18 Books To Give Your Best Friend This Holiday Season
As a book-lover, one of the only things I love more than getting books this time of year is giving books — and with everything kicking into full gear, now is definitely the time to start thinking about the perfect book to give your best friend this holiday season. (OK, let’s be honest: nothing beats getting books. But giving books is a close second; especially when you know those books are going to your partner-in-reading.)
If you and your BFF are known for taking more shelfies than selfies together, then you already know that there are tons of books at the top of her holiday wish list. And as her best friend, you’re also probably totally familiar with her TBR pile (and if not, be sure to sneak a peek ASAP.) But if you’ve done your research and you still find yourself stumped — there really are so many great books to choose from, after all — I’ve put together a list of some of the most BFF-worthy titles of 2016.
This holiday season, show your bookish BFF how much you really love her, by giving her the gift of reading. Here are 17 books to give your best friend this holiday season.
1. You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It is a hilarious and heartwarmingly relatable memoir about this “tomboy” and “late-bloomer” turned-comedian’s tumultuous journey from girlhood to womanhood, during which she felt impossibly out-of-place in a world filled with confusing gender norms and absurd feminine rites of passage. It’s no wonder the writer became a comedian.
2. I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell
This memoir-through-essays is the perfect gift for any emerging adult trying to figure out how they ended up floundering through adulthood in the first place — and it serves as a great reminder that we all make similar mistakes as we’re learning to become ourselves. Author Chloe Caldwell’s voice is quirky and straight-forward as she shares tales of failing at all the things adults fail at, at one point or another.
3. Problems by Jade Sharma
Debut novelist Jade Sharma writes in a voice that is equal parts irreverent and hilarious, depressive and hopeful, and Problems was by far one of the most interesting and uncommon books I read this year. Perfect for a BFF who likes her lit a bit off-beat, Problems tells the story of one woman’s fight through addiction on her own terms, and everything that falls apart on her path to recovery.
4. You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
Stand-up comedian and podcaster Phoebe Robinson’s contagious sense of humor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take what she says seriously. Written with heartfelt and opinionated humor, her debut essay collection, You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, explores race and gender through references from American pop culture, and you can tell Robinson's voice is entirely her own.
5. Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
I picked up this cookbook the moment I glanced at the “Breakfast All Day” section, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Perfect for both seasoned foodies and those who are less familiar with their own kitchens as well (like, shoes in the oven unfamiliar) Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat will have you practicing your breakout Food Network segment in no time.
6. The Guineveres by Sarah Domet
Sarah Domet’s debut novel, The Guineveres, tells a beautiful and poignant coming-of-age story of four unlikely girlfriends who are brought together by a shared circumstance — abandoned by their parents to be raised in a convent, and each named Guinevere, they grow up completely isolated from the outside world until a group of severely wounded World War II soldiers arrive at the convent as well, changing the girls’ lives — and their relationships with one another — forever.
7. Swing Time by Zadie Smith
A novel of female friendship, family, and identity, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time tells the story of two African European girls who spend their childhoods dreaming of being dancers and breaking the racial stereotypes of the dance industry. Taking readers from London to West Africa and back, at its core this is a novel about relationships: relationships with friends, relationships with place, relationships with art and music, and relationships with ourselves.
8. TREYF: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw by Elissa Altman
Elissa Altman spent her childhood learning religious rules that she immediately broke, and spent her young adulthood hiding her sexuality from the three most influential people in her young life — her father, her mother, and her grandmother. TREYF is a thoughtful and relatable memoir that asks universal coming-of-age questions about where we come from, how our lives are shaped by the people around us, what things we choose to keep from our pasts, and what things are better left behind.
9. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
For the bestie who loves fantasy (and honestly, even those who don’t would probably be into this novel) Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky introduces readers to two best friends, Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead, who mysteriously disappeared from one another’s lives at the end of their teens, and never expected to reunite. But reunite they have, in San Francisco, where a little bit of magic and a healthy dose of sci-fi might be all they have to call upon when tasked with saving the world.
10. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Because you and your bestie have spent hours laughing together thanks to the one-and-only Amy Schumer, you know she’ll love this book. In her memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, the Emmy Award-winning comedian shares stories of teenage angst and family drama, relationships, sex, and more, with her signature courage, honesty, and over-the-top hilarity that will leave you feeling like just about everything in life can become laugh-out-loud funny if you just look at it from the right perspective.
11. Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
This book is just too cool — part essay collection, part cookbook, part graphic memoir, Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton’s Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos is exactly what the title says it is: a collection of stories about chefs and their (sometimes surprising) tattoos, with recipes included. The perfect gift for an offbeat, tattoo-loving foodie BFF.
12. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
If you and your book-loving bestie loved Maria Semple’s novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, then her latest title, Today Will Be Different, should definitely make the gift list this year. Eleanor Flood's life is kind of a mess, and despite her best intentions she'll have to reach her her wits’ end before she’s final able to start fresh, and begin moving her life in the direction she’d always intended. Today Will Be Different is laugh-out-loud funny.
13. People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
Pregnant with her lover’s baby and planning to leave her husband, Emily Morris’s entire life is transformed on September 11, 2001, when she uses the distraction of the national disaster to take on a new identity and leave New York City — and her past mistakes — behind. But over a decade later she’s forced to rethink these decisions again, and determine if she can reimagine her life, and more importantly the life of her 13-year-old daughter, once more. Kim Hooper’s debut novel, People Who Knew Me, is complicated and big-hearted, and will keep you turning pages.
14. Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion by Missy Franklin
Conversational and sincere, six-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin’s memoir, Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion, tells the story of the athlete’s journey from discovering her love of swimming to competing in the 2012 London Olympics. Her story is shared with that of her parents, who never set out to raise a champion swimmer, but who simply wanted their daughter to grow up with a strong spirit and a happy heart.
15. Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
Jane L. Rosen’s novel Nine Women, One Dress is a charming series of interconnected narratives that center around just one dress — the little black dress of the season, and the must-have ensemble that makes its way through the different lives of several characters and changes them in ways they never would have expected. Think of this as a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-style read for adults.
16. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
New York Times-bestselling author Emma Straub enchants readers again with her latest novel, Modern Lovers, a story of best friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth, Andrew, and Zoe, who have slowly grown into their adult selves while still trying to retain the identity of their younger years. But as their own children reach the age Elizabeth, Andrew, and Zoe were when they last rocked together, the unresolved issues of the friends’ past begin to rise to the surface, in a story that is both sweet and funny.
17. Leave Me by Gayle Forman
We’ve all taken on too much at one point or another, and desperately needed to check out. That’s where Gayle Forman’s latest novel, Leave Me, meets Maribeth Klein, a woman so consumed with caring for her husband and children she doesn’t even realize she’s suffered a heart attack — and still her family is in no hurry to give her a break. Instead, she breaks away herself, embarking upon the vacation of a lifetime — one that will provide her not only with a much-needed break, but with some much-needed perspective on her life.
18. Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas That Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious by Gabrielle Moss
Bustle editor and writer extraordinare (full discolsure, folks) Gabrielle Moss has written a hilarious parody of the celebrity website GOOP, taking on the vanity, elitism, and silliness of the lifestyle website designed for a very particular (and elusive-to-the-everywoman) lifestyle. Filled with silly and sublime recipes, detoxes, activities, cleanses, beauty tips, juice cleanses, vacation destinations, and more, plus Moss's tips on parenthood, relationships, work and finances, entertaining, spirituality, beauty, fashion, kids, and more, Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas That Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious will have you and your bestie cracking up.
Image: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash