It's hard to give books as gifts as people have such different tastes, but for my friends who I know well, here's what I would pick for them based on books that I read in 2011.
1. For Young Adults (or YA book lovers): The Hunger Games Series, Suzanne Collins
These books are just as amazing as everyone says they are - if you haven't heard, you better ask somebody! It's not often that I say all the books in a series are fantastic - but I'll say it here - get them all at once, or give them all together!
2. For Adults: The Millenium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson
Another series that will blow your mind! In this case, each book could stand alone, which is something I love about this series.
3. For Paranormal Fans: Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
I still have to finish the last 2 books (5 & 6), but one thing I can say is that the series gets better and better with each book.
4. For Fans of Epic Fantasies: The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind
There are 11 books in the series - so this one breaks my rule of not reading series with more than 5-6 books - but it's totally worth it. And I say 11 books - because the 12th one published in 2011, should not be considered part of this series - I don't care what anybody says (including Goodkind)!!!!
In the Henrietta Lacks book, it's interesting to see how research was done back in the day, before rules of ethics - interesting and disturbing. As She Climbed Across the Universe is a fictional book about a woman who falls in love with a science experiment, and the man who loves her. Weird, I know!!!
Bruno Littlemore is a Shakespeare loving, talking chimp, who longs to be more human - who is "writing" (or rather, dictating) his memoir. I was hooked from beginning to the near 600 page end. The Last Werewolf, Jake, is depressed and depressing - something I found I detested in what I consider a strong (albeit mythical) creature.But the author's deft manipulation of the character took me from disgust at first, to something like admiration in the end.
Neither books are romance novels, but in both, love plays an important part. They both left me asking the question, how far would I go for love - what would I be willing to give up.
8. For the Non-fiction Aficionado: The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls and The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession, David Grann
The Glass Castle is quite a disturbing memoir about what the author went through growing up - living like vagabonds and growing up dirt poor. The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is a collection of "life is stranger than fiction" stories, ALL of which were well written and very interesting.
In Don't Breathe a Word, the author kept me guessing about which direction the mystery was heading in until the end - and even then, I wasn't really prepared for what happened! And in Before I Go to Sleep - a woman wakes up every morning with no memories of the past 20 years. Who does she rely on when she can't even remember the man in the bed beside her?! What would you do?
10. For Short-Story Lovers: Full Dark No Stars, Stephen King and Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances, Trisha Telep
The short stories in Full Dark, No Stars are fictional but they show how humans can turn ugly, or do things they wouldn't think they're capable of, in certain situations. Corsets & Clockwork is a nice gateway book into the steampunk genre. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements.
Have you read any of these books? are there any other books you would pick for these categories?