Ten Reasons Why Books Make the Best Gifts (well, after puppies and private islands)

1)      Because other than those sparkly pencils and key chains with peoples’ names on them, books are one of the best gifts that you can find a uniquely suited one for every person on your list

2)      Because you don’t need to poke holes in the box so the book can breathe

3)      Because they are easier to wrap than a football or bicycle

4)      Because you can do all of your shopping in one spot

5)      Because you don’t have to feed them, plug them in, or put batteries in them

6)      Because “They have whole worlds inside them, and it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world.” –Neil Gaiman

7)      Because you can even find one for the person who has everything

8)      Because they never come in the wrong colour, size or style

9)      Because they don’t need to be assembled

10)   Because it shows the recipient that you took the time to think about who they are and what they are interested in

So what’s the trick? Picking the right book. Luckily for you, I have some suggestions for everyone on your holiday gift list.

For the Hockey Lover

Double Overtime

Double Overtime by Stephen Cole

Full of fun facts, crazy yet true stories, and chalk full pictures, this book is for every hockey fan of every team (even if you the gift-buyer don’t know anything about hockey!)

For the (New) Baker

 Baking with the Cake Boss

Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro

Buddy, from TLC’s smash hit Cake Boss, is back with another book. For the novice baker, this book starts with the basics of baking – the simple yet noble sugar cookie – and advances to fantastically intricate themed cakes for home-baking pros.  This is one gift that both the recipient and the giver are bound to benefit from!

For the Extraordinary Women in Your Life

 The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Strong, brave, resourceful, sensuous, caring, and giving – these are just some of the used words to describe the women of The Dovekeepers. A masterpiece that was five years in the making, the author of Practical Magic tells the beautiful and harrowing tale of four Jewish women in 70 C.E. Masada, Israel.

For Lovers of  iAnything

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs – the man who changed the world, whether we like it or not. Walter Isaacson’s biography, the only authorized biography of the Apple co-founder and innovator, tells the story of this intense personality whose drive for perfection can be seen in every one of his products and serves as a rollercoaster tale of ambition, obsessions, compulsion, creativity and innovation.

For Your Daughter, Niece or Little Sister

Dork Diaries Box Set

Dork Diaries Box Set by Rachel Renee Russell

This super popular series chronicles the oh-so-fabulous life of Nikki Maxwell as she navigates the halls of middle school, mean girls, BFF drama and first crushes. These spunky, funny, and relatable books are perfect for tween girl readers (and best of all, they are PG-rated so you don’t have to worry about your 11-year old niece reading vampire/immortal love scenes!).

For Almost Anyone (really, who doesn’t read Stephen King?)


11/22/63 by Stephen King

The incredible Stephen King is back in a brand new way. In 11/22/63, King tells the ultimate “What If?” story. What if you could go back in time and change history? King’s suspenseful and riveting tale of time travel to one of America’s most epic periods in history will have readers on the edge of their seats until the last page is turned.

The New YA Must-Have

 Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

With so many YA vampire/werewolf/warlock/immortal, etc, etc, etc books out there, it’s hard for the discerning gift-giver to know which one to choose for the teen on their list. Well look no further – Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series left young women begging for another adventure to go on, bad-boy to drool over, and smart, brave girl to read about, and with the second of the Infernal Devices series, Clare delivers.

For the 20-something Student

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)

 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by Matthew Inman

Perfect for the quirky-humored, google-searching  20-something, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) offers up 4 Reasons to Carry a Shovel at All Times, 6 Types of Crappy Hugs, 8 Ways to Tell if Your Loved One Plans to Eat You, 17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat, and 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer.

Literary Non-Fiction

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean

If you can’t get someone a puppy for Christmas, get this book instead. Rin Tin Tin has been getting rave reviews and for good reason. Whether you love dogs, old Hollywood, the entrepreneurs behind entertainment, biographies, history, or just a wonderfully written story, Rin Tin Tin delivers.

For the Book Club Lover

The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Witchcraft, royalty, betrayal and passion, The Lady of the Rivers delivers it all. This book, to be enjoyed in front of a fireplace and with a cup of tea, is sure to keep your favorite aunt, sister or friend company this holiday season.

Brain Food

Grand Pursuit

Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar

In this epic yet readable narrative modern economics, Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, tells the of how activist thinkers like Marx, Sydney Fisher, Irving Fisher, and Milton Friedman transformed not just the Western world, but the entire planet.

The New Children’s Classic

The Man in the Moon

 The Man in the Moon by William Joyce

“Meet the very first guardian of childhood, MiM, the Man in the Moon.” A beautiful and tender story of love, adventure, and enchantment, The Man in the Moon, will capture hearts both young and old.

Wreck the Halls

When I was given the task of writing on the S&S blog (I’ve never blogged before, apparently I live under a rock), I was a little worried about what I would write about as the new marketing intern. That is, until I got my “assignment” – Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets Festive. So, in the name of research, I spent the afternoon flipping through the book, almost peeing my pants laughing in the process.

What is a Cake Wreck, you ask? According to the hilarious Jen Yates and her equally inappropriately funny husband, John, “a Cake Wreck is any professionally made cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, [or] inappropriate….”

In her first book, Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, (which just so happened to become a New York Times Bestseller), we saw creepy baby cakes, cakes with questionable spelling, anti-sexual harassment cakes, and, my favorite, divorce cakes (nothing says it better than a cake with “I Didn’t Like You That Much Anyway” written on it…except maybe the “Go Die in a Car Fire” cake).

Cake Wrecks

And now, Yates is back with a second helping of Cake Wrecks. With Santa being eaten by an alligator and vampire pilgrim cakes, who needs a Hallmark card?

Watch the trailer

Both Cake Wrecks and Wreck the Halls are actually books, with over two hundred pages of cake wreck photos accompanied by Yates’ special blend of wit and sarcasm. And somehow, they don’t stop being funny, but actually become even funnier because, as you flip through it with friends, you know what is coming. Wreck the Halls is the perfect Christmas gift and offers sweet relief from holiday shopping madness, whether you give it as a gift or, if you are like me, you keep it for yourself.

To win a copy of Wreck the Halls, share your own cake wreck photo and submit it to the Simon & Schuster Facebook page where you can also check out the recent Simon & Schuster Cake Wrecks event with Jen Yates at Indigo in Yorkdale.

For more Cake Wrecks, check out CakeWrecks.com. Be sure to follow @CakeWrecks on Twitter and like Cake Wrecks on Facebook!

Simon Recommends (4)

This week our charming publicist, Max, recommends Don DeLillo in an honest and fun review of his first collection of short stories, The Angel Esmeralda, which has been gathered over a thirty year span.  Have a listen and then read his review!

I read one Don DeLillo novel at the right time – White Noise, in large part about the absurdity of academia – soon after I finished undergrad and I read another – Point Omega – just last year, way before I should have. I’m young, but Point Omega is about being old. One of its main subjects is an art installation called 24 Hour Psycho, which is Hitchcock’s Psycho played in slow-motion so that it takes 24-hours to watch from beginning to end. At normal speed, it has a 109-minute running time. DeLillo, these days, seems concerned with the slowing of time that comes with old-age, comes with a proximity to end-of-life. (Reminds me a bit of the David Foster Wallace short-story, “Good Old Neon”, where there’s the idea that the absolute-last-moment-before-death is stretched to a sort-of infinity). In Point Omega, the action all takes place in an art gallery and in a desert. Quiet. Lifeless?

DeLillo’s concern, here, with old-age manifests not just thematically, but stylistically, too. His prose in Point Omega plays with time. It’s stripped-down to almost-nothing, seems like it takes forever to get through. It’s boring: “I was cooking the omelettes now. He seemed to wonder what he was supposed to do with the fork in his hand. I made coffee in the morning, set out bread, cereal, milk, butter and jam. Then I went to his bedroom and talked him out of bed.”

DeLillo is 74 and one of the only American old-white-guys who’s still doing good work (Philip Roth is 78). Good thing DeLillo’s The Angel Esmeralda is coming out so we can remember that DeLillo used to be young and he used to write about young things. It’s a collection of his short stories organized in order of publication-year. The first story, “Creation”, deals with a vacationing young couple struggling (and panicking) to secure travel from the West Indies back to America. The second story, “Human Moments in World War III”, sees two young astronauts in a satellite orbiting earth. “Don’t you sometimes feel a power in you? An extreme state of good health, sort of. An arrogant healthiness… But the point I want to make is that this powerful feeling is so – I don’t know – delicate.” The third story is “The Runner” about a guy who witnesses a senseless kidnapping in the park just down the road from his apartment. These early stories are about first contacts, with powerlessness, with the dichotomy of strength and death, with violence. There’s shock and awe in these stories. It’s fun to see the progression in an important writer’s work and how it sort-of runs parallel to his aging.  He wrote young really well. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to appreciate how well he wrote old, too.

The Angel Esmeralda hits stores November 15th!

Simon Recommends (3)

Good morning and happy Friday!

We have a new Simon Recommends this week from one of our Marketing Assistants, the wonderful Anneliese.  You may recognize her name from the blog as she posts regularly  If you love her reviews, this is the perfect chance to get a new recommendation from her.  Enjoy!

Read more about Moonlight on Linoleum HERE!

Have you read this touching memoir?  Tell us what you think!