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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

10 great gifts for book-lovers this year

Gift-givers can’t go wrong with books. Here are options that will delight everyone from mystery lovers to Taylor Swift fans.

“Murdle, Volume 1” ($16): It sounds like that other game, but this puzzle is aimed squarely at armchair detectives. Collected here are 100 logic games that ask players to figure out who, what and where a crime was committed, like Clue, but on paper.

Neck Reading Light ($23.99): Hands-free reading, sort of. You’ll need them to hold the book, but not this light from Glocusent, which sits comfortably around your neck, giving off LED illumination that makes reading in the dark easy without disturbing anyone nearby.

“Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography” ($5.99): Swifties and budding Swifties will delight in this retro-style mini-biography by Wendy Loggia, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. A collectible that features all you need to know about the megastar.

“Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers,” by Jesse Q. Sutanto ($27): To her son, Vera Wong is an overbearing mother. To the police, she’s a nuisance. But for readers of this cozy mystery, she’s a comically bossy detective whose hunt for a killer proves endlessly entertaining.

“Better Living Through Birding,” by Christian Cooper ($28): Cooper was birding in Central Park in 2020 when he became the unwitting star of a viral video that crystallized America’s racial tensions. In this poignant memoir he explains how birds and comics helped him become the queer “Black nerd” he’s proud to be.

“The Wager,” by David Grann ($30): When the HMS Wager left England in 1740, the men aboard had no idea what horrors awaited them. The author of “Killers of the Flower Moon” recounts their riveting ordeal, which Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are set to adapt next.

“Bluey: Sleepytime,” by Joe Brumm ($18.99): The adorable Australian television show about a Blue Heeler puppy is as beloved by parents as it is their children. Now the story can be enjoyed before bed without the pesky melatonin-disrupting blue light.

“Tisa: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set,” edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani ($27.71): This annual box set is dedicated to featuring the work of contemporary African poets, with an emphasis on those who have not yet published a full-length book. Eleven individual chapbooks come bundled in a beautifully designed slipcase.

“To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul,” by Tracy K. Smith ($27): This book is about Smith’s genealogical investigations, and the dead ends she often encounters in the archives. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, writes dazzling prose. On nearly every page of this book is a phrase or sentence to marvel over.

“The Covenant of Water,” by Abraham Verghese ($32): Set in the Kerala state of India, Verghese’s novel traces a family’s evolution from 1900 through the 1970s, with intimacy swept up into widescreen pageantry in the manner of “Dr. Zhivago.” This grandly ambitious, impassioned work is a magnificent feat.