Reader’s Lounge: Give the Gift of Adventure in the Form of a Book

I love to give books as presents at Christmas time. What other present can enrich, enlighten and entertain?  I have spent many a Christmas Eve inscribing the end pages of my gift selections with descriptions of my thoughts and feelings as I chose each title — a habit I inherited from my mother and that I hope will be continued by my children. Here are a few suggestions of books that make great gifts.

Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan 

By Michael Federspiel ISBN 9780345495006 $39.95 Wayne State University Press A treasure trove for the Hemingway admirer Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan chronicles the summers between 1899 and 1921 that Hemingway spent with his family at their vacation home on Walloon Lake near Petoskey. This lovely coffee table book contains more than 250 images from Hemingway’s personal collection, historical images of the region, and archival excerpts from Hemingway’s letters, journals and stories. Author Michael Federspiel connects Hemingway’s Michigan summers with much of his later work, making the book a compelling read as well as visually interesting.

The Travel Book (Lonely Planet)

ISBN 9781741792119 $50 Lonely Planet In an age when we turn to the internet to answer any and every question that we have, there is something romantically old-fashioned, compelling and adventurous about sitting down with a big, beautiful book that takes you on a “journey throughout every country in the world.” The Travel Book contains double page spreads of 219 different countries and includes stunning images, cultural insights, key facts and maps. For travelers, armchair or otherwise, this book will make a delightful and treasured gift.

The Odyssey: A

Graphic Novel By Gareth Hinds Based on Homer’s Epic Poem ISBN 9780763642686 $14.99 Candlewick Gareth Hinds’ adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey will appeal to young people interested in Greek mythology, but could also serve as a fascinating introduction to the subject for any kid ages 9-12. Fans of the Percy Jackson series will enjoy reading the story that started it all — more than 2,500 years ago. Homer’s epic tale of Odysseus’ ten year journey from Troy to Ithaca is brought to life in stunning detail by Hinds’ art and imagery. Gods, goddesses, monsters, shipwrecks, sirens, heroes and adventures of all kinds make this a wonderful and entertaining gift choice.

It’s a Book

By Lane Smith ISBN 9781596436060 $12.99 Roaring Book Press Lane Smith (of The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and many more), has written and illustrated a book that defies categorization. It’s a Book can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages — but especially adults. It is the story of a book-loving Monkey and his technologically-savvy friend, the Jackass.  Jackass is intrigued by the odd thing that Monkey is reading. It doesn’t include a scroll, blog, tweet or wi-fi, but Monkey is engrossed all the same. Eventually Monkey is able to make his friend understand the nature of books, and the story ends with a line that will have you chuckling for days; however Smith’s trademark slightly subversive humor may make the book inappropriate for the youngest readers.

Potato Chip Science Book and Stuff

By A. Kurzweil & Son ISBN 9780761148258 $17.95 Workman Kids (ages 8 and up) will think that they have been given a bag of potato chips, but when they look closely they will see that they have received a book and the “fixings” needed to create 29 incredible experiments and experience lessons drawn from ecology, biology, forensics, acoustics and more all cleverly packaged in a large, blue potato chip bag. This is a gift that will provide hours of fun for your favorite little scientist. Potatoes not included.


By Matthew VanFleet ISBN 9781442403796 $17.99 Simon and Schuster Matthew VanFleet has done it again. Fans of Tails, Alphabet and Dogs won’t be disappointed by this latest offering for the youngest “readers.” At the top of my 2 year old’s Christmas list, Heads is “eye-popping fun for toddlers.” Eight ingenious and durable pull tabs, pettable textures and interactive surprises of all kinds will  keep your little one intrigued as he peruses the book on his own, and the rhythm and rhyme of the text make it a great read-aloud, as well.

Tags: book review, Gareth Hinds, Hemingway, Lane Smith, Lonely Planet, Matthew VanFleet, Michael Federspiel


Theresa Bolish Grossman

Theresa Bolish Grossman is one of the three owners of Tuesday Books, which is located at 137 West Grand River Avenue in Williamston. The other owners are Beth Phelps and Justine Dailey.

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