Gift Guide: Swapna’s Recommendations for 2013

I haven’t done a gift guide before, but I figure this year is a great time to start! My categories are somewhat random, but I hope helpful regardless.

For the puzzle lover:

Night Film coverNight Film by Marisha Pessl. Quite possibly my favorite book of 2013.

For the book lover:


Keep an eye out for my review, but S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst is, quite simply, mindblowing. Brand new, it’s shrinkwrapped in plastic and housed in a handsome slipcase. When you open it, you’ll see why. There’s a book inside it called Ship of Theseus by V.M. Straka (an old, worn library book), and inside this (fake) book are the notes of two students trying to figure out the mystery of the author’s true identity. Along the way, you’ll find legal pad notes, postcards, maps, and more, all tucked within the pages. This isn’t just a book, it’s an experience.


For the single guy (or girl) in your life:


The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith. It is what is says it is. It’s full of awesome geeky references. To put it simply, I loved it.

For the TV lover:

Someday Someday Maybe cover

Someday, Someday, Maybe. It’s Lauren Graham and it’s about an aspiring actress in New York. And it’s going to be a TV show. And it’s actually good.

For the person who loves narrative nonfiction and current events:

Five Days at Memorial coverThe Siege


Both Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink and The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy (review coming!) are well-researched, gripping, and completely terrifying.

For the person who loves a controversial and thought-provoking novel:

Big Brother coverThe Explanation for Everything

Obesity (Big Brother). Science versus faith (The Explanation for Everything). Both well written, both absolutely worth the read, and both will make you think.


For the person who loves Philippa Gregory:

Elizabeth of York cover

Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir. Because it’s worth knowing the real story behind Gregory’s (admittedly very entertaining) fiction.

For the person you want to splurge on:

Kobo Aura HD

The Kobo Aura HD. It’s the best eink device that’s ever been made. And that’s not an exaggeration.

For the person who keeps talking about The Da Vinci Code as if it’s the best book ever written:

The Abomination cover

The Abomination has all the great twists and turns, but it has realistic and well-developed characters and the writing…well, let’s just say that Dan Brown leaves something to be desired in that department, and Jonathan Holt is much better. It’ll keep them hooked.


  1. S sounds AMAZING. Love that you did a post that’s a gift guide 🙂

  2. Thomas Kottoor says:

    Enjoy your reviews. I buy books after reading your reviews. Keep up the good job.
    Thomas Kottoor, Kerala,India

  3. Ooh, loved this! I’ve actually only read Night Film and Big Brother (both of which I picked up after reading your reviews), which I loved. The other books look great, too.

  4. I think that Night Film is probably my favourite for the year, too. I loved it! I really want to read S. I am hoping to get it right after Christmas.

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