Tag Archives: Gene Luen Yang

[TSS] Bookish Bliss: Buying Bookish Gifts That Are Hits

I can’t help it. I love to give books almost as much as I like to receive them. So every Christmas, I end up buying at least one or two books for everyone on my list. And since some of the people receiving the gifts are non-readers (like my daughter), it can be hit and miss.

This year, though, I’m patting myself on the back. Because I picked some bookish gifts that turned out to be hits on the receiving end!

First up: my daughter Hayley. Hayley’s a filmmaker, and she’s far more into visual stuff than she is into reading. Two years ago I gave her Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, because I’d read it earlier that year and I loved it (plus I cried a lot while reading it). Definitely a fail, unfortunately. She tried reading it, but it just wasn’t her. Last year, I tried again with Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, another book I’d loved. I thought this one would be a hit, because Hayley’s big on diversity, and Park, one of the main characters, is half-Asian. But I don’t think she’s gotten around to reading it yet.

This year, I got smart. I bought her all graphic novels – she’s particularly fond of Batman. And I’m definitely on the right track, because the day after Christmas, she told me how much she liked this book:

the shadow hero

The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew, features The Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero. Hayley had finished it by Boxing Day – definitely a hit!

Next up: Dylan, my eleven-year-old. He prefers graphic novels to regular books too.


Earlier this year I’d gotten a copy of Smile by Raina Telgemeier from the library, and he’d seen it lying around, picked it up and loved it. So this year I bought him both Smile and Sisters. On Christmas Day, right before bed, he said, “Wow! Sisters is SUCH a good book.”

Yes! Another hit!

This last gift, for my son Sean, qualifies as a quasi-hit, I think. Usually it’s easy to get Sean books, as he likes a lot of the same thriller/action books I do. Last year, for example, I got him Dr. Sleep, N0S4A2 and the Jack Reacher novel Never Go Back (he’s read most of the Jack Reacher books), and all of them were hits with him. This year, though, I didn’t think Revival would be a good fit for him, and I’d started listening to the most recent Jack Reacher, Personal, and I didn’t really like it as much as previous ones in the series.

The Martian

So I ended up getting Sean, among other books, The Martian, by Andy Weir, because I’d simply LOVED this book (I listened to the audio version and it was just so very, very good). Sean hasn’t started reading it yet, but one of his good friends is absolutely thrilled that I gave Sean this book – his friend has been trying to get him to read it for months now. When Sean told him I’d given it to him for Christmas, he wanted my phone number so he could text me “thank you”. So I think that counts as a quasi-hit!

2.5 hits is pretty good, I think …

Do you buy books as gifts? Do you find your bookish gifts are big hits, or not really much of a hit at all?