Every year I have this problem. What the ef do I get older people? Like, not trying to be offensive to anyone, but finding gifts for a friend is easy: They’ll like what I like (for the most part). And, for people my age, if all else fails there’s probably something they need (bc we are typically not making loads of cash). So, getting them new headphones or an iPhone case is much appreciated.
Then, there are parents. Or, people your parents age. They make that $money$ so getting them a gift card is not ideal. And, chances are they won’t like the Kate Spade clutch you put on your wish list. Plus, do NOT get them an iPhone case. *IF* they actually have an iPhone, you know they already secured that ish with an Otterbox or Lifeproof case that is impenetrable.
So, dilemma. WHAT TO DO.
Books, man. Books are perfect, right? I’m not talking like a Nancy Drew paperback or Chicken Soup for the Soul things. I’m talking Houston-centric coffee table/bookshelf-worthy books. It’s meaningful but also useful—hi, people like reading! Here are some ideas!
For the Mystery-Loving Mother
Friendswood by Rene Steinke
Friendswoodian (Friendswooder? Friendwoodite? YOU GET IT) Rene Steinke writes her third tome about her hometown. But, it’s fiction. It isn’t a love story to her hometown, but—with her familiarity with it—it holds authentic references and history for the Southeast Houston town. The story is about four characters’ lives intersecting. It’s exciting. It’s fast-paced. It’s a page turner, for sure. Plus, look how pretty it is! You’ll tell everyone to read it, but you won’t lend it out because it looks way better on your coffee table.
Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht
Sadly, this book isn’t released until next month. But, what ho! It’s great for the out-of-towner family member. Preorder and have it shipped to their house! If this Rice grad’s debut novel is any indicator for her future, Specht is about to be a household name. Soon. She’s a professor at St. Edwards in Austin and was a Fulbright scholar in Nigeria. This is pertinent info as the protagonist, after spending years in Nigeria, returns home to Austin for a study she is working on. She leaves behind her fiancé and finds out her sister is suffering from a genetic disease that took their mother. This one will tug at the heartstrings.
For the Inquisitive Patriarch
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
You remember David Eagleman, right? You know, the super smart Rice University undergrad slash neuroscientist? Well, this was his book that hit it big a few years ago. It’s basically a full-on, meditative book about the mind—conscious and subconscious. Like, why we can stop walking into a person who halted suddenly, before we even realize what happened? That is, if you’re not texting while walking—kaplow. Brains, man. Their weird. This sciencey book will teach you *cough cough your dad* all about the mind and how it works. It’ll also subsequently freak you out.
The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley
“Hurricanes, man. Amirite?” is basically a statement we all identify with, you know? Anyone who’s lived in Houston for any amount of time has lived through a hurricane, evacuated from a hurricane, or dealt with the repercussions of a nasty hurricane. It’s one of Houston’s biggest downfalls. But hey, at least we don’t have tornados or earthquakes. So, there’s that. This book takes you through Katrina—the big one, queen of hurricanes in the South. Even if you remember it clear as day, you’ll learn something new from this book.
Little Miss Molly by Melissa Williams
Allow me to summarize, Molly is a straight-up, conceited bitch I’d like to turn into fried frog legs. She’s claimed the entire color of pink. Like, no one else can wear it and everything she owns has to be a shade of it. Calm down, Kermit’s daughter. The story basically teaches Molly/the reader not to be so damn selfish and share. It’s written by the Houston socialite (idk, it’s her job I guess) Melissa Williams. This SEEMS like a gift for the toddler, but the parents will thank you if their kid is particularly bratty and pink obsessed.