Author Gift Recommendations

We asked seven Scribner authors to share holiday gift ideas. From tenderloin to drones to paperweights, you’ll want to be someone they’re shopping for this year.

Ann Beattie, author of The State We’re In

What my friends are getting:  Oh, cash is always good.  No, just kidding.  They’re getting Chef James Haller’s Salt & Pepper Cooking. In his childhood, Chef Haller did his best to make ordinary food interesting. He sprinkled Kool-Aid into angel food cake mixes and once “put a little Benedictine brandy on fried eggs after I heard Betty Grable order eggs benedict between dance numbers.” 


Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Almost Famous Women

My philosophy is always to dispense books like medicine. I give Martha Graham’s Blood Memory to artists, Beryl Markham’s West With the Night to travelers, M.F.K. Fisher’s Collected Works The Art of Eating to the foodies, Leonard Michaels’s Sylvia to brooding men, Rebecca Solnit to my soulful friends with wanderlust, the used paperback of Edna St. Vincent Millay and George Dillon’s translation of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal to my poet friends, and David Sedaris to anyone who grew up in North Carolina, as I did.

S.C. Gwynne, author of Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon

I believe in giving old books or out-of-print books that are great but largely unread. One excellent example: Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s Worst Journey in the World. It is the greatest adventure book I have ever read. This season my wife and I are giving mesquite-smoked, peppered beef tenderloin from the Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap, Texas. It is the best food I have had in 22 years in Texas. Not cheap. But it will knock your Aunt Myrtle’s socks off. Then of course there is the gift all truly literary people really want: drones.


Jason Matthews, author of Red Sparrow and Palace of Treason

As the world is becoming increasingly perilous, I like to make sure friends and family can see in the dark.  The NEBO SLYDE Z 4750 Lux Flashlight has a 250-lumen, 4X dimmable LED spotlight with a serrated front bezel (for defense.)  Pull the body of the SLYDE open to activate a 190-lumen work light.  The magnetic base holds the light securely to any metal surface.  The ultimate irony:  Made in China by Chicoms.

Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior

Thistle Farms is one of my FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WHOLE SWEET WORLD. This Nashville non-profit is a sanctuary for survivors of trafficking, addiction, and prostitution. They provide advocacy services, residential and inmate programs, medical care, therapy, education and job training to more than 700 women annually, who support themselves in part by making and selling beautiful products.  Do something good for the world (and for your body and home!) by filling your holiday list with Thistle Farm Love!

Ann Packer, author of The Children’s Crusade

I love to give the monogrammed paperweights available at Wichita Stitch on Etsy. Vintage embroidery encased in smooth glass.  A perfect non-book gift for anyone who likes letters.

Annie Liontas, author of Let Me Explain You

Sponsor a Student at Escuela Kemna’ oj, a school located in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala.  Two dollars a day means a student can receive two hot meals, bi-annual medical check ups, and a quality education. Or buy MyCrow Angels’ handmade Guatemalan bags and gear, made from coffee bean bags and local materials. MyCrow Angels is a non-profit that provides single moms and widows with kids the opportunity to develop life skills and build sustainable businesses for their families by providing seed funding. These gifts go a long, long way.