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Books for the reader on your gift list

Do you have that one friend who just sits and reads all the time? Or a sibling who always has his or her nose in a book? Are they constantly flipping through the pages of book after book, and you never see them without one?

Are you debating what type of book to get them for Christmas? Well, you're in luck. Here is a short guide to some good reads for your book nerd pal.

Looking for something for a friend who loves sci-fi and has seen all the "Star Wars" movies, plus the original "Star Trek"? If they love futuristic books about conflict and journeys, three titles come to mind. 

First is actually a series of books: the "Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It is about a futuristic world where the government is a corrupt unit that kills people to keep them in check.

However, they don't simply go out and murder citizens; instead, they set up the Hunger Games. For these, the government picks a boy and a girl from each district and puts them in arena where they have to fight to the death while the entire world watches on TV.

This series is good both for people who read all the time and people who have never picked up a book in their lives. It is exciting for all types of people. A movie based on the first book comes out in March.

The second book harkens back to a previous generation: "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. The 1953 novel is about a world not too far in the future where all books are banned. Firefighters are now the people starting fires -- by burning books found in people's homes.

This book is one of the most famous sci-fi books not just of its time, but of all time. If your reader likes sci-fi novels, then this is a must read simply because it is a classic.

The last book for the sci-fi genre is "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, which is also about a futuristic world not too far into the future. In this world, Earth is aware of alien life forms, and because of this, the government trains child geniuses in an outer space war facility to fight against them. 

Ender is one of these children. The book follows him as he is trained and also follows his siblings as they take on the government in their own way. 

Card is by far one of the best sci-fi writers alive, and it is not hard to fall in love with his work. Anyone who loves sci-fi will enjoy "Ender's Game," as well as many of his other books.

If sci-fi isn't up your reader's alley, then maybe he or she is one of the people who like to read the really depressing books where every character dies or there are sex, drugs and violence. The best gifts for them are Ellen Hopkins' books.

They include the "Crank" series ("Crank," "Glass" and "Fallout"), "Impulse" and its companion "Perfect," plus "Burned," "Identical" and "Tricks."

These books are in free verse format,

                                       which

                                                 means she sort

                                       of

                                                 writes like this.

The "Dexter" series by Jeff Lindsay is also good for this type of reader. Yes, Dexter Morgan is a serial killer, but he is not like other serial killers: he only kills bad people who have hurt others. 

Because it is about a serial killer, there is a lot of violence and death. However, those who are haunted by a weak stomach should have no fear. The books are not nearly as bloody as they could be.

If you are a little timid around blood, though, you should probably avoid watching the TV interpretation of these books. The show on Showtime is a visually stunning, superb work, from the casting to the gore to the relationships of the characters.

If your friend already watches the show, then he or she will not be disappointed by the books. There are six so far -- more Dexter than you could ever ask for. 

But if you have a friend who has neither read the books nor watched the show, buy the books first. Then, you could get the first season of the show as a follow-up gift.

The final genre is romance.  One book in particular comes to mind: "The Book of Flying" by Keith Miller.

It is about a young librarian who dreams of living in the city of winged people with a girl he fell in love with. He could not be with her because he did not have wings, so he sets out to get some. The adventures the librarian goes through are extraordinary, and the book is so detailed that readers will feel like they are traveling alongside him.

Another good choice is "Angel of Mercy" by Lurlene McDaniel. It is about a young girl who leaves home to travel on a ship to Africa. On the journey, she meets a young boy who shares her passion for helping others. This is a quintessential romance novel for people of any age.      

The best way to find a good book for a friend, family member or co-worker is to find a book that has a character or characters that match his or her personality. It might be easier for a person to connect to a book if there is someone he or she can connect to.

Or better yet, ask the person what kind of books he or she likes. Does he have a favorite author? What is her favorite novel? 

In the long run, books are some of the hardest presents to buy if you don't know exactly what you are looking for because there are literally millions of choices. There are tons of genres out there, from crime and adventure to horror and sci-fi to romance and so much more. You need to explore them to find a good book to give as a present, so you should start looking now.

Oh, and keep the receipt in case you misfire.


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