You had your eyes wide open.


Still, it happened: the holidays snuck up on you, just like they do every year. One day, it was September and you were drinking something iced. The next minute, you had a long gift list in your hand and you were standing, baffled, in the middle of a crowded store, wondering how you ever got to this point and wishing for that iced drink. Allow me to make your life easier. Here’s a gift guide to make fulfilling that list a snap and your holidays smoother by giving books…

Okay, now the important stuff: release dates are approximate. You might have to order what you want to give, so allow plenty of time. If all else fails, buy yourself the book and give a gift certificate. Heck, buy yourself the book anyhow because you’ve worked hard this year. And if you’ve got questions, nicely ask your favorite bookseller because she’s made it her job to put books in your hands. Season’s readings !


Does your giftee wear purple and hark back to “1999”? Then you just need to wrap up

“Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution” by Jason Draper this holiday. This book looks at the Purple One’s life, from the beginning of his career to recently. Bonus: pictures!


Got a street lit lover on your gift list? Then wrap up “Street Divas” by De’Nesha Diamond. In this book, four women in Memphis rule the hood but when men step into the picture, they must decide: are they together, apart, or both? Also look for “Nookie” by Anieshea Dansby, a book about a sweet little something who finds the streets to be a place she needs to capture or die trying…

When it comes to a gift, do you like to put a little bling into the thing? Then you can’t go wrong with “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” by Kiki Swinson and Noire, two novellas by two acclaimed authors in one hot book. Pair it with “Back on Top” by Angela Winters, one story about three women and their risky, dangerous, sexy lives in our nation’s capital.

For the romance lover, why not wrap up “Breaking the Ties That Bind” by Gwynne Forster? This book includes a little love, a little mother / daughter drama, and a lot of entertainment for not a lot of cash. Wrap it up with “Should Have Known Better” by Octavia Grace, for the best holiday gift ever.

If your giftee loves a little fast action, then you can’t go wrong with “Tre Pound” by Jordan Belcher. This novel tells the story of a hustler from a long line of hustlers who finds himself fighting for his life on the streets, but his criminal behavior isn’t just his business… it also affects his teenage cousin. Also look for “Allure of the Game” by Danielle Santiago, the story of a female hustler and her losing game she’s playing.

If there’s a political animal on your gift list, then wrap up “The GQ Candidate” by Keli Goff. This book, inspired by the last presidential election, is the story of a man who aspires to be the next president, until a campaign of negativity and his own wife serve to squash his political dreams.

Somebody on your list needs some spiritual guidance, no doubt, so you know they’ll appreciate getting “64 Lessons for a Life Without Limits” by T.D. Jakes. In this book, Rev. Jakes leads his readers on a path to wealth, both personally, financially, and spiritually, and you know that will make for a great New Year.

If there’s a musician on your gift list, here’s two good suggestions: “What a Wonderful World” by Ricky Riccardi is a book about Louis Armstrong in the post-World War II years until his death in 1971. This is a big book and I defy you not to hum the song to match the title as you’re giving it… Wrap it up with “Flavor Flav: The Icon, The Memoir” by Flavor Flav for a good representation of all kinds of music.


If there’s somebody on your gift list who wants to be well from the inside out, then you’ll be doing a good thing by giving “Spontaneous Happiness” by Andrew Weil, MD. This book will help readers find emotional wellness through a shift in attitude that will help readers manage moods and attain contentment and a better outlook on life.


Don’t ask, don’t tell? Don’t worry about it any more, but there once was a time… and “Out of Step” by J. Lee Watton tells about those years. Watton, a WAVE in 1965, was one of a handful of women whose careers were threatened by officials looking for lesbians to discharge. This book promises surprises, as well as outrage.

If your giftee is one of those skip-around-the-book kinds of readers, then “Black Like Us”, edited by Devon W. Carbado, Dwight A. McBride and Donald Weise will be much appreciated. This book, filled with short stories by dozens of African American LGB writers, offers literature from the turn of the last century and forward.


In this economy, you might have someone on your list who’s eager to be their own boss. The best gift, in that case, is a book like “6 Secrets to Startup Success” by John Bradberry. This book shows, step by step and sometimes off-the-beaten-path, how to take an idea from a spark to a roaring success. Wrap it up with“Make Your Own Rules: A Renegade Guide to Unconventional Success” by Wayne Rogers with Josh Young.

And finally, if there’s a girl on your list who thinks math stinks, then wrap up “HotX: Algebra Exposed!” by Danica McKellar. Did you know that Winnie on The Wonder Years had a degree in math? Yes, indeed, and this book explains algebra in a way that your high-schooler can understand. Bonus: borrow the book back, for an education of your own…

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