Book Gifts for Grads

Book Critic and author, Ellen Heltzel, joined us today with her picks for great grad gifts.  She also revealed the book she WISHES she had read after she graduated!

For more information about Ellen and her book, "Between the Covers," check out this website.


Match the book to the graduate and get kudos for a personalized pick.

1. TRADITIONALIST: How about the works of America’s finest writers? The Library of America is a non-profit publisher that specializes in keepsake editions spanning a range from the Founding Fathers to contemporary classics. Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Philip K. Dick are just some of the enduring writers that you’ll want on your bookshelf for years to come.

2. OVERACHIEVER: Get ready for the Phi Beta Kappa key with “Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham and the Science of Success,” by Matthew Syed. This former table tennis champ and Oxford grad dives into the old debate about nature vs. nurture to show that early signs of promise are no predictor of success. Try hard work and determination, instead.

3. UNDERACHIEVER: In “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Sherman Alexie won the National Book Award with this autobiographical novel that should give any kid hope, and the collector’s edition is cool. Here’s one messed-up kid on an American Indian reservation who survives to tell his story and learns how to have a sense of (sardonic) humor about himself. If he could succeed, so can you!

4. COLLEGE GIRL: “Commencement,” a paperback novel by J. Courtney Sullivan, is a fun gift for any coed-to-be who has dreams of making new friends while earning their diplomas. Four young women with nothing in common meet during their first year at Smith College. If you like chick lit and are college-bound, this one’s for you.

5. THE ONE I WISH I’D READ: “The Feminine Mystique,” by Betty Friedan. This was almost a classic by the time I left for college but was re-released about ten years ago with a new introduction by the author. I was so sheltered growing up that I had no idea how differently men and women would be treated in the workplace and life. This book would have helped me get my bearings. Friedan helped launch the modern women’s movement in the 1970s with a book that expressed her own frustrations and that of other college-educated women-turned-housewives. Women still face different challenges than men, but with a new slant: Where my generation of women was focused on getting opportunities we’d been denied, today’s young women may be overburdened with expectations that they can do it all.    


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