If you're looking for a stocking stuffer this holiday season, you could do a lot worse than a book (of course, a lot of them don't actually fit in a stocking - but you get the idea). Books come in small packages, they're full of inspiration and they can transport you to another place.
Here are some participants in this year's Canada Reads sharing their picks for great literary stocking stuffers on the show:
But why stop there? Over the last year, we've had a bunch of brilliant authors on the show. If you're looking for gift ideas, there's a list below of the excellent books they've written. And if you want more great authors, check out our 'Best of Author Interviews' show on Wednesday, December 21st.
Our Top Five Gift Book Ideas
Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, 'That Used to Be Us'
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman looks at why America is no longer the leader it once was. The book is subtitled 'How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back' - and that's precisely the book's subject matter. It's intended as a wake-up call and a call to action, and it makes for compelling reading. Here's Thomas talking about the American "formula for success" and why it's no longer being used.
Jann Arden, 'Falling Backwards'
She's a Canadian icon, and now Jann has opened up about her childhood, her formative years, and how she stays grounded in the entertainment industry in her memoir, 'Falling Backwards'. Recommended for fans of Canadian music - and fans of Jann.
Georges Laraque, 'Georges Laraque: the Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy'
A sweet-natured vegan who also happens to have made a living as an NHL enforcer? It's a fascinating story, and Georges is honest about the fear and anxiety that comes with the lifestyle he chose to embrace when he joined the league. Any hockey fans in your life will most likely enjoy the insider view of the game from a different perspective.
Philippa Gregory, 'The Lady of the Rivers'
What do you look for in a book: Passion? Excitement? History? Philippa Gregory has made a very successful career out of providing readers with entertaining and thought-provoking visions of historical events. 'The Lady of the Rivers' is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and strong female protagonists. Philippa talks about rescuing women from history below:
Niall Ferguson, 'Civilization: The West and the Rest'
How did western civilization achieve such prominence in the world? And can they hang onto it now that other countries are adopting western ways, and challenging the hegemony of the West? These are thought-provoking questions for the history buff on your list, or anyone who wants to gain a new (and admittedly somewhat right wing) perspective on the world we live in. Here's his recent red chair interview:
Other Great Gifting Books
Jeffrey Eugenides, 'The Marriage Plot'
They say "it's the thought that counts". Well Jeffrey Eugenides thought about 'The Marriage Plot', his latest novel, for ten years: that's how long it took him to write. And judging by the reviews, all the effort paid off.
Neil Pasricha, 'The Holiday Book of Awesome'
He's Canadian. He's Awesome. And he's a big fan of spreading the Awesome around. Consider Neil Pasricha's 'The Holiday Book of Awesome' - or one of the other 'Awesome' books - as a gift this year. What are they? Basically, descriptions of awesome things. Moments of joy. Moments of foolishness. Things like 'Not Getting a Hangover When You Were Expecting One'. Awesome.
Michele Landsberg, 'Writing the Revolution'
She's been writing about women's experiences for 'The Toronto Star' since 1978. That's a lot of insight, activism, and inspiration. In 'Writing the Revolution', Michele selects the best of the 3000 columns she's written over the last 33 years, and urges everyone to continue the fight for equal rights. For the socially conscious, it's a gift that keeps on giving.
Ian Rankin, 'The Impossible Dead'
After 17 Inspector Rebus novels and numerous other books, you'd think Ian Rankin might be slowing down at this point. You'd be wrong. This is his second novel about Malcolm Fox, a police officer in his forties, and it's a great choice for fans of crime fiction.
Jamie Oliver, 'Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes'
It's part travel book, part cookbook, and it's all curated by the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver. Anyone on your list who loves new food experiences and enjoys travel and learning about new corners of the world will treasure this one for years to come.
Don Ferguson and Roger Abbott, 'Air Farce: Forty Years of Flying By the Seat of Our Pants'
The late Roger Abbott was an accomplished comedian and a Canadian icon. His work with Royal Canadian Air Farce will never be forgotten - and let's not forget how funny he and his compatriots could be. In this volume, he and Don share their memories of making Canadians laugh through the decades.
Wade Davis, 'Into the Silence'
If you or someone on your list is into the great outdoors, climbing, extreme sports, or any other activity that gets you out of the house, then Wade's book is a great way to offer a little escape to a loved one for when they can't actually leave the comfort of their living room.
Steve Simmons, 'The Lost Dream'
It's not a pleasant read, admittedly, but Steve's book blows the lid off a dark corner of hockey: a tale of abuse and lost innocence as compelling as it is important. In Steve's hands, the story of Mike Danton and his former agent, David Frost, delves deeper than the news accounts.
Joel Bakan, 'Childhood Under Siege: How Corporations Target Children'
The author of 'The Corporation' - the book that led to the epic documentary about how corporations are like psychotic individuals - returns to expose the ways that large companies are targeting kids with their advertising and tactics. Chilling stuff.
Margaret Atwood, 'In Other Worlds'
In books like 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Oryx and Crake', Margaret Atwood has created compelling science-fiction worlds. Her latest work contains lots of insights about her relationship with science fiction as a form, and the implications of futuristic visions for our present: perfect for the literature fans and the sci-fi fans on your list alike.
David Javerbaum, 'The Last Testament, A Memoir by God'
It may not be a good choice for the religious-minded people on your list - it plays a little fast and loose with the Bible, the Koran, and other holy books - but as a work of comedy, it's got a lot of laughs. David is credited as God's co-author as the Supreme Being explains what he's done since he created the universe from a fresh perspective.
William Shatner, 'Shatner Rules'
He's Captain Kirk. He's a living legend. And now he's offering his rules for living. Give the gift of the wit and wisdom of William Shatner. It's the. Gift. That keeps on. Giving.
Michael Bublé, 'Offstage Onstage'
Know any Michael Bublé fans? Chances are you do: his music has reached millions of people, and his popularity continues to grow. This beautiful book of photographs from his various tours and his private life makes a great gift for the Buble fan on your list.
Erin Morgenstern, 'The Night Circus'
Everyone's hungry for another work of fantastical genius - now that the Harry Potter series is done, lots of new contenders have stepped up to wear the crown of fantasy and young adult literature. Erin's book, 'The Night Circus', is one such contender, and if you've got a Harry fan in your life, they'll be excited to get lost in her world.
Shannon Moroney, 'Through the Glass'
What happens when you discover that your husband is a cold-blooded predator? And what happens after that discovery shatters your whole world? That's what happened to Shannon - her husband Jason was arrested for brutally assaulting and kidnapping two women.
Ron MacLean, 'Cornered: Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights'
He's one of the most well-known men in this country, and he shares the screen with the firebrand Don Cherry every Saturday night. Now, for the first time, Ron lets the audience in on his own point of view. What's life like next to Grapes? Someone on your list will want to find out.