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OverBOOKed Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Too busy to read? Studies show those who read live longer and are smarter! Carve out some time in your busy schedule for some SHELFcare. We’ve curated a list for those who don’t have time to pick a book!


Holiday celebrations and gift-giving may look a little different in 2020.


If you’re looking for a new gift idea, try gifting a book! With may people staying put and spending more time at home, books make great gifts for every type of person on your shopping list. They also ship well to those recipients you may not see in person this holiday season. This bibliophile has a holiday tradition of using my favorite reads from each year as go-to gifts. While there are a few trusty standbys that have been well-received well, most of the following books were published in 2020.




To close out 2020, here are twenty books to gift (with recommendations based on whom you’re shopping for):


1. Writers & Lovers by Lily King

A smart and artistic young woman is in debt and “behind” her peers as she transitions from youth into adulthood following the death of her mother and the end of an unhealthy relationship.

For: Young adults, new graduates, fiction lovers, writers


2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

In 1700s France, a young woman makes a deal with the devil. Although she’s immortal, she is forgotten by everyone she meets. An epic tale sweeping centuries and continents, she learns to live being forgotten, until someone remembers her.

For: Fantasy enthusiasts, romantics, teachers


3. The Best of Me by David Sedaris

A collection of David Sedaris’ most confessional, absurd and observant stories from his 25-year career as the satirical funny man who notices everything and can turn the smallest observation into a comical and poignant commentary of who we are.

For: Your in-laws, your parents, a stocking stuffer


4. Humans by Brandon Stanton

From the creator of the popular Humans of New York, this book is a compilation of the faces and stories of people across the world. Spanning forty countries, these stories of the vast differences in humanity shed light on what we all have in common.

For: Travelers, host/hostess gifts, the person you don’t know well


5. Open Book by Jessica Simpson

This is more than a celebrity memoir. It’s an honest, raw and deep look at love, identity and addiction.

For: A struggling friend, the pop-culture lover, reality tv junkies


6. Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

A side-splitting collection of relatable, slice-of-life essays from a woman who finds herself with a new life (and family) as she approaches 40.

For: Your best friend, the “hard to shop for”, a friend going through a life change



7. Latkes for Santa Claus by Janie Emaus

A young girl and her new step-brother blend their family’s Hannukah and Christmas traditions as they compete to leave Santa the best treat.

For: Families with children, grandchildren, charity gift drives, hostess/host gift


8. The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Two couples – serving as pastors at the same church – explore friendship and marriage as they struggle with faith and social discord.

For: A friend from church, the philosophy or literary lover, a close friend


9. The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

In modern-day Nigeria, a 14-year-old girl is sold to serve as a third wife and then into slavery as a housekeeper. She seeks hope in unimaginable circumstances as she pursues her goal of an education.

For: Teachers, fiction readers, daughters


10. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Spanning decades in the lives of (estranged) identical twins. One remains in their small town of origin. The other lives across the country… with a different racial identity.

For: Sisters, friends, fiction readers


11. Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers by Helena Dea Bala

A compilation of true stories shared with a burnt-out lobbyist by a homeless man, who inspired her to place an ad on Craigslist for people who needed someone to hear their story – without advice, fear or judgement.

For: The “hard to shop for”, office gift exchange, charity gift drive


12. Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

At the new millennium, a songwriter chases her dreams in the city. The sacrificial elements of motherhood and all forms of love will speak to anyone who’s ever had a dream and learned that dreams can change.

For: Mothers, daughters, close friends, book club members


13. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at 36, Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of his most intimate thoughts on dying is an uplifting and encouraging instruction manual on living.

For: Fathers, men, the emergency gift (wrapped for someone you may have forgotten)!


14. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

In this phycological thriller, an adolescent girl vacations with her prominent family on a private island where she and her friends harbor loves and secrets that will shock readers.

For: Teens, thrill-seekers, travelers


15. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

An unnamed, wealthy grad has everything but longs to numb it all. Living off her inheritance, she attempts to sleep for a year in her apartment, giving the reader a satirical commentary on pre-9/11 New York City.

For: Your artsy relative, young adults


16. Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty (former monk and social media/podcast star) offers a pragmatic approach to a meaningful life with less anxiety and stress.

For: Bosses, Secret Santa exchanges, self-help/healthy living seekers, your trainer


17. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A memoir of essays in the form of letters from a father to a son depicting race in America and its effect on the shaping of American history.

For: Parents, teachers, son/daughter, niece/nephew


18. No Filter: The Inside Story of Instragram by Sarah Frier

The inside story of the rise of Instragram including interviews with Instagram successes on building a brand on the platform.

For: Entrepreneurs, business owners, social media lovers, colleagues


19. Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna Heartwarming and hilarious family stories merge with accessible and easy-to-try Indian recipes in this stylish cookbook.

For: Couples, new homeowners/neighbors, families


20. Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan

A collection of essays based on twelve powerful phrases we must learn to say in order to nurture our lives and relationships.

For: A close friend/relative, mothers & daughters, stocking stuffer, charity gift drive

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