Today I must quote from a great article by Doug Dutton, owner of Dutton’s Books, that appeared in yesterday’s L.A. Times:
Next time you’re browsing [for books to give as gifts], keep these principles in mind:
Giving books is also about sharing, so give something that you love and want others to appreciate.
Don’t be swayed by bestseller lists or a single positive or negative review: Check out the books for yourself and decide.
Trust the store’s clerks, who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about titles, listening to opinions about them and being exposed to innumerable reviews.
Consider prizewinners (Pulitzer, Man Booker, Nobel, etc.) but also consider choosing runners-up to the actual winners; better yet, give a winner and an also-ran.
There is an abundance of riches awaiting you in the aisles of your neighborhood bookstore. Go explore.