Books for Adult Readers (A Gift Guide)

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Books are always a great gift idea. I’ve compiled some of my favorites. I hope you like them! Merry Christmas to all of our Library Adventure Readers!
Books for Adult Readers (A Gift Guide)

Fun Fiction:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman captures a world of wonder and mystery in this short novel. Many read it in one sitting. Full of myth and beauty, this novel is a fairy tale of friendship and heroism. It is equal parts beautiful, mysterious, and haunting.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham: I reviewed this book a few weeks ago for The Library Adventure, but I wanted to mention it here. It’s a fun read, especially for any fans of The Gilmore Girls or Parenthood.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton: Kate Morton explores identity, family, love, and secrets in this sweeping tale. At sixteen, Laurel Nicolson watches an encounter between her mother and a stranger. This one incident shapes the course of Laurel’s adulthood. Decades later, Laurel needs to find the answers to questions from so long ago. The family secret gets unraveled through three characters: Vivien, Dorothy, and Jimmy, three people who meet during The Blitz of London during World War II.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: This novel is light reading; however, I spent weeks thinking about it after I read it. Alice slipped and fell during a step-aerobics class, and she woke up having lost a decade of her memory. She can only remember being 29, happily married, and pregnant with her first baby. But she’s in her late thirties, in the midst of a divorce, and not at all a person she even recognizes. How can so much happen in only one decade?

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson: I recommend this novel to anyone. It’s not a fast read, but it is a poignant one. An aging preacher writes letters to his young son, encouraging him to find the startling and amazing in glimpses of every day life. This book explores faith and doubt, love and loss, fathers and sons.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This book weaves narrative through a series of letters from Juliet Ashton, an author in Post-World War II England. Early in the novel, Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Intrigued, Ashton responds to the letter, sparking a kinship with an extraordinary reading society, learning of their lives during the German occupation of the Channel Islands.

Fascinating Science:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: Susan Cain explains the strengths of introversion and how our society does its best to squelch it out. It’s a book I would recommend to anyone who works with people in any sort of setting. Oh, wait. That’s everyone.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: This book explores how the brain works and why people form the habits they do, which sounds kind of boring. However, the book explains all of these scientific discoveries through narrative – stories from people like the CEO of Starbucks, the executives at Target, and Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s all pretty fascinating.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: A journalist traces the history of a line of cells used in almost every category of scientific cell research back to one poor African American woman, Henrietta Lacks, a mother of five children, who died of cancer in the 1950s. The cells taken from her cancerous tumor (without her knowledge or consent) provided a breakthrough in modern medicine. The story is simply amazing, and it addresses questions of medical research and ethics, as well as patient’s and family’s rights.

Interesting People:

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones: I reviewed this book here at The Library Adventure. It’s a must-read for any fan of Jim Henson and The Muppets.

George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger: After his retreat from New York City in 1776, George Washington knew he couldn’t retaliate with a bigger army. Instead, he sought the help of secret intelligence, led by the Culper Spy Ring. I actually have not read this book (I’m on the waiting list at my library); however, my friend Tiffany (check her out in the dedication and the acknowledgements on page 217) was part of this project, so I know this book is awesome.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne: This is one of my favorite biographies about my hometown namesake. I grew up in Quanah, Texas, so I thought I knew the entire history of Quanah Parker. The author traces the roots of Comanche culture and tradition, and he outlines the struggle of the American government and its armed forces to tame and conquer this warring tribe in order to pave the way for the American pioneers, struggling to make a life for themselves in the West. Respectful of both sides yet not sympathetic, the author offers no apologies to this part of American history.

YA Fiction Adults Would Like:

Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: These books weave the fairy tales of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood with cyborgs, alien invaders, a post-apocalyptic society, a murder mystery, and even the morality behind genetic modification. Sounds weird, but they are so fun.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: The first installment of this trilogy is coming to theaters in the summer. Beatrice Prior’s dystopian world, set in the ruins of Chicago, separates its members into five factions: Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, and Amity. At 16, every member of the society must choose to stay in the faction where they were born or choose a faction better suited for them, leaving all family and friends behind.

Before You Hit The Big Screen:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card; An action-packed novel about boy genius Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, his unique family, and his military training in Battle School, where he learns tactics to fend off alien attacks against his world.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Living in Munich, Germany, in 1939, young Liesel Meminger lives with her foster family, and after her foster father teaches her how to read, she develops a love for words and stealing books.

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: These books are worth the hype, and the movies are the best book-to-screen adaptations I have ever seen.

Notable Memoirs:

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz: Fans of Jane Austen will love this compelling narrative about learning lessons from each of Jane Austen’s novels. It’s funny and reflective, but it also offers compelling character analysis from Jane Austen’s finest.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequiest: A beautiful book about opening your home to life, no matter how messy, and offering a meal.

From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President John F. Kennedy by Nellie Connally: On the 50th anniversary year of President Kennedy’s death, anyone fascinated with JFK history would like this memoir by the former Texas first lady about this fateful day in Dallas. She was in the car with President and Mrs. Kennedy as well as her husband Gov. John Connally, who almost died as well. The opening scene of the book is chilling.

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle: A funny and touching reflection on the good, bad, and ugly about motherhood. You will laugh at the absurdity of motherhood that only mothers understand.

Do you have any book favorites you are giving as a gift this year?

Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond via Compfight cc

About Kelly Wiggains

Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschool mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. She blogs, where she talks about everything From Literature to Living.


  1. Where’s Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand? True story about a juvenile delinquent who becomes an Olympian and then survives 47 days on a raft with no food or water AND 2 years in a Japanese prison camp!


  1. […] be a great library read, but I wish I had read it just a few weeks earlier, in time to add it to my Gift Guide for Adult Readers List. It would make a fantastic Christmas […]

  2. […] Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the Revolution. I mentioned this book for my Gift Guide for Adult Readers, solely on the basis that one of my dearest friends helped develop the book. I knew it would be […]

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