artistic endeavors.

For something challenging, timely and beautifully wrought, try “The Water Dancer: A Novel” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It offers a perceptive look at the lives of the enslaved and their owners in the late 1850s, as the tobacco crops of Virginia dried up.

Or, go local and pick up “We Hope for Better Things” by Greater Lansing author Erin Bartels. This well-written historical fiction work looks at racism in the 1860s, 1960s and the present, as a Detroit reporter learns about the strong women in her family – including herself.

For younger children (and the rest of the family), I love a good book that can lead to positive discussions. “Alma and How She Got Her Name” by Juana Martinez-Neal is a great conversation starter. When Alma asks her father for the story of her very long name, it leads to a discussion about the important people in their lives.

If these suggestions don’t hit the spot, check out CADL’s staff picks or use our BookSleuth P.I. service at for personalized recommendations.

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