A book-giving guide for 2012

Shopping for something delightful for your fellow bookworms, but not sure what to buy? Here’s some help.

I give them with trepidation and a boatload of qualifiers. It usually goes something like, “I hope you love this book as much as I did, but no big deal if you don’t.” Or maybe, “Not sure if it’s your cup of tea, but I thought it was great. You can just toss this in the closet if you don’t like it. No biggie.”

Enter the yearend “best of” lists. They’re a handy resource if you, like me, aren’t sure what to buy. No list can truly include all the best books, because there are far too many. And who’s to say what qualifies as a great read?

Books are viewed subjectively. You’ll inevitably hear someone mutter, “Says who? I hated that book,” after it won a prestigious award. Nevertheless, “best of” lists can help narrow things down if you’re on the fence, or offer new ideas altogether.

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