Books As Holiday Gifts

Diana Jordan shows us books that make perfect holiday gifts.

Book Suggestions

  • The Curious World Of Christmas, Niall Edworth
  • Holidays On Ice, David Sedaris
  • Grace, Richard Paul Evans
  • In the Beginning: The Art of Genesis, Chuck Fischer
  • Cross Country, James Patterson
  • Heartsick, Chelsea Cain
  • Sweetheart, Chelsea Cain
  • Time Of My Life, Allison Winn Scotch
  • Garfield: 20 Years of Laugh and Lasagna, Jim Davis
  • Portland Happy Hour Guidebook, Cindy Anderson
  • You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story, Richard Schickel and George Perry
  • In Search of Norman Rockwell's America
  • Wisdom, Andrew Zuckerman
  • Scrapbooks, Jessica Helfand

Stocking Stuffers

  • Journal
  • Goddess Journal
  • Zelda Wisdom Calendar
  • The Reading Woman Calendar
  • Goddesses Calendar

Visit Diana's website for more information. There you'll also find her daily BookBlog where you can read up on all the best books!

The Curious World Of Christmas

  • Author Niall Edworthy once worked as an elf in a department store, which could explain his fascination, or maybe his ever-so-slight cynicism.
  • Great book for your elder relatives who love Christmas and trivia.
  • Christmas is a pagan tradition -- the date of December 25th was actually the winter solstice on the old Julian calendar -- that's the one before the Romans stuck July and August in there, making it the Gregorian calendar.
  • There are recipes in the book -- like the Drunk Christmas Cake, for which the number one ingredient is an entire bottle of very good whiskey.
  • And, way back when, Christmas officially ended on Candlemas, which was celebrated on February second... which is now our Groundhog Day.

Holidays on Ice

  • David Sedaris is at it again.  Funny, nasty, smart.
  • For your sarcastic brother.
  • Writes about his experience as an elf at Macy’s in NY – actually, he tried for a job as a UPS man first – they asked why he wanted the job, and he replied he likes the uniforms. Karma, I suppose, that he did get the elf job.
  • He has to sing for Santa, to prompt the kids, rush families through the lines, stand at the Magic Window, be Exit Elf, be Photo Elf, sit through embarrassing training, kids crying, other elves flirting with him, boorish parents – it’s funny. 


  • Richard Paul Evans has a knack for writing the most heartwarming stories – that otherwise might be schmaltz.
  • It’s about a 14-year old kid whose family is down on its luck – but they love each other.  And he meets this girl Grace who is dumpster-diving.
  • He hides her in his clubhouse in the backyard and feeds and cares for her – finds out that her stepfather is abusing her.
  • It’ll bring tears to your eyes

In The Beginning: The Art of Genesis

  • For children who are creative and curious
  • Not only are there beautiful pop-up creations in this book, there are whole stories tucked in each corner
For children who are creative and curious

Cross Country

  • You don't read a James Patterson book, you fly through it.
  • Great book for your guy buddies
  • Cross Country is a bloody, violent chase -- Detective Alex Cross is investigating a series of brutal murders of families in the Washington DC area -- by gangs of teenage thugs, likely African nationals.
  • Alex flies to Africa to find the Tiger, the warlord he believes is behind this evil. Turns out there's more than one Tiger...and that Cross is in a lot of danger.
  • I interviewed James Patterson last month (it's slated to be the cover story in Writer's Digest's March/April issue), and he told me that one of his strengths, is that he has both a huge heart and he is analytical.
  • Patterson puts out at least three books a year -- he's had nearly fifty books on the New York Times bestseller list. And, he shows no signs of slowing down. Jim told me he has a file of stories that's 400-pages thick. And, these are stories that he wants to tell.

Sweetheart & Heartsick

  • The master Stephen King has Chelsea Cain’s books on his top ten list for the year!  And I have to agree.  He says Hannibal Lector-like books shouldn’t work, but Chelsea’s do – partly because of her ferocious sense of humor. 
  • These are stand-alone thrillers – Detective Archie Sheridan – the ferociously beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell – newspaper reporter Susan Ward.  Gretchen has this thing for surgically removing people’s spleens.  And now Archie – a victim Gretchen let go – is addicted to pills and Gretchen.
  • Tense, fascinating, great tortured relationship stuff

Time of My Life (Helen's Book Club Selection for December)

  • For your girlfriends who love to read
  • About a woman, disillusioned, in a faltering marriage with a sweet but not inordinately demanding baby daughter. Jillian hears from a friend that her old unreliable, totally hot boyfriend Jackson is getting married. She wonders what her life might have been like had she married Jack and stayed at the Madison Avenue ad agency. She climbs onto the massage table, wakes up seven years earlier in Jack's apartment!
  • The book's concept is perfect -- writers always tell me they think of an idea for a book, then torque it with "what if...." and they keep amping it until they have a novel worth sustaining the reader's pleasure. Here, not much amping is needed, because the reader brings her own story. "What if....?"

The Scarlet Stockings: The Enchanted Riddle

  • Wonderful book for a teenage girl
  • It’s about a 14-year old girl, Daphne, who was dropped off at an orphanage when she was an infant, and she loves to dance. Someone leaves a how to book on ballet for her – along with magic scarlet stockings – which come with an enchanted riddle. The stockings make her an amazing dancer, and teachers fall all over themselves to teach her.
  • There is tragedy – a turning point – and a magical ending. Well-written, I enjoyed all the twists and turns – and of course the magic.


  • Who doesn’t love Garfield, even after 30 years of it!

Portland Happy Hour Guidebook

  • The crushing economy is calling for thriftiness and creativity.
  • More than 200 of the Rose City’s best Happy Hours
  • It’s not so much about raising a glass -- it is the atmosphere, the food, and the affordability that count.
  • Give it as a gift – put a gift certificate to a restaurant with it – put wine glasses with it in a basket – it’s all good

You Must Remember This!

  • For any movie buff – 85th anniversary of Warner Brothers!
  • There were Warner Brothers – four of them, the oldest born in Poland, the rest born in the US, and they began by opening a nickelodeon in 1907.
  • The book opens with Clint Eastwood talking about his relationship with Warner Brothers, and how the company – outrageously – lets him do his own thing.
  • Then the glorious pictures begin – and quotes “You ain’t seen nothing yet” that was Al Jolson.  And “the headlines of today are the movies of tomorrow” by one of the Warner Brothers. 
  • From the first talking movies to RIN-TIN-TIN and CASABLANCA to DIRTY HARRY to HARRY POTTER, and SWEENY TODD,

In Search of Norman Rockwell's America

  • Easy tears.  Norman Rockwell’s paintings – juxtaposed with with author’s photographs – and quotes from presidents and personalities make this book stunning.
  • Short interviews with one of the child-models – now grown-up.
  • The book closes with a quote by Norman Rockwell himself – “I’ll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I’d like to.”  


  • We’ve got a bit of a Clint Eastwood thing going on here – not deliberate.  Also in this book Jane Goodall, Willy Nelson, Judi Dench, Nelson Mandela, and others.
  • For the socially conscious person on your list – the royalties go to their charities.
  • This is a book to sit with and read – or just turn the pages and read the big bold writing – it is wise, and it is beautiful.
  • Clint Eastwood’s comment about being yourself is worth the price of admission – “If a person is confident enough in the way they feel—you don’t have anything to prove; you can just be what you are.”


  • Opens strong -- to the delightful scrapbook of a nineteen year old girl, eloping with her love. Then, little scraps of lilting poetry begin blowing across each page...until finally we realize that it is the beginning of poet Anne Sexton's tortured life.
  • Mark Twain received a patent for inventing a self-pasting scrapbook -- made more money from those, apparently, than from all his other books combined.
  • It's not just pictures. It's sociology. It's history. It's passion.
  • The term scrapbooking itself was coined in 1929 -- four months before the stock market crash.
  • Helfand shows a photo in her book of a clock stopped at 9:04 -- it was acquired following the September 11th, 2001 attacks near the World Trade Center.
  • She talks of today's scrapbooking as a tool for recovery, a memory, even therapy.


This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.