Books make the best gifts! Here are some recommendations for everyone on your list. I have my personal recommendations, as well as a few from my voracious reader teenagers. There’s a good mix of some suggestions by better known authors (but maybe not their well-known books), as well as some from smaller presses that are genre standouts. I hope this makes your book shopping easier!
For The Sports Fans in Your Life:
While I’m not necessarily a huge sports fan, I have been a fan of many great books about sports (Friday Night Lights? Be still my heart). These books are great recommendations for the sports lovers in your life, but they are also just great books that everyone would enjoy reading.
Hooking Off the Jab: Nigel Collins on Boxing: Collins covered boxing for five decades. Whether you are a boxing fan or not, this book gives you unprecedented insight into the sport of boxing by one of its greatest writers.
In the category of sports + thriller, I absolutely loved Dan Fogarty’s Kill the Prince. This book is about an MMA fighter with a tortured past. Due to recurring head trauma, he can no longer distinguish between what is real and what’s in his head. It’s a facinating, well-written book with great character insight and development, good pacing, and a glimpse into the world of MMA fighting. [ONLY $2.99 ON KINDLE THROUGH CYBER MONDAY!]
For the Teenagers in Your Life (that adults will love, too)
From my son, comes a recommendation for Alex Nader’s Dirt Road Home. Usually one to prefer non-fiction, my son loved Dirt Road Home for the great, straight forward story-telling. It’s a coming of age novel about a young man who moves from Detroit to Tennessee with his troubled mother and trouble-making brother to live with a man his mom never met in person. There, he finds unexpected acceptance, belonging, and love. At age 13, my son skipped the mushy parts, but otherwise, very much enjoyed this book. There is a lot about cars and the banter, especially between the main character and his brother, is often very funny. There is some mature content here, mild language, and non-explicit sex, but mostly, a lot of good life lessons about forgiveness and second chances. For most, I would recommend for age 15 and up. This booked gave me The Outsiders vibes. I loved it, too! [ONLY $.99 ON KINDLE THROUGH CYBER MONDAY!]
Both of my kids resoundingly recommend Andy Weir’s Artemis. While this is not one of his more popular novels, they connected to the younger main character, Jazz, and her struggles to find her own identity and purpose in the shadow of her religious and exacting dad, and in the close community of the first settlement on the Moon. Like most of Weir’s main characters, Jazz is hilarious and very good at getting herself into all kinds of trouble, that she then has to get out of. There is mature content here including a LOT of cursing and some sexual references. My son hit the skip ahead button here and there, but my 14 year old daughter was ready for it. Most parents would approve at 16 and up.
If you are a Gen-Xer like me and want to make sure that your kids have excellent taste in music and films, then I’m sure you’ve read Ready Player One. If you haven’t, you should, and your teens will love it and hopefully start listening to the 80s music we so love. After that, you’ll want to pick up the charming novel, I’ll Be There for You by Brieanna Wilkoff. I’ll Be There for You is a charming, pay-it-forward novel about a girl struggling to cope with the loss of her father through their shared love of ’80s rock.
Best Audiobook for a Father/Daughter Road Trip
My daughter loved listening to Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights on her last road trip with her dad. She said it was funny and full of great life lessons. She felt that it gave a very interesting perspective on someone who has really lived his life and was a unique view on growing up, especially for a teenager. She found it very relevant.
Best Audiobook for a Father/Son Road Trip
My son recommends The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy. He loved learning more about the different types of people that Murphy met during his many years on the road and a glimpse into a very different type of life.
And For you Sci Fi and Fantasy Lovers….
Girl Dragon Slayers? Yes please! Fireheart is a charming YA Fantasy Novel by Vanessa Lanang about a girl who is sworn to slay the dragon that killed her mother. The novel has great plotting and pacing and lots of unexpected twists. [ONLY $2.99 ON KINDLE THROUGH CYBER MONDAY!]
If you want my book, ReInception, my publisher is also offering a deal – through Cyber Monday, the Kindle book is only $2.99. ReInception is a 2022 American Writing Awards Finalist in Sci Fi. You can also order signed copies of my book through Split Rock Books.