There’s Something for Everyone: Gift Guide No. 4

When we say we can find a book for everyone on your list this holiday season, we really mean it. For the fourth and final installment of the 2021 Gift Guide series, we’ve collected a list of books for the music nerds, history buffs, photography fanatics, cult junkies (yes, it’s a thing — staff-favorite author Susan Orlean knows what I’m talking about) and everyone in between. This list really has it all: short books, long books, historical books, contemporary books, books about art, books about spies, books about Danny Trejo (okay, just the one book about Danny Trejo), things that aren’t even books… you see what we’re trying to say. Take a dive into this eclectic collection!

A note from our online orders staff: Shipping times are longer than usual this holiday season. Our deadline to place a shipping order to arrive in time for Christmas is December 10, but the sooner you place your order, the better. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we catch up on orders!

Recommended by Hannah

Q-Less: The Crossword Solitaire Game

​If you’re on the hunt for the perfect stocking stuffer, look no further! Q-Less a super simple yet totally addicting little game perfect for all ages. Roll the dice and attempt to create a crossword-style arrangement of words using the letters you rolled… I’ve played at least one round a day ever since I got it – it’s that fun. (Bonus: the creator is local to Nashville!)

Recommended by Sarah

Book Darts

These Parnassus book darts are perfect for any reader. You can use them as bookmarks to find your page,or even to mark specific lines that you want to come back to and read over and over again.

Recommended by Ben

Small Things Like These Cover ImageSmall Things Like These

As in all great novellas, nothing is wasted in this one. Bill Furlong’s thoughts and experiences in a small Irish town around Christmas Day take on a significance that speaks to any of us, in any town, on any day. The prose is precise and sensory, the dialogue by turns jaunty, dialectal, and revealing of the characters’ inner depths.

Recommended by Kathy

The Wright Sister: A Novel Cover ImageThe Wright Sister: A Novel

Like historical fiction, but books are usually too long? This is the perfect solution! Told in diaries and letters, this little book tells the story almost no one knows – that of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s sister who was a formidable woman in her own right.

Recommended by Sissy

Something New Under the Sun: A Novel Cover ImageSomething New Under the Sun: A Novel

This is Hamlet but all twisted up. Protagonist Hamlin has written a book that’s being turned into a movie, and disaster ensues (on set and globally). The earth is drying up, yet the cameras keep rolling in Hollywood and people keep being terrible. Kleeman’s dialogue is pitch perfect and she’s HILARIOUS.

Recommended by Madeline

Villains Duology Boxed Set: Vicious, Vengeful Cover ImageVillains Duology Boxed Set

This duology set is perfect for readers who love classic comic book villains and morally gray characters galore! Anyone who loves a good anti-hero story will fall in love with the gritty, dark, and illustrative world that V. E. Schwab paints. The best part of these books: there are no heroes. Jaded morality drives these thrilling narratives. You won’t be able to put it down.

Recommended by Jennifer

Sense and Sensibility: Illustrations by Marjolein Bastin (Marjolein Bastin Classics Series) Cover ImageSense and Sensibility

As a long time Jane Austen fan, I love this collector’s edition of her timeless work about the Dashwood sisters. Artist Marjorlein depicts beautiful and colorful illustrations to accompany this classic.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Forest of Vanishing Stars: A Novel Cover ImageThe Forest of Vanishing Stars: A Novel

A woman stolen at birth and raised in the forest leads a group of Jewish refugees to safety as WWII erupts around them.

Recommended by Erin

A Peculiar Combination: An Electra McDonnell Novel (Electra McDonnell Series #1) Cover ImageA Peculiar Combination: An Electra McDonnell Novel (Electra McDonnell Series #1)

Weaver has written a pitch-perfect opener for a new historical mystery series set in WWII London. When Ellie and her uncle get picked up after a little late-night larceny, they’re offered a choice: go to prison, or help stop a traitor working with the Germans. I’m already looking forward to the next adventure of Ellie, her family of patriotic crooks, and the upright (and uptight) Major Ramsey.

Recommended by Patsy

Fresh Water for Flowers Cover ImageFresh Water for Flowers

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker of a cemetery in Burgandy who leads a quiet life until a police chief from another town visits to deposit his mother’s ashes. He helps unravel a mystery of Violette’s past while she intersperses tales of the lives of the cemetery’s various inhabitants. This bestselling novel in France and Italy is filled with beautiful moments of hope and happiness.

Recommended by Sissy

Northern Spy: A Novel Cover ImageNorthern Spy: A Novel

Two sisters struggle with loyalty as IRA violence escalates in Northern Ireland. I thought this was even better than A Double Life.

Recommended by Karen

Beaumonster: A Memoir Cover ImageBeaumonster: A Memoir

Jesse Dayton started playing guitar in Beaumont Texas, his hometown when he was a teenager. His long career has run the gambit from session player to front man. Musically you will find Dayton at the intersection of the cowpunk band The Supersuckers and Waylon and Willie. On top of being a great musician he is a fantastic writer too, from screenplays to this wildly entertaining book.

Recommended by Sissy

Wholehearted Faith Cover ImageWholehearted Faith

When Rachel Held Evans passed, she had a lot of new material already saved up for her next work. Her writing is so precise, and so fresh. You will instantly remember why she speaks for all those disillusioned with the church but still longing for connection. She articulates the questions we are afraid to ask God. I miss her, and cannot wait to give my loved ones this book.

Recommended by Hannah

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism Cover ImageCultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Have you or someone you know always been intrigued by cults? Folks, this is required reading for the cult-curious and/or for any word & language nerds out there. Cultish is one of those books you read and never forget; you’ll spot those pesky language patterns everywhere.

Recommended by Sarah

Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres Cover ImageMajor Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres

This is a fascinating deep dive into the world of musical genres. Sanneh dissects how they add to our individual identities, generate collectivism, and breed exclusivity all at the same time. This would make a perfect holiday gift for the music and history lovers in your life!

Recommended by Sydney

Annie Leibovitz: Wonderland Cover ImageAnnie Leibovitz: Wonderland

The legendary Leibovitz does it again. Through an illustrious body of work, Wonderland showcases how working in the fashion industry has shaped the life, art, and career from one of the most renowned photographers of our time.

Recommended by Madeline

Hayao Miyazaki Cover ImageHayao Miyazaki

This treasure of a masterpiece puts together Miyazaki’s work from Studio Ghibli, sharing illustrations and images of his creative process of timeless classics. What once could only be found in Miyzaki’s studio in Japan has been collected in this stunning retrospective in honor of the 2021 inaugural exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

Recommended by Patsy

100 Things We've Lost to the Internet Cover Image100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet

This slim volume is much more than a list of outdated things such as card catalogs and photo albums. While it gives us a chance to wane nostalgic, it causes us to reflect upon quiet time, communication, and how we choose to exist in the modern world, with all its technological trappings. We may have lost the concepts of not knowing and of being bored; how will we cope with our crowded minds and short attention spans?

Recommended by Sissy

Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood Cover ImageTrejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

Trejo may be a familiar face to everyone, but I had no idea about his fascinating life. His detailed descriptions of prison are littered with complex relationships. His battles with addiction and crime lead him in and out of recovery, all while he slowly moves onto the Hollywood scene. This is an uplifting and unbelievable ride filled with suspense, friendships, and redemption. A perfect gift.

Recommended by Andy

A History of Nashville's Warner Parks Cover ImageA History of Nashville’s Warner Parks

Should be on every Nashvillian’s bookshelf

Recommended by Heath

Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era Cover ImageCapote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era

This book does two things. One, it gives a fascinating glimpse into New York high society of the 50’s and 60’s. Two, it gives context to Capote’s infamous, unpublished (maybe never even finished) novel, Answered Prayers.

Recommended by Erin

Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them Cover ImageMaiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them

Millions of women crisscrossed the Atlantic via ocean liners during the first half of the 1900s — glamorous celebrities, émigrés seeking new beginnings, and crew members navigating everything from seasickness to sinking ships. This engaging social history sails the reader into the golden age of transatlantic travel with portraits of the women who helped reshape society on both sides of the ocean.

First Editions Club: December Selection

These Precious Days: Essays Cover ImageThese Precious Days: Essays



Dear friends,

You may find this whole set-up a bit much: I wrote the book, I picked the book for First Editions Club, and now I’m writing the letter to go inside the book.

Let me explain.

Some months publishers offer us an embarrassment of riches, so many fabulous books that the hardest thing we have to do is choose. Other months are trickier. Historically speaking, December is a tricky month. December leans towards cookbooks, coffee table books, travel books—good choices for gifts but not good choices for our club.

Which got me thinking, what if I published my next book around Thanksgiving? I’ve never picked my books in the past, but if I picked These Precious Days for December, it would seem less like a conflict of interest and more like a means of solving a problem. And anyway, Sparky’s on the cover, so it’s a good-looking book. You can read it gently and then wrap it up and give it to someone else.

Or who knows, maybe you’ll decide to keep it. Either way, I hope you’ll like it. Happy reading, and happy holidays.


Ann Patchett

More about our First Editions Club: Every member receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.