2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Bookworms, Nerds, and Productive People

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Take heart, last-minute shoppers. It’s not too late to grab a few thoughtful gifts for the people in your life!

I’ve gathered my favorite books, tools, and gadgets from 2017—each with a clickable link—for your viewing pleasure. And some of them are free, which is always a win during the holiday season.

Gifts for Book Worms

Because books are life.

THE RULES OF MAGIC – Alice Hoffman (my #1 for the year)

This is my favorite book of the year, and oddly, I listened to it instead of reading. The story is so lovely, so sad and joyous in its lessons on finding contentment, forgiveness, compassion, and love, in accepting yourself and those around you. I'm recommending it to everyone I talk to. I loved it.

Perfect for: Anyone you love, want to love, those who are looking for love, and those who need to accept themselves for who they are.
A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN – edited by Eleanor Brown

I don't have many regrets, but not traveling to Paris when I was young and inexperienced is one of them. I was honored to share a stage with Eleanor Brown whilst on tour this fall, and her collection of Paris essays is a must-read for anyone who dreams of being a writer in Paris. Funny, poignant, and downright hilarious. This collection? C'est parfait!

Perfect for: The budding writer in your family. 
THE SLEEPWALKER – Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian was a guest on A WORD ON WORDS this year, and this book didn't disappoint. It has a section that is so utterly stunning, so ferociously vivid, that I read it three times and cried. On a plane, no less. The story is stellar, too. Original and well done.

Perfect for: Your literary lover.

I love a fantasy novel that can surprise me, and this story does that in spades. Kendare Blake is a new-to-me author but I immediately grabbed all her books. I mean, a whole generation of "posioners"—people who gain strength from eating posionous food? Awesome!

Perfect for: Fantasy lovers of all stripes, and your tweens and teens looking for feminine power books.
HOUSE OF SPIES – Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva always enthralls, and his second novel in the duology with THE BLACK WIDOW continues the story in the most delicious way. Silva is on top of his game, our finest spy fiction writer. 

Perfect for: Your current affairs junkie, your spy thriller junkie, your aspiring thriller writer.

This book. It's so wrong it's right. From the description, I never thought I would enjoy it, but boy, was I wrong. I laughed, and I cried, and I think everyone should read it. The climate we find ourselves in, at war with ourselves, is addressed on the nose. Plus, Matthew was a guest on A WORD ON WORDS and our interview was something special. Highly recommended.

Perfect for: Anyone on the opposite side of the fence from you politically. Seriously, this book is a treatise for both sides.
NOT A SOUND – Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf always writes excellent novels, but her latest offering is a stunner. Her main character has profound hearing loss, and is holed up in a cabin trying to get her life back in order when she finds a body in the lake near her new home. Imagine the claustrophobia of knowing people are coming for you, but you can't hear them... and that's only scratching the surface of this wonderful book.

Perfect for: The deep ones who like to examine life's mysteries.
BLAME – Jeff Abbott

It's no surprise I have a Jeff Abbott title on this list. I adore his work, and have been a fan since PANIC. BLAME has the same kind of propulsive action as Abbott's previous thrillers, but in the domestic suspense genre. He uses memory loss in unique ways, and nails the twist.

Perfect for: Your nail-biting suspense lover! 

I have a wicked writer girl crush on Sarah Maas, and her third book featuring Rhys and Fayre is by far her best. I like to call her work "Game of Thrones for girls." It's more than just cool battle scenes, though. Maas shows her readers what a loving relationship built on respect looks like. Something for all our teenagers to be reading, and our adults, too. 

Perfect for: Every pre-teen you know, and your friends who say they don't like female-driven fantasy. 

I'm making some diet changes, and I was looking for something that would make the transition easier. I had no idea when I ordered this book that the author's Italian farm was located in the very region I'd just spent several months writing about, nor did I expect the stunning photography and wonderful storytelling. I mean, this is just a cookbook, right? No. It's so much more.

Perfect for: Your health-conscious friend, your travel buddy, your yogi.... 

Gifts for Nerds

A list for general life enthusiasts. Perfect gifts for yourself, for your friends, and for your social consience.

Patreon - To fund independent artists and thinkers. My favorites are Kris Rusch and @NashSevereWx.

Animals Affected by 2017 Natural Disasters - Our furry friends need help, too.
     Los Angeles ASPCA
     Sonoma Humane Society
     Napa Humane
     Houston Humane Society – Hurricane Harvey Fund
     Florida Keys SPCA

BookBook for iPhone - My wallet/phone cover of choice. 

Numi Moroccan Mint Tea - The yummiest mint tea on the planet.

The Genius Deck - I love this for when I'm stuck on a story. It breaks me free every time.

Constant Comment Tea - An old favorite, this is the best afternoon tea.

No/No Bird Feeders - My girls and I love to watch the birds congregate on these feeders. Pro tip: I use safflower seeds so the squirrels won't even try to break in.

Cobalt Blue Betty Teapot - A perfect brewing teapot, in a beautiful cobalt color.

Reading Glasses from Zenni Optical - Because who wants to spend $300 for a cute pair of RX readers?

Steagle Laptop Webcam Covers - Fantastic privacy guards for laptop and iPad. 

Gifts for Productive People

For the writers and go-getters in your life.

Scrivener 3 - The best writing software on the market has just gotten a superb update. It's even easier to use, and easier to learn.

Newton - The most minimalist email program you will ever use—and incredibly powerful, to boot.

Habana Notebooks - I use the Habana for my Bullet Journal. I love the extra lines (though they make a blank notebook, too), the quality of paper, and the durability. 

The Baron Fig Squire Pen - The right pen is a joy to use, and this one is lovely. I also love the Spectre pen with a ghost on it (come on!), though it's sold out for now. And PS: click here to get a coupon code for $10 off!

Passport-Sized Midori Notebook - I love the leather on the Midori notebooks, so this one resides in my purse as my on-the-go notebook.

Lechtturm Pen Loops - Perfect for sticking to the back cover of your favorite notebook.

Tiffany Pen - Spoiler alert: it's a splurge! Mine was a gift, and it's the perfect size to rest inside the Midori notebook without causing lumps and bumps.

Svenja Gosen Word Tracker Spreadsheets - This is how I keep track of my word counts. These trackers are intuitive and such a joy to use.

Freedom - The very best way to bolster your self-discipline during the work day.

Bonus! Gifts for YOURSELF

Because self-care is important.

Jarrow Golden Milk Powder - This is the central ingredient in my delightfully spicy and super healthy Golden Milk.

King Arthur Almond Flour - If you're gluten-free, this is the best baking flour I've ever found. Makes awesome shortbread, too.

Alyssa’s Healthy Oatmeal Bites - For when you need a healthy snack, and you don't feel like baking.

Trinkets from Pottery Barn, HomeGoods, and Wayfair - because who doesn't love a cozy home?

Double Bonus: These are free gifts for yourself. 

These are my favorite blogs, and they keep giving all year long.

Cal Newport's Study Hacks - Brilliant, necessary.

Becoming Minimalist - I especially love the "Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads." link series—a perfect way to unwind on a Sunday.

mindbodygreen - I love this website, chock full of inspiration, healthy recipes, and exercise motivation. 

Buddha Groove - A lovely place to buy gifts for your more spiritually inclined friends and yogis, and they have a weekend blog that's a joy.

DailyOM - A restful spot on the web for daily inspiration and advice.

Modern Mrs. Darcy - For general loveliness, a daily read of this blog will enhance your life.

Desire to Inspire - I love this blog's design posts. I get a lot of remodeling ideas here.

Yoga with Adriene - My go-to online yoga class. Adriene is good people.


Many blessings on you and yours! I hope you've enjoyed the gift guide. Merry Everything!