The Holiday Gift Guide: Books for Movie Lovers

It may shock you to realize that you, dear reader, are a reader. You are reading this right now! Bizarre, right? And, if you can read things on the Internet, you can certainly read things that come in the traditionally accepted reading format, better known as a “book.” And if you can do it, surely the people in your life that you love enough to buy holiday presents for can do it, too! Enter The Holiday Gift Guide, and more specifically, enter this particular contribution: 18 Books for Movie Lovers. So shiny and wrap-able! So easily order-able and ship-able! So key to preventing widespread illiteracy!

After the break, check out seventeen (but really eighteen) books for the movie lover in your life for holiday season gift-giving. Unlike some of those other guides, not all of these books hit shelves in the past eleven months, as I stretched beyond just this calendar year to come up with some unexpected literary picks to make your gift-giving that much more original. Did I make an egregious omission? Of course I did. Put your obvious suggestions in the comments. And, hey, if you gift one of these books and it’s a big hit, let us know which one it was. It’s always nice to hear praise. Happy Chrismakwanzakuh, you guys.

You may notice that I have not listed one single e-book on my list, and that’s because they are not books and I refuse to acknowledge them, sorry! But for those of you who are, sigh, e-inclined, the vast majority of these are indeed available for your electronic readers. Also, may God have mercy on your soul, paper pages forever, the end.

Hunger Games

For the Recovered Twi-Hard
The Hunger Games trilogy box set by Suzanne Collins
The first film in the (no-duh) franchise hits theaters in March, so it’s high time you gave the full set of Collins’s three books to whoever in your life has recently kicked their Twilight habit and expressed an interest in, oh, I don’t know, a strong female protagonist worth caring about?

The Wettest County in the World

For the Boozehound History Buff
The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
John Hillcoat directed the adaption of Bondurant’s fact-based book (based on lives of his own bootleggin’ relatives!) that will finally hit screens in April. Getting into the spirit of the film will be easy with a quick read and a look at the film’s amazing cast, including Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Shia LaBeouf, Mia Wasikowska, and Jason Clarke.

Just Kids

For the Sad-Eyed Artist
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Smith herself is co-writing the adaption of her own memoir that chronicles here life in 1970s, but more specifically, her life with artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

Warm Bodies

For the Zombie Freak
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50 follow-up is a cinematic spin on Marion’s complicated but fresh tale of star-crossed lovers: one human, one zombie.

The Stand

For the Burgeoning Sci-fi and Fantasy Nerd
The Stand by Stephen King
I guarantee that there’s at least one person in your life who considers themselves “into” sci-fi and fantasy and dark dystopic visions who has a startlingly small knowledge base of the giant genre. Give ‘em “The Stand” and change their life. Take note, Jennifer Garner.

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

For the Community Fan
The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
The Mystery Team kids are teaming back up to bring D.C. Pierson’s own novel to the screen, a funny and touching story about high school mysteries that go far beyond the norm.

The Night Circus

For the Recovered Potter-head
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Morgenstern’s novel is a gorgeous (in the most true sense of the word) tale of dueling magicians bound by a curse, a magnificent circus, and (of course!) a star-crossed love. The detail that Morgenstern uses to describe the world of “The Night Circus” is profound, the sort that will (hopefully) be translated to the screen with just as much care.

The Descendants

For Your Parents
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Well, I mean, obviously.

The Marriage Plot

For Your Just-Graduated-From-College Sibling
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
You know how your kid sister graduated college in June and still doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life and is, like, totally bummed about it? Give her this, it’ll perk her right up.

The Corrections

For Any and All Family Members You Secretly Hate
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Happy holidays from the Lamberts, a Midwestern family so dysfunctional that Franzen needed nearly 600 pages to out their secrets, which still wasn’t quite enough for HBO, who are turning the book into a television series.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

For Your Smarter-Than-You Mate
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel chronicles (sort of) a loosely connected group, all of them centered on an aging musical mogul. I assure you, a short synopsis doesn’t do it justice, pick it up, wrap it up, you’ll be surprised.

Downtown Owl

For Your Favorite Hipster
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
Sure, Klosterman’s second novel, The Visible Man, hit shelves recently, but why not go vintage and pick up his first one? “Downtown Owl,” like “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” brings together interconnected stories to tell one tale, but this tale is also told with Klosterman’s trademark wit and bite.

Clown Girl

For the Bridesmaids Fan
Clown Girl by Monica Drake
Kristen Wiig picked up the rights to this book a while back, and I am determined to not let her forget it. Listen, clowns can be sad and dirty and broke, too, but Drake’s book is also funny, funnier still if you imagine Wiig as the clown girl in question, known only as, you guessed it, Clown Girl.

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

For the Sentimental Movie Buff
Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde
Fellow film critic Duralde crafted this compendium of Christmas movies that would be termed “exhaustive” if it wasn’t just so damn fun.

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark

For the Intellectual Movie Buff
Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark by Brian Kellow
Required reading.

Steve Jobs

For the Tech Wonk
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
“The most important book of the year” or similar. If nothing else, Isaacson got on the inside and has Jobs’s final interviews. Read it on an iPad, as Jobs intended.

Then Again

For the Ladies
Then Again by Diane Keaton
A memoir from one of Hollywood’s most talented (and most firmly herself) leading ladies.

The Art of Pixar

For the Pixar Fan
The Art of Pixar by Amid Amidi
A stunningly comprehensive and beautiful look at every Pixar film to date.

For more gift ideas, visit The Holiday Gift Guide homepage.


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