Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift Guide 2015: My Mom and My Sisters

Holiday season truth: I LOVE gift guides! True, mainly it's so they can help me figure out what I want for Christmas, but I'm also the kind of person for whom the opportunity to give presents is just as grand as the joy of receiving them. There's nothing better than knowing you've bought someone just the right thing, so even though I've already perfected my gifts for my family back in November, I can't help but daydream what I'd buy them (if I had all the money in the world... maybe one day!). 

My Gift Guides I did a while back in 2014 for Mother's Day and Father's Day got quite a bit of traffic, which makes me think that it was only the perfect time to do another seasonal installment of a gift guide, but out of the five other members of my family, I decided to focus purely on the most important women in my life: my Mom, and two younger sisters! (Dad and baby bro, maybe you'll get your own gift guide some other time.)


What she's like and what she likes:
A high-powered hospital administrator who actually graduated from UW with her undergrad in English, Mama loves books when she can actually get around to finding time to read them. She likes nonfiction and women's lit, especially the kind that makes you cry, and likes to pass off the books she enjoys on to me... so I've got to make sure they are titles I'll like, too!

Why I can't buy her any more presents: 
She's notoriously unyielding when it comes to the yearly edict that she really doesn't want anything, and a couple of costly family things have come up recently that has shrunk her list of acceptable gifts to a quite small margin. 

But if I could, I would buy her... 

A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson
The companion novel to Atkinson's Life After Life - which I've already passed along to my mother, and is currently sitting on her bedside table - this would be the perfect period-set piece to have a good cry about.
10% Happier, Dan Harris 
A book about how little changes in your life and outlook, can result in tangible improvements to your happiness! Even if you don't have much time at all in your busy schedule, you can still find ways to improve your attitude.
The Royal We, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
There's no one in our family who quite understands my fascination with royalty like my mom... she loves Will and Kate almost as much as me! This fictional account of a whirlwind romance between an American and a future king of England would be perfect.
Inside the O'Briens, Lisa Genova
From the master of conveying the mental state, Lisa Genova - whose work, Still Alice, about a woman coming to terms with her Alzheimer's diagnosis, I've raved about before - comes this moving story about a doting father and police officer, who must face the onset of Huntington's Disease.
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google, Lazlo Bock 
My mom is obsessed with books about efficiency, specifically in the workplace, so I'm sure she'd be interested as to what goes on at the headquarters of one of the world's biggest internet entities.


What she's like and what she likes: 
Primarily referred to on my blog as "The Cheerleader," Sister #1 recently was elected as president of her sorority for the coming year, even though she's only a sophomore! She's a total culture vulture across all forms of media, and has a fond regard for the paranormal (ie, she things her old room in her sorority house is haunted). 

Why I can't buy her any more presents: 
She's spoiled enough as is, and I already spent $25 on her - the most expensive gift I purchased for anyone this year! - so I really can't swing buying her the books I know she'd love. 

But if I could, I would buy her...

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1), Rob Thomas
When my sister left me for a job at Yellowstone National Park over the summer, I was moribund, but at least I knew she'd be thinking about me, thanks to the three seasons and movie DVD of Veronica Mars that I made her take with her! Thankfully, she loved it, and now I have someone to obsess over Logan Echolls with. They only think I need to do now is get her to read the novel continuations of the story, as well!
Dirty Rush, Taylor Bell
As a sorority women, I can definitely attest the dramatizations you've seen in contemporary media are completely crazy and have almost no foundation in reality whatsoever. However, every sorority girl I know followed the Rebecca Martinson email scandal with vigor... and if she provided the forward for this novel, it's sure to be a riot.
Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
I laughed and cried and died over this super-adorable book this summer, and I was texting her passages from it the entire time. Might as well make her read it!
Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner 
Freakonomics is one of her favorite nonfiction books, and economics itself is a topic she has to study in the Foster Business School, so this is a real high-interest no-brainer.
A Dream Dictionary
So, every week, my sister and I try to plan out a tea date at our favorite tea store on the Ave, Tea Republik, and talk about what's going on in our lives. One of our favorite things we used to do with our tea, was make a big deal out of reading the dregs at the bottom of the cup, Trelawney-style, and sometimes we do the same thing with dreams! A dictionary would perfectly aid our endeavors.


What she's like and what she likes:
The youngest of the daughters in our family, Sister #2 is a high school sophomore with a penchant for dramatics, both on and off the stage. After an early adolescence spent coming of age in the web-wilds of Tumblr, with an affinity for concerts and the rights of humankind (yay, we raised a music lover and a feminist!), this sister is super cute and super contrary: every instance of, "Ooh, you'd love this book!" releases a tirade on all of the reasons I'd be wrong. 

Why I can't buy her any more presents: 
Like I said, voicing my choice of books for her hasn't worked out very well for me in the past... even though with several of them, she's gone on to buy the book for herself. 

But if I could, I would buy her... 

Rookie, Yearbook 4, Tavi Gevinson
This sister has never been your typical, Seventeen-reading teenager (though she does read Seventeen as well). This Tumblr-child would absolutely be more in tune with the precocious hipster Weetzie Bat vibes of Rookie, an online magazine ran by wunderkind Tavi, whose top online content is printed here in book form!
Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
This novel, about a teenage girl who has to cope with the fallout when her ex-boyfriend's band gets famous with a song about her, would definitely appeal to my band-following baby sis.
The Glam Guide, Fleur de Force
She loves all things beauty and makeup - and is far better at applying both of those things than I was at her age! - and she's a fan of quite a couple of YouTubers, so I have a feeling she might like this book (and if not, I've been a follower of Fleur's for like a year now, so I'd take it, anyways!).
Lost Ocean coloring book, Johanna Basford 
Being a fifteen - almost sixteen - year old is a stressful time! Coloring books are a super-trendy way to unwind, and the coloring pages from Johanna Basford are almost pretty enough to frame when you're done.
We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche 
Yeah, yeah, one of these things is not quite like the other. As you might have seen, Sweden recently chose to distribute a copy of this book to every 16 year old in their entire country, as a means of instigating conversation in the classrooms of one of the most gender-equal countries in the world. Like I mentioned before, she's turning sixteen soon enough, as well, and I feel like this would definitely appeal to her burgeoning social justice-y tendencies.

Who are the important women in your life, and what would you gift them with this holiday season? Let me know, in the comments below! 

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