Gift Guide: Hobbies and Habits

There's no shortage of books on each and every hobby out there--from reading to knitting to cooking to skiing to sailing to running to underwater basket-weaving. Here are a few of my top recommendations for some common hobbies this year:


xo Orpheus, edited by Kate Bernheimer: Fifty well-known writers re-tell classic tales from Greek mythology, combining the contemporary writing landscape with time-honored storytelling traditions. Buy here ($18.00). And as an added bonus, throw in the first edition of stories in the same vein: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Buy here ($18.00).

The Novel Cure, by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin: What do you get the booklover who already has everything? How about the best kind of self-help book: one that offers book recommendations as medication for any mood or ailment. Buy here ($26.95).

Writers Between the Covers, by Joni Rendon and Shannon McKenna Schmidt: Give readers a peek inside the covers--and the bedsheets--of the writers they love with this account of the "scandalous romantic lives of literary casanovas, coquettes and cads." Buy here ($15.00).

Bonus: Not sure how to pick a book for the booklover in your life? Why not let a bookseller choose for you. RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH offers the services of Liberty Hardy, their "Velocireader," who will send your booklover a paperback book a month (for one month, six months, or a whole year) based on reading tastes. Buy here ($20-$200).


The Kinfolk Table, by Nathan Williams: The traditional cookbook gift is big, chunky, clunky--think Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, or The Silver Palate Cookbook. Williams' collection of recipes for "small gatherings" is the opposite of those, drawing on input from over 40 contributor to celebrate the simplicity of unfussy entertaining. Buy here ($35.00).

The Flavor Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit: This book is as useful as it is beautiful, with stunning graphic design accompanying flavor pairings that will delight the newbie chef and well-trained foodie alike.

Bonus: A personalized embosser allows your favorite foodie to emboss recipe cards, labels, and tags with statements like "From the Kitchen of Kerry M" when sharing their instructions or finished products (think canned, jarred, or pickled foods). Buy here ($39.95). And as an added extra, throw in an extra embossing plate to let them mark their cookbook library as their own. Buy here ($19.95).


Running Like a Girl, by Alexandra Heminsley: Heminsley's account of her experience training for the London marathon is simultaneously hilarious and inspiring, and her tips and advice will appeal to new and pro-runners alike. Buy here ($25.00).

Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall: A book that will make even the most avid runner's weekly mileage feel paltry, but will inspire any reader to lace up those shoes (or not, if you prefer barefoot running) and get out there. Buy here ($15.95).

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami: A look at writing, running, and how the two overlap, from one of literary fiction's most esteemed authors. Buy here ($14.95).

Bonus: A gifted Audible subscription gives your bookish runner 3 months, 6 months or 12 months of audiobook credits that they can redeem for entertainment-while-running. Buy here ($45-$150). And ear warmers with built-in headphones mean you don't have to choose between keeping your ears warm and keeping your mind entertained on long winter runs (at least for those of us in colder climates). Buy here ($35, currently 50% off).

Tomorrow, tried-and-true gift books.


  1. Great gift ideas! Thanks!

  2. It's interesting that the Kinfolk Table celebrates the simplicity of food since that's what the Kinfolk magazine does-- bringing out the beauty in the simple things. I definitely have to check it out sometime since I'm a fan of the magazine.

    Loving the letterpress idea as well!

    1. I wasn't familiar with the magazine before I saw this book, but I'm certainly intrigued now.


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