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Working Titles: Your Perfect Book Gift Giving Guide

A good book is, and always has been, a great gift. But good is definitely the operative word in that sentence. Luckily, we're here with a holiday book buying gift guide that covers your entire family. These are the pages you should be turning to

For the past several months we’ve been recommending books for you to read every month.

And while that’s not exactly changing in December’s edition, we’ve selected books that you should give to others to read this holiday season.

From you foodie friend to your sister who wants to change the world, these are the pages you should be turning to.

For Your mom, Who Loves CanLit
Girl Runner
Carrie Snyder
House of Anansi Press

Aganetha Smart was an Olympic athlete in the 1920s, famous for her athletic prowess. Now, at the age of 104, she lives alone in a nursing home, until two young strangers take her on an unexpected outing. Aganetha returns with the strangers to her family farm in rural Ontario, conjuring up her memories of WWI, the Spanish flu epidemic, and the Great Depression. Two stories run parallel in this book: one contemporary, and one from the beginning of the 20th century, all centered around a character who still has plenty of spit left for her eleventh decade.

For Your Dad, Who Loves CanRock
Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
By Sharry Wilson
ECW Press

The “Sugar Mountain” years of Neil Young’s life take place between 1945 to 1966 and span his early childhood in Toronto, as well as his school years in Florida, Ontario, and Manitoba. The book explores the evolution of young Neil’s talent, through an era of shifting values and musical revolution.

For That Cute Niece or Nephew
An Armadillo in Paris
By Julie Kraulis
Tundra Books

Toronto-based Kraulis wrote and illustrated this delightful book about a Brazilian armadillo named Arlo who is inspired by his grandfather Augustin’s travel journals to go on an adventure of his own. Arlo visits Paris, guided by Augustin’s journal, encountering all sorts of adventures along the way. You and your niece or nephew will revel in Kraulis’ beautiful illustrations as you rollick through Paris with Arlo.

For That Cute Niece or Nephew’s Parents
You Have to F*cking Eat
Adam Mansbach & Owen Brozman
Akashic Books

From the guys who brought you Go the F*ck to Sleep, a book about the other great bane of parents’ existences, comes another for children who are picky eaters. Give the gift of a good laugh and cathartic release to those harried parents in your life this holiday season.

For Your “Foodie” Friend
Toronto Cooks: Signature Recipes From the City’s Best Restaurants
By Amy Rosen
Figure 1 Publishing

You could wait in line for an hour to eat the spicy meatballs at Pizza Libretto, or you could make them yourself in the comfort of your own home. Toronto’s restaurant scene has been exploding over the past few years, and this book provides a full spectrum celebration of our dining options, from the Parts and Labour Burger to Daniel Boulud’s Crispy Duck Egg a la Bourguignonne.

For Your Sister, Who Wants to Change the World
The Empathy Exams: Essays
By Leslie Jamison
Graywolf Press

Jamison’s goal is to explore the topic of empathy from a variety of different angles. How can we feel other people’s pain, express our own emotions, but also protect ourselves? This beautiful collection of essays draws from Jamison’s own experiences, and reaches out to wide-ranging topics like street violence, poverty tourism, and reality television, all in the goal of developing a more true sense of understanding of the plight of others.

For Your Brother, Who Insists on Calling it “Footie”
Red or Dead
By David Peace
Melville House

Peace established his place as the master of the soccer – ahem, football – story with The Damned United. With Red or Dead, he turns his focus to Liverpool in the sixties. The shipping industry had gone bust, and with widespread unemployment and a perpetually last-place football team, even the Beatles left town for London. Into this dark milieu walked Bill Shankly, a Scottish coal miner who turned the team around and lifted the city’s spirits in the process.


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Shannon Culver