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Editorial December 2004 : Books for all Reasons
By Hilary Williamson

I've been making my list and checking it twice - haven't a clue who's been naughty or nice but I am finding all kinds of good reasons to give books as holiday gifts to friends and family. I'm piling my own choices up right now, ready for wrapping. We'll be posting our 2004 fiction favorites across genres very soon. And here are non-fiction selections to suit all kinds of reasons for reading ...

School of DreamsRon Clark's The Excellent 11 & Edward Humes' School of Dreams both make the grade for the educator on your list. A student to buy for? Give the gift of good advice from The O'Reilly Factor for Kids by Bill O'Reilly & Charles Flowers. Student shopping for parents? Give them insights into what makes teens tick via Rhett Godfrey's The Teen Code. Need a gift for a friend who's deep in the parenting trenches? They'll find moral support in Ed Young's Kid CEO: How to Keep Your Children From Running Your Life (good luck!)

Friends in mid-life? Cheer up the ladies with Sue Ellen Cooper's The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After Fifty. And menopausal men will find Jed Diamond's The Irritable Male Syndrome enlightening. For the recently retired, there's The New Retirement by Jan Cullinane & Cathy Fitzgerald, and most elders will find useful tips in Jim Miller's The Savvy Senior. Health-conscious acquaintances? They'll appreciate Medical Tests That Can Save Your Life by David Johnson, David Sandmire & Daniel Klein.

Write AwayBudding authors will benefit from the excellent advice in Elizabeth George's Write Away. Aspiring inventors should own Harold Evans' They Made America to study how their predecessors succeeded. And Margo Annett's Actor's Guide to Auditions & Interviews will give resting actors on your list a helping hand. Any CEO can learn from The Wisdom of Alexander the Great by Lance Kurke, and you might as well throw in A Carrot A Day by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton as a stocking stuffer.

Condensed Knowledge edited by Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur & Elizabeth Hunt is great fun for trivia addicts, and wordsmiths will enjoy Mardy Grothe's Oxymoronica. Speaking of words, do you know any oenophiles? Patrick E. McGovern's Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture is a must read for wine lovers. Anyone in your circle nostalgic for the 60s? Give 'em A Glass Half Full by Felix Dennis, and listen to the poet with a glass of holiday cheer (do keep it at least half full).

It's Your WorldKnow any vegetarians? Give 'em The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas, and tuck Aliza Green's Field Guide to Produce into their stocking while you're at it. For a herbalist, Sarah Garland's The Complete Book of Herbs & Spices says it all, a lovely book. Environmentalists will be cheered by the success story told in Greenpeace by Rex Weyler, and intrigued by Alanna Mitchell's visits to environmental hotspots in Dancing at the Dead Sea. And any teen activist needs a copy of Mikki Halpin's It's Your World - If You Don't Like It, CHANGE IT.

For the fitness fanatic, we have Core Performance by Mark Verstegen & Pete Williams. Martial artists will be enthralled by William Scott Wilson's The Lone Samurai. Anyone interested in meditation will enjoy David Fontana's Meditation week by week. Those seeking the spiritual need go no further than The Wisdom of Forgiveness by The Dalai Lama & Victor Chan. And give someone in search of inspiration Phyllis Strupp's The Richest of Fare: Seeking Spiritual Security In The Sonoran Desert.

Merry KitschmasAfter the holiday feasting, all but the Twiggy shaped will need The Rosedale Diet by Ron Rosedale & Carol Colman. For a Martha Stewart wannabe, offer The Art of Napkin Folding by Gay Merrill Gross (or give it to the kids along with the job of setting the holiday tables). And if you're looking for something just for laughs, wrap up Merry Kitschmas: The Ultimate Holiday Handbook by Michael D. Conway & Peter Medilek.

Happy (well read) holidays to all!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.