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Not Sure What to Get the Book Lovers in Your Life? We Have a Few Ideas

Still shopping for holiday gifts? We asked a variety of library staff members what books – new and classic – they would suggest giving to friends and loved ones.

Here’s what they recommend:

Adventure: “Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II” by Mitchell Zuckoff

Historical Fiction: “Transatlantic” by Colum McCann; “Katherine” by Anya Seton; “A Vision of Light” by Judith Merkle Riley.

Science: “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void” by Mary Roach
Mystery: “The Beekeeper's Apprentice” by Laurie King (Sherlock Holmes gets an apprentice: the Mary Russell series)

Humor: “The Stench of Honolulu” by Jack Handy; “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan (perfect for new parents); “In a Sun-burned Country” by Bill Bryson; “Austenland” by Shannon Hale; “The Book of Awesome” by Neil Pasricha

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One;” “Redshirts” by John Scalzi (funny, good for Star Trek fans); “Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson; The “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, soon to be a BBC series; “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss; “His Majesty's Dragon” by Naomi Novik; “Blackout/All Clear” by Connie Willis (time travel back to the London Blitz); Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher

Picture books/Children: “The Dark” by Lemony Snicket; “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown; “Journey” by Aaron Becker; “Matilda” by Roald Dahl; read-alouds: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien; “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

Middle grades: “Escape From Mister Lemoncello's Library” by Chris Grabenstein; “Better Nate Than Ever” by Tim Federle; “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore; the “Penderwick” series by Jeanne Birdsall.

Young Adult: “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein; “Winger” by Andrew Smith; “Reality Boy” by A.S. King; “Going Vintage” by Lindsey Leavitt; the “Christy Miller” series by Robin Jones Gunn.

Young Adult Graphic Novel: “Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant,” and “Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong” by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Adult Graphic Novel: “Little Tommy Lost” by Cole Closser, 2011 Missouri State University graduate whose volumes of hand-drawn comic strips are getting national praise.

Religious/Inspirational: “Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning” by Richard Stearns; “The Seasons of the Heart” series by Janette Oke

Sports: “October 1964” by David Halberstam

Want more recommendations? Just ask a librarian.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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