Your Book Friend’s 2022 Holiday Shopping Guide

This year, I’m trying something new here at Your Book Friend. Gift guides are incredibly popular this time of year, and I see so many wonderful book lovers putting together lists of bookish goodies and books to gift. How could I possibly miss out on the fun? 

I’m trying my hand at some gifting recommendations for your holiday (or any time) shopping pleasure. Gift them to a friend, family, or yourself — no judgement. Broken down by category, with a few suggestions for each, we hope there’s a little something here for (mostly) every book person in your life. 

(Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for and Passion Planner, which earn me a small commission if you choose to purchase. Book of the Month and Authentic Books links are referral codes.) 

For the Romance Lover 

Here at YBF, we rock a lot of romance. These titles are our recent faves. 

Cover image from Goodreads
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan. The story of a divorced screenwriter who lives her life under a strict routine, until her screenplay about the end of her marriage gets made into a movie and her life gets turned upside down. Strong female protagonist who’s also a single mother, with a love interest who’s an actor looking for a quieter life. 
Cover image from
  • Lucy On the Wild Side by Kerry Rea. Lucy wants to be promoted to senior keeper at the Columbus Zoo. But first, she has to learn to live with the cameras as a popular show films her work with the gorillas. Oh, and she just might fall in love and learn a little bit about herself in the process. 

For the Home Cook 

Learn to bake sourdough or throw together some vegan eats. 

Cover image from

Flour Power: The Practice and Pursuit of Sourdough Bread by Tara Jensen. If you know someone who’s into sourdough, or who wants to be, this is the ultimate guide for getting started and/or taking it to the next level. 

Cover image from

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking by Dana Shultz. One of the first cookbooks I bought after college, this collection of plant-forward recipes is still one of my go-tos. A great variety of vegan recipes that are mostly gluten free and come together relatively quickly, without too many dishes.

For the One Who Already Has all the Books 

Their shelves are full to bursting and they probably already have that book you want to recommend. Try these book-adjacent gifts instead. 

Image property of Frostbeard Studios, fro their website

A bookish candle from Frostbeard Studios. Every year around the holidays, I have to grab a Christmas at the Burrow candle from this shop. Their scents are all inspired by books.

Image property of Quirky Cup Collective, from their website

Book journals from Quirky Cup Collective or Little Inklings Designs. These are both beautifully designed from small businesses, and are a wonderful way to keep a record of your reading life. I love seeing videos of people using them on Instagram, even I have personally failed out of book journaling attempts several times. 

For the Neighborhood Witch 

For the friend who always insists you do X or Y because of your star sign, these books might hit the spot. 

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Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova. Whether you’re just starting to learn how to read Tarot or are looking for a refresher, this book is a great overview of the cards and how to read them. 

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Your Spiritual Almanac by Joey Hulin. A guide to living with the seasons. Each month includes different practices for movement, meditation, reflection, and seasonal foods to nourish you. 

For Your Planner-Obsessed Friend 

Planners are pretty personal so you may not want to go out on a limb and get them an actual planner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shop for some accessories.

Image property of Chelsea Brown Designs, from their Etsy shop product listings

Planner stickers from Chelsea Brown Designs. I love these stickers. I have changed the planner size I use twice now just to make sure I can still use these to beautify my planner. Is there higher praise than that? I think not. Special shoutout to this book lover layout pictured above, which is perfect for that bookish planner fan. 

Image property of Passion Planner, from their website

Planner markers, stickers, and more from Passion Planner. Personally, I’m team #PashFam, and I love grabbing their sticker books and highlighters to beautify my planner experience. As an ambassador, I do have a discount code to throw your way —use code AMANDAO876 to save 10%. 

For the Friend Who Just Really Likes Mail

Subscription boxes, anyone? Here are a few book boxes to consider (I subscribe to both, so I know what I’m talking about). 

Photo by Amanda Kay Oaks, featuring Book of the Month and Authentic Books boxes 

Book of the Month subscription. Just the book, without the frills. Your friend gets to pick the book they want each month and it’ll be delivered right to their door in the iconic blue box you keep seeing on Instagram. 

Authentic Books single box or subscription. This box is more of an experience, with hand-picked items to accompany the book and engage your senses. A candle, some tea or coffee, soap or lotion, and a custom playlist for the book are all standard items that often appear in these boxes. 

Could I go on? Almost certainly. There are so many great books and bookish gifts out there to give to yourself or a loved one. Hopefully this gives you a great start on making your list and checking it twice! 

This post originally appeared on our Medium publication, here.


4 Books Every Runner Should Read 

Photo by from Pexels

In spite of running fairly consistently since I set my initial “become a runner” goal back in 2018, I haven’t read many books that center runners or running. I’m not entirely sure why that is, because there certainly are plenty of books out there about runners and running. 

Perhaps it stems from the fact that I’m not a runner who easily calls herself an “athlete.” Growing up, I avoided books, movies, and any other media that centered sports. I was not an athletic kid, and the Presidential Fitness Tests were my actual nightmare — I was a straight A student who never failed annything, but I couldn’t study my way into a body that was shaped for the sit-and-reach. 

My first experience with running, outside the springs between bases on the softball field, was the dreaded one-mile loop in gym class. Yet another test I “failed,” clocking in a 15 minute mile partly from not trying and a little bit from trying more than I wanted to admit. 

So, even though I’ve fallen in love with running, I think it’s taken a while to love it enough to dive headfirst into reading about it, too. Over the last year or so, however, I’ve begun dipping my toes into the world of books about running. Today, I want to share three of my favorites from the one’s I’ve read thus far. 

If you’re looking for training manuals or guides to improve the sport, this isn’t your list. What I’m interested in are stories about what running means to people, what the pursuit of running goals can do for your life and your relationship with yourself. Whether you’re a runner yourself or just like reading about people’s passions, these books have a ton to offer. 

(Full disclosure: This post uses affiliate links.)

1. Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas 

Genre: Nonfiction (Memoir)

Alexi Pappas is an Olympic athlete and filmmaker. She’s also a phenomal writer, who digs into her life and experiences to offer guidance on how to get through the tough times.

Bravey is not just about running, like I expected the memoir of an Olympic runner to be. Running plays a huge part, but it’s also about life, mental health, and just being a human. 

I originally listened on audio but ran out to grab a print copy for reference because there are just so many nuggets of wisdom. I reviewed this book after reading it about a year ago, so if you’re interested in my raw thoughts on the book, you can find them here: 

Turn Can’t Into Maybe
Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi

2. A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio

Genre: Memoir

A Beautiful Work in Progress may have been the first book about running that I ever read, and I was so pleased to encounter a struggle runner like me on the page. 

Valerio doesn’t “look like” a runner (which is a whole other can of worms because there isn’t actually any one look for a runner, but I digress). She doesn’t finish every race she starts, but she keeps pushing and following her passion for the sport.

The writing is hilarious and relatable, and had me considering becoming an ultramarathoner myself. I highly recommend this for a dose of motivation and a reminder that it’s perfectly fine to dare to fail. 

3. Running Outside the Comfort Zone by Susan Lacke

Genre: Nonfiction (Essays)

I picked up Running Outside the Comfort Zone when I finally got back into the swing of things after a running slump. It was exactly the extra inspiration I needed to recall why I love running and chasing impossible goals. 

This book features a number of essays about unusual races that Lacke signed up for during a year of chasing new and unique experiences to rediscover her love for the sport. They are hilarious and inspiring and occasionally a bit ridiculous. 

I wasn’t even halfway through when I decided to click “register” on a half-marathon this October. So, yeah, read with caution if you’re not ready to get out there and see what you’re capable of. 

4. The Bright Side Running Club by Josie Lloyd 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

You may have noticied the other titles on this list are nonfiction. This is partly because I happen to be a nonfiction writer myself, and I love a good memoir when I’m interested to learn about people’s experiences with a particular subject. Nevertheless, fiction is also an amazing source of inspiration and can teach you plenty about life (and running). 

Josie Lloyd’s The Bright Side Running Club is inspired by her real-life experience of getting cancer and joining a cancer running club, but the story itself is fictional. I loved seeing the protagonist discover running and the ways in which it can help us redefine our understanding of ourselves. Not to mention, forgive lifelong friendships. This is one of my favorite running-related books to date.

Whether you run or not, I hope you’ll pick up these inspiring books about how a love for chasing goals and falling headfirst into a hobby can change your life. They are not just great books about running, but excellent books, full stop. 

Since I am training for a half marathon, I hope to pick up several more great books about running this year. Let me know if you’ve got a favorite that I missed here so I can add it to my TBR! 

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