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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Shopping for books
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article shared 2979 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
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Shopping is easy.

You do it at least once a week, just because. It's fun, relaxing, enlightening, and social. You love to shop… except when you have to shop for a gift for someone and you don't know what to buy. Gah.

In that case, how about a book? How about one of these books…..


If there is a young adult on your list who's recently come out—or who knows someone who has—then This Book is Gay, by James Dawson, has answers to a lot of questions, including those from people who've come out already and who offer advice. It's a quick-to-read, easily browse-able book that treats all subjects factually. Bonus: you can borrow it back if you have questions of your own…

Here's a different book that your giftee might like: Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, by Jane Ward. This book takes a look at what defines gay, for a man. Are "straight" men who flirt with men really straight? Is there a fine line in sexuality, or none at all? This is a thought-provoker, so be prepared to discuss.

Do love and politics make strange bedfellows? Your giftee will know, once you've wrapped up Don't Tell Me to Wait, by Kerry Eleveld. This book, written by a former Advocate reporter, takes a hard look at the Obama administration and how the LGBT community helped change policy.

If there's someone on your list who's fascinated by ( or uninformed of ) LGBTQ history, then The Gay Revolution, by Lillian Faderman could be the best gift he ( or she! ) gets this holiday. This brick of a book is filled with over 700 pages of tales of the fight for basic rights and the triumphs as they happened. Wrap it up with a book that looks at another facet of LGBTQ history: QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology, edited by Raymond Luczak. It's a book filled with stories—48 of them—written by authors who explore what it's like to be disabled and gay. See related story at the link: .


No doubt, there's a historian on your list. That means you'll want to wrap up Warrior for Justice: The George Eames Story, by Kathy Andre-Eames, foreword by Dale Brown. It's the story of activist George Eames who, despite being wheelchair-bound, fought for civil rights beginning some fifty years ago. It's also a tale of the author ( Eames' wife ) and her partnership with him in racial equality and help for those with disabilities. Wrap it up with Florynce 'Flo' Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical, by Sherie M. Randolph, which is the story of a world-changing black feminist in a white feminist world.

For the budding entrepreneur who'd love nothing more than a career in music, wrap up The Book of Luke, by Luther Campbell. It's the story of hip-hop artist Campbell, the founding of Luke Records, and the fight he took to the Supreme Court to protect the right to free speech.


What do you give to your best friend? If that's a question you've been asking, then Five Years in Heaven, by John Schlimm is the perfect answer. It's a book about the friendship between a thirtysomething man and an eighty-something nun who teaches him a thing or two—as he's also teaching her. Another great story to give is "White Eskimo, by Stephen R. Bown. It's the tale of Knud Rasmussen and the exploration of the Arctic .

If your giftee is young enough to know how to get to Sesame Street, but old enough to read grown-up books, then"Becoming Maria, by Sonia Manzano is the gift to give. This memoir is about growing up in New York, dreaming of one thing and getting another, and about big hearts on the small screen. Another book to look for and to give to the person who loves bios about performers: "Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story, by J. Randy Taraborrelli, a book about guess who….

Who hasn't dreamed of running away to join the circus? No doubt, your giftee has and Love in the Elephant Tent, by Kathleen Cremonesi, is the right book to wrap. It's the story of an administrative assistant who leaves her life behind to start a new one as a dancer in a circus. But adventure isn't all she finds, and that's a jumbo story. Pair it with "American Ghost, by Hannah Nordhaus, another unusual story: Nordhaus writes about her family, particularly her great-great-grandmother's ghost.

Is there a reader on your list who can handle a memoir that's not pretty to read? Then Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution, by Rachel Moran is perfect to wrap. It's Moran's story of being a teenage runaway with no other way to stay alive except to sell her body, which she did for several years. This is a brave, powerful memoir, but beware of the subject matter before you put it under the tree.

The person who loves to ( or longs to ) perform might enjoy reading "Playing Scared, by Sara Solovitch. It's a personal and historical look at stage fright, panic attacks, and what Solovitch did to overcome them. Wrap it up with "Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis, a memoir by a rape survivor and what she did that helped her heal.

Here's a book for someone's mother: Expect a Miracle, by Jenny Long ( with Bob Der, forward by LeBron James ). You may have heard of Long's boys: her older son, Connor, was the kid who pushed his younger, disabled brother in a kids' triathlon. Pack this book with tissues, for sure, or wrap it up with Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's Story, by David Payne. It's the story of the author, the loss of his brother, the aftermath of devastation and memory, and finding a way back.

For the reader who loves a book with a bit of mystery and a ton of emotion, Pieces of My Mother, by Melissa Cistarowill fill that bill. When she was just a child, Cistaro's mother got into a car and drove away—for good. What made her do that? The answer, which took years to solve, is in this amazing book. And if you're looking for something on the Dad Side, look for "The War Came Home with Him, by Catherine Madison, a daughter's remembrances of her soldier father.

Is there someone on your list who loves an inspirational biography? Then you'll be the winner of The Best Gift Award when you wrap up "Tough as They Come, by SSG Travis Mills ( with Marcus Brotherton, foreword by Gary Sinise ). This book, written by a quadruple amputee, is filled with bravery and plenty of inspiration.

For the person who loves his solitude, wrap up Navigating Grace, by Jeff Jay, the story of a man who faced the sea and his own demons on the way to the change his life needed and the God he was missing. Also look for The Point of Vanishing, by Howard Axelrod, the story of a man who, having endured too much loss in his life, goes to the Vermont woods for two years of solitude and reflection.

The basketball fan on your list might like unwrapping Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball, by Bijan C. Bayne ( foreword by Bob Ryan ). It's a biography about NBA Hall of Famer Baylor, his ball career, and his work on behalf of the civil-rights movement.

It's no surprise that there are skeletons in your closet. It happens, and in The Beauty of What Remains, by Susan Johnson Hadler, secrets are revealed and healing commences. What remains? You'll love it.

This article shared 2979 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
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