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10 best-bet holiday gifts for the book lover

E-readers are all rage two most popular — Kindle Nook — have taken it up notch. Both offer gobs book

E-readers are all the rage, and two of the most popular — the Kindle and the Nook — have taken it up a notch. Both offer gobs of book titles along with movies, TV shows, music, magazines, apps, e-mail, fast Web-browsing, free Cloud storage, and best of all, a reasonable price. Kindle Fire (right) is $199 via Amazon.com; Nook Tablet is $249 at barnesandnoble.com or Barnes & Noble retail stores.

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Updated: November 23, 2011 7:39PM



Any gift that has to do with reading is a good gift. This year, e-readers are going to be popular again, and there are more options than ever. But when it comes to buying honest-to-goodness, tangible books, let’s help boost the local economy by patronizing our neighborhood independent book stores. Chicago and its suburbs have many great options: Anderson’s in Naperville and Downers Grove, The Book Stall in Winnetka, Centuries & Sleuths in Forest Park, Women & Children First and The Book Cellar in the city — these are just a few of the many.

Here are 10 best-bet gift ideas for the book lover in your life:

For the techie bookworm

E-readers are all the rage, and two of the most popular — the Kindle and the Nook — have taken it up a notch. Each is giving the Apple iPad a run for its money by offering the same features for less than half the price. Both offer gobs of book titles along with movies, TV shows, music, magazines, apps, e-mail, fast Web-browsing, free Cloud storage, and best of all, a reasonable price. Kindle Fire is $199 via Amazon.com; Nook Tablet is $249 at barnesandnoble.com or Barnes & Noble retail stores.

◆ If you don’t need all the bells and whistles and want a simple e-reader to read books and periodicals, go with the original Kindle ($79) or the Nook Simple Touch ($99).

For Potter peeps

Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe (Harper Design, $75). A gift for the whole family, this oversized coffee table book includes a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to bring J.K. Rowling’s beloved books to life on the big screen. The 500-plus pages includes: stories from cast and crew members; photos; concept illustrations from the closed film sets, and rare memorabilia.

For the sentimental and nostalgic

Sometimes cozying up on the couch, under a blanket, with a hot cup of cocoa to watch a holiday movie on the Lifetime or Hallmark channel is the perfect antidote to a cold winter’s night. So, too, is reading a book with a holiday theme. With something for everyone, here some new titles for this holiday season: The Bite Before Christmas by Jeaniene Frost (Wm. Morrow, $19.99); The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts (St. Martin’s, $14.99); His Mistress By Christmas by Victoria Alexander (Kensington, $19.95); Christmas Treasures: A Cape Light Novel by Thomas Kincade and Katherine Spencer (Berkley, $15.95).

For iFans

A double-whammy for Steve Jobs worshippers: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, $35) and I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, edited by George Beahm (B2 Books, $10.95). Isaacson’s biography was released just after the Apple founder’s death and has remained on the best-seller list for weeks. A must-read for iFans. I, Steve is the perfect companion gift. The slight paperback is filled with Jobs’ own words of wisdom culled from his many years of interviews, speeches and media coverage.

For the list-maker

If you like to keep track of everything you read, a book journal is the way to go. There are too many versions to list here, but for my money, simpler is better. Potter Style — an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group — offers several options. The What I Read mini-journal is $8 on amazon.com and about as simple as you can get. It’s pretty no-frills, perfect for the reader who simply wants to keep a record of her reading. The Reading Journal: For Book Lovers ($12.99) is more like a diary, offering a few more special features and more room to write notes on books that you’ve read and loved.

For Kennedyphiles

A triple-whammy for those who can’t get enough of the famous political family during 50th anniversary year of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration:

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy by Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss (Hyperion, $60). Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven interviews in the mid-’60s about her life with JFK. This illustrated book and eight-CD oral history project allows readers to read about and hear the actual interviews.

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews (Simon & Schuster, $27.50). Matthews personally interviewed those closest to JFK for his up-close biography.

11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner, $35). In this time-travel behemoth (849 pages), King imagines a world where JFK’s assassination could have been thwarted.

For the home librarians

Bookends are a great gift. It’s something not too many people think about buying for themselves but can always use. These can be purchased at department stores, home decor stores, bookstores, specialty gift stores, online, and even garage and estate sales! Prices can run the gamut, from a couple of bucks at an office supply store to hundreds of dollars at a high-end antique store. To get an idea of what’s out there, do a simple Internet search for “bookends.”

For kids of all ages

Children and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy the pop-up treatment of two classic stories. Quentin Blake, who has illustrated most of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, again lends his artistic hands to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Puffin, $29.99), which is full of pop-ups, pull-tabs and secret flaps woven within the childhood favorite. The Odyssey: A Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita (Sterling, $26.95) is a beautiful mash-up of graphic novel and pop-up, putting an ancient story into a wholly accessible and modern format.

For those who like to stay informed

It’s not cheap, but a subscription to Publishers Weekly is the gift that keeps on giving. With 51 issues in a one-year subscription, book lovers can keep abreast on what’s what’s going on in the world of books. Cost is $249.99 for one year print and digital; digital only, $180. More information: publishersweekly.com.

For true blue Chicagoans

Chicago author Sara Paretsky celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first V.I. Warshawski mystery with her 15th book in the series, Breakdown, which features something for everyone — Chicago politics, murder, tween girls, vampires, 24/7 media coverage and more. Since the book doesn’t come out until Jan. 3, it’s the perfect gift to get yourself with that book store gift card you got for Christmas.



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