Gifts for Difficult People

We all know that one person (well, hopefully only one) who is impossible to buy gifts for. Well, friend, worry no more. I’ve got you covered. Take a gander at the list below and see if you can’t find something to suit your hard-to-buy-for loved one. If you don’t see your person’s category listed below, let me know (in the comments) and I’ll come up with something for you. (This list assumes your person can read English. If they can’t do that, I recommend a gift card, mittens, or perhaps a goat.)

1. For the reader who loves Dr. Who, fish sticks, and pictures:
Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra

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2. For someone military-adjacent (but not necessarily part of a military family), pacifistic, or ‘Murican:
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel

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3. For someone who thinks they like Romeo & Juliet, and doesn’t mind swearing, OR  for someone who knows they don’t like Romeo & Juliet, but who also secretly believes in true love, OR for someone who loves 80s indie bands:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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4. For the animal rights activist/vegan, person from a dysfunctional family, or for somewho that’s some mix of earnestness and humor :
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

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5. For someone who has lost someone recently and loves space:
Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

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6. For a woman who like to laugh until she pees, and doesn’t mind swear words or body humor:
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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7. For someone who loves mysteries and also Harry Potter, or someone who loves fashion and shopping but also has a soul (and enjoys mysteries):
The Cuckoo’s Calling by “Robert Galbraith”

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8. For someone who needs to bathe more regularly OR who needs to take shorter showers OR is interested in post-colonial theory:
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey & Don Wood

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9. For someone who won’t mind spending New Years’ Eve in tears:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
OR
The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

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The Book Thief

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10. For someone who thinks life should be just a little bit more darkly magical, and also likes circuses and puppet shows and love conquering all. Someone with black nail polish who also enjoys taking long walks on rainy moors?:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
OR
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

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11. Someone who might have the word “justice” tattooed on herself somewhere, and/or is just a little pretentious, or plays moody Chopin etudes in her spare time:
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

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12. For someone who reads comic books or is a superhero (or wishes she were), or who enjoyed Hancock:
Steelheart by Brian Sanderson

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So just choose one of these wonderful books for your holiday giving and quit stressing. Your loved one is going to love it. Happy Book Buying!

5 thoughts on “Gifts for Difficult People

  1. I love this and many of the books on the list! I read Let’s Pretend this Never Happened one weekend while my in-laws were in town, and I am convinced it SAVED MY SANITY (if only for that one weekend). I find that (some of) David Sedaris can serve the same purpose.

    Here’s more to add to the list: for occasionally moody tweens who just need to get lost in a good story OR their parents who still read to them at bedtime: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library or Fortunately, the Milk.

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