11 Books That Make Really Great Gifts

Books are one of my favorite things to give and receive, especially when I leave things to the last minute (which is pretty much always; thank God for overnight delivery!). These are a few books I've loved and have given as gifts over the past couple years.

1. Bad Girls Throughout History
I spotted this book when I was in LA a couple months ago, and totally fell in love! I couldn't buy it at the time because my suitcase was already overflowing, but made a note to pick it up as soon as I got back home to NYC.

It features illustrations of 100 of the most impressive women throughout history (from Cleopatra to Joan Jett!) along with a brief story about what each one accomplished. A really fun and inspiring coffee table book for history lovers and students of all ages (both female AND male!). Get it here.

2. How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip
My friend (and fellow blogger) Hitha Palepu wrote this wonderful guide to packing that's perfect for the traveling ladies in your life. Friends, colleagues, family members--so many people will be able to appreciate this smart (and beautiful!) little book which features tips that even seasoned travelers will appreciate.

This is NOT one of those boring "pack all neutrals" kinds of books; it's designed for stylish, creative women who want to learn ways to streamline their packing so that they can make the most of their trips (while still looking amazing). Get it here.

3. Pen & Ink and Knives & Ink
These two beautiful books written by Isaac Fitzgerald [who is, in the interest of full disclosure, a friend from college though I swear I'd love the books even if that weren't true] and illustrated by Wendy McNaughton feature illustrations of real people's tattoos combined with the stories behind them.

The second volume, Knives & Ink, focuses on the tattoos of chefs and others in the food industry, and features a few recipes, too. Some stories are sad, some are hilarious, some are romantic, all are worth reading. Get the books here.

4. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
There is so much that I love about this book by legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp, but I think this book was when I realized that I'm most inspired by books on creativity written by someone who actually walks the walk. Twyla is one of those love-her or hate-her kind of people. She's tough, she's unapologetic, and she's definitely prone to some extremes, but I think that's exactly what so many of us need to kick us into gear.

And no, you do not have to be a dancer (hello--super uncoordinated lady here!) for this book to be relevant to you; it's a perfect gift for anyone who wants to create things, or even just people looking to build a business. Get it here.

5. The Boudoir Bible
This super sexy, elegant, and adults-only book is probably one of the best (heterosexual) sex manuals available today. Think of it as the modern day "Joy of Sex." It makes a great gift for a significant other, couples, bachelorette parties, and bridal showers. It's also beautiful enough to keep on display; I have my copy sitting on my nightstand. Get it here.

6. Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me
This intimate and elegant memoir by Bill Hayes tells the story of love, loss, growth in New York City. Hayes was the incredible Oliver Sacks's life partner, and the book tells of their friendship and how it grew into love. It's also filled with his lovely street photos that capture life in New York. Get it here.

7. The Diary of Frida Kahlo
This stunning reprint of Frida Kahlo's actual journal combines art, poetry, essays, stream of consciousness, paintings, and photography for an intimate look at the artist during the last 10 years of her life. It's passionate, witty, and haunting, and feels like a privilege just to read. Get it here.

8. Was She Pretty?
If you've ever wondered about a lover's ex or compared yourself to a crush's partner or ex's new girlfriend, you will appreciate this combination of illustrations and very brief little stories. (That's all of us, right?)

I first bought my copy of this about 12 or so years ago when I was nursing a broken heart and dealing with complicated feelings of jealousy. It was such a beautiful, relatable, soothing read that I've since recommended and given it to a lot of my female friends. Get it here.

9.The Bob's Burgers Burger Book
I've never really been a fan of most animated shows or movies, but Bob's Burgers is one that I absolutely love. I think it's hilarious and find myself cry-laughing every time I see it. One of the best things about the show is the ridiculously delightful names of the burgers that Bob sells at his restaurant, and this cookbook offers up real recipes for those very silly joke burgers like "Poutine on the Ritz" and "The Final Kraut Down." If you or a friend are fans of this show, you should definitely check out this super fun cookbook. Get it here.

10. Show Your Work
A must for all creatives, this little book is full of genuinely good and thoughtful advice that will make you think, and inspire you to put yourself out there and share your work and creative process with people. As creatives, we often get shy about sharing our work--or we hoard it and hold it back while we attempt to make it perfect. The whole point of this book is that if you want to make a living as an artist, you have to share your art. And he gives really good approachable advice for how to do that no matter what you're making or where you are.

Also, it's only about $5 and small enough to make a perfect stocking stuffer or "extra" gift (for example, you could tape this onto a box containing art supplies or craft items). Get it here.

11. Your Beauty Mark by Dita Von Teese
The best book ever for the glamour and beauty-loving lady in your life. Dita covers just about everything having to do with style and beauty (including awkward problems and situations) all the while sharing bits of her own life and experience.

The images are gorgeous (there IS some nudity in the photos, though it's done in an artistic way) and the tips are actually valuable. It makes a great coffee table book and would be a great gift for women of all ages as well as fans of Dita, burlesque, and vintage glamour. Get it here. 

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I may make a few cents for each purchase you make through these links. This won't affect your purchase price in anyway.

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