The Art of Gifting Books

The Art of Gifting Books

Karen Hawkins

Is there any better gift than a book? Bookish doesn’t think so, and neither does author Karen Hawkins. Her latest novel, The Book Charmer, even features a heroine with a unique ability for matching books with their perfect reader. To celebrate the spirit of giving, Bookish has an excerpt of the novel and is giving away advance reading copies! Below, Hawkins shares the secrets she’s learned to giving readers the perfect book. Take a look at her advice below, and then visit BookishFirst to read the excerpt and enter to win an ARC.

In my book, The Book Charmer, librarian Sarah Dove has a unique gift. Books talk to Sarah so she knows which reader needs that particular book.

To be honest, I’m super envious of Sarah’s gift as I come from a family of readers and books are our favorite gifts to give and receive.

Fortunately, over the years, I’ve discovered ways to find the perfect book for various members of my family. For example, two weeks before Mother’s Day, I called my mom and told her I was looking for a book to read and asked her what three books she’d read lately that she’d particularly enjoyed. Not only did we have a lovely conversation, but I found out what genres and authors she’d been reading over the last month. Because of that conversation, I knew what books to buy her for Mother’s Day. She was so appreciative that she made me some of her world-famous meatloaf. That’s love, people.

Overheard conversations can be useful, too. A month before my sister’s birthday, I heard her tell my dad how much she enjoyed a certain dog in a book that she’d read. She’s a huge animal lover, so for her birthday, I got her a famous book told from a dog’s point of view. She’s raving about it still.

My dad is especially easy to shop for as he reads every biography recommended by his favorite reviewer in the Wall Street Journal. No muss, no fuss! I just have to be sure to order it before he does.

It’s also a good idea to buy people books that they might not try themselves. My brother is a great example. He loves historical biographies, but had never read historical fiction, so a few years ago, I bought him a New York Times-bestselling historical fiction book. It had enough similarities to what he loves about historical biographies that he was willing to give it a try, and he enjoyed it so much that he bought all of the author’s other works. Now my brother is a huge historical fiction reader and some of them are on his favorite books list.

But of course, not everyone is that easy to shop for. For those who keep their book preferences secret, there’s the tried-and-true failsafe: the bookstore gift card. I’ll be honest with you, I treasure the bookstore gift cards my family have gotten me as I love books and I love shopping. When you put them together, well, my day is made.

Whatever you do, the beauty of giving books as a gift is that there are so many choices, and there’s such a variety available, that reading is a never-ending adventure.

Karen Hawkins is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over thirty books. Karen moved to the frosty north after living most of her life in the warmer, far less chilly south. When not curling up in front of a roaring fire with her foster dogs, she writes full time. Her coming novel, The Book Charmer, will be out July 30th, and is about a sleepy southern town, two fiercely independent women, and their truly magical friendship.


  1. Alright, I’ll start with the title. That caught my eye right away. After reading the chapters, I really want to know the whole story of Hannah and Gracie. I need more background! I was really happy to see that they ended up staying with Mrs. Giano. The characters are likable and you want to see what happens next. This is a very easy to read novel. It could be one of my favorite summer reads…

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