Holiday Gift Guide: 8 Books For Your Weird, Book-Hating Friend

by  | December 20

The new Bachelor contestants have a few things in common: a shocking majority of them want to be dolphins (is it a sex thing?), or Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and also they do. Not. Read. Oh, sweet Ida Marie:

“If you could be someone else for just one day, who would it be and why? Selena Gomez. I can’t sing to save my life, so to belt out a tune for a crowd would be awesome.

What kind of snacks do you like? Cheetos with a pickle.

What is your favorite all-time book and why?: I need to read more books.

Who is your favorite author?: Again, I need to read more books.”

Reader, do you have a friend like Ida Marie? If you’re worried I’m judging you, I AM. What’s more depressing than an Ida Marie? Ida Marie, who I presume CAN read but CHOOSES not to? Whose Cheeto-dusted fingertips will ne’er grace a deckled edge? Who will get way into Big Little Lies on HBO but drown out your Liane Moriarty recs with a pitchy rendition of Selena Gomez’s “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”? AND SHE WILL NOT GET THE IRONY.

(Related: Gift Guide: 9 Books for Your Narrow-Minded Relative)

BUT. The holidays are not about shunning our Ida Maries, are they? They’re about understanding, communication, and compassion. And so, I suggest you “communicate” very “peacefully” with your book-averse “friend,” and very “peacefully” “persuade” them to “get their shit together” and READ. This gift guide will provide you with perfect gifts to start with, so that the Ida Marie in your life may dip her cute little jellybean toe ever so daintily into the pond of literature… or you could just toss her in the swamp with the gift of Ulysses. You do you!

g11. Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson

One-half of Broad City, this gal can charm even the most cynical and resistant of readers. She’s even won the heart of Carrie Brownstein! Their relationship hasn’t been confirmed but that is not stopping me from referencing it! Fake news is the thing, kids!

This book answers life’s tickly curiosities, such as, what do Michelle Obama and Martha Stewart keep on hand when they’re on the go? It’s like Us Weekly‘s “What’s In My Bag?” beat, but with less #sponsored #content and more charming, lovely, illustrated quirk.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

g22. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

This book is one of those cross-over delights, appropriate for children and fun for adults too. You know, like tweens and housewives devouring Twilight, or Timon and Pumba spelling out BOOBS in one frame of The Lion King. Again, this is unconfirmed, but not outside the realm of possibility. Imagine what a hoot that would be for the moms and dads!

It’s statistically proven (I polled myself) that everyone loves a funny nonsense word, like the ones within The Book With No Pictures, and I even have a Bachelor contestant to back me up! Hailey, tell ’em:

“Who is your favorite author? Dr. Seuss—he was such an inventor. He said that when he couldn’t think of a word to describe something, he’d just simply make it up.”


Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

g33. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

If your Hailey or Ida Marie cannot stop singing “Ring of Keys” from the musical Fun Homedirect their immediate attention to the graphic novel it’s based on. Then, if they appear amenable to falling in love with more of Bechdel’s highly lovable characters, guide them very slowly and gently, as you might a skittish cat, toward The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. This career-defining collection is comprised of the best from Bechdel’s original comic strip that ran from 1983 to 2008.

The Bachelor franchise may never, ever pass the Bechdel Test, but that doesn’t mean that we tireless readers can’t spread the good word!

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


g44. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari 

All Ida Maries, Haileys, even Danielles M. and L., can benefit from Aziz and co-writer Eric Klinenberg’s popular modern manifesto on the nature of contemporary love. What are the power politics at play when one sends a message like “hey” on Tinder? Or when one receives an eggplant emoji? Or when one asks Jasmine B. if one can “steal him away for just a sec”?

Social science is made palatable and even enjoyable in this witty and informative treatise on how we connect romantically in the age of final roses, fantasy suites, and bungee jumping as a metaphor for falling in love. Because FALLING!

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

g55. Doug the Pug: The King of Pop Culture by Leslie Mosier

One of the finest names in literature, a renegade of the written word, and a New York Times bestseller, is a gent by the name of Douglas the Puglas. That’s Doug to you. He has won the hearts of many, from Justin Bieber to John Legend, and he’s one of the only Instagram celebrities you can follow who won’t try to shove some weird laxative weight-loss tea down your throat.

This book is the perfect addition to any coffee table, but it’s a coffee table book that people will actually LOVE flipping through. Want to make sure you clinch your friend’s interest? Might I recommend one serving of the internet’s finest, Doug’s Red, Red Wine vid.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

g66. Last Sext by Melissa Broder

Her latest essay collection, So Sad Todaygot a tremendous amount of buzz, but this prolific and versatile writer also came out with a brand new book of poetry in the same year. Last Sext has all the relatability and ennui of SST, with despair meted out in tiny, beautiful, sadistic dollopfuls.

Does this sound like it might scare off the more timid Danielles and Jasmines? Maybe this is more of an intermediary, a gateway to the harder stuff like Trainspotting and Requiem for A DreamLet Melissa Broder be their bridge to delightful debauchery! She would love that.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

superficial7. Superficial by Andy Cohen

As juicy as a reality TV show, as delicious as a tell-all tabloid, this next installment in the brilliant Andy Cohen diaries is the perfect gift for any fan of trash. And I say that as trash’s main groupie.

Even better? Give the gift of an audiobook! Andy reads his words himself, and my what words they are. Can anyone else transition so seamlessly from their dog troubles to escapades with a Brazilian Andy Samberg look-a-like to dinners with Anderson Cooper and late night texts from Cher and Ramona Singer? His life may seem exhausting, but oh, how it soothes the soul.

AudibleAmazon | B&N | Indiebound

97814516661758. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Even Bill Gates loves this one. “I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud…” he says! Quoth the New York Times rave: “My wife, who rarely reads a book published after 1910 and who is difficult to make laugh, wept with pleasure while reading these comic illustrated essays from Ms. Brosh.” Men’s wives LOVE Allie Brosh, but then again, so do most people.

Allie’s very relatable anxieties and endless imagination will enchant even the most cynical, skeptic reader, paired with her inimitably delightful illustrations.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound