November 28, 2021
23 min read

Top 9 Books to Give as Gifts This Year 

Hidden Shelf Gift Guide 2021

Books are always great options for gifts. Again this year people are spending more time at home, less time traveling, less time socializing; a perfect opportunity to grab a warm drink, a great book, and snuggle up at home. 

There are many options to shopping for books safely, without the hustle and bustle of crowded stores: 

IndieBound and BookShop both offer options for searching and purchasing books online while supporting local indie bookstores. 

And of course you can also shop for books on Amazon (hey, remember when they used to ONLY sell books?)

You can safely browse the Hidden Shelf, virtually read the spines, look at the covers, read the back of the books, and view our recommendations (or ask us!), and give the gift of books this season. 

Out of the Water, Ann Marie Stewart

The highly anticipated second novel from the award-winning author of Stars in the Grass

 Amazon #1 New Release in Adoption Books

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Interconnected stories that span three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

For fans of:

For fans of:

House Number 12 Block Number 3

Sana Balagamwala

Pakistani-American debut author, Sana Balagamwala, beautifully delivers a coming of age story that grapples with trauma, culture, love, and loss.

The family’s house, a neoclassical building made of yellow stone situated in an old neighborhood in the city of Karachi, Pakistan, narrates the story. Through its narration and recollection of events past, from 1951 to 1988—against the backdrop of political change and upheaval in the country, the house tries to absolve itself of the burden it feels of being privy to the real reason for Nadia’s “illness” but not being able to do anything about it.

The Souls of Clayhatchee

For fans of:

The Souls of Clayhatchee

Anthony Todd Carlisle

James Kingsman hated the South.

Raised by parents who had migrated north from Alabama years before his birth, he had heard their personal stories of racism, injustice, fear. At best, he carried a certain disdain for those who stayed behind, no matter how much the South had changed.

When James reluctantly agrees to his mother’s last wish to be buried in her ancestral home, his notions about southern relatives are turned upside down. As are long-hidden discoveries about his parents. His father did not migrate north, he escaped. His mother kept an even deeper secret, one of rage and beauty.

Some ghosts cannot stay buried.


For fans of:

Back to One , Antonia Gavrihel 

Catherine Leigh and Kyle Weston have the perfect friendship — deep, lasting, and platonic. Friendship without sex? The world of gossip doesn’t buy it. You see, Catherine is beautiful, trusting, and married. Kyle is single, charming, a handsome movie star with a tabloid reputation.

Their bond may be magical and honest, but will the boundaries they have created to protect their friendship ultimately destroy it?

Antonia Gavrihel’s breakout novel is thought-provoking, beautifully written, and unique.

Legend Keepers: The Chosen One

Bruce Smith

In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven. Communication between a mountain goat and raven might seem strange. But what becomes more unreachable is Buddy’s realization that she alone can save a band of goats from the great peril foretold in an ancient legend. This brilliant tale with a clever mix of discovery will spark the intellectual curiosity of every reader.

For fans of:

The Brave Historian, Robert D. Gaines

Toward the end of 1999, as the world anxiously anticipates a new century, John Hammond reluctantly celebrates a childhood goal—to live one hundred years.

Lately, the old man has been oddly energized, fading into dreams that are particularly vivid, strangely real. Also, in these dreams, he is suddenly young again, strong again, and the past so very real again.

When Shelly Kingston is hired to put together a short birthday documentary about John’s life, the young filmmaker is intrigued by the old man’s stories and his unpublished, unfinished writings. John Hammond is intrigued by her. 

Another distant dream . . .

For fans of:

For fans of:

The Warden’s Son, Jerry Clapp 

When Jerry Clapp’s father became warden of the Idaho State Penitentiary in 1945, the young boy quickly learned the rules and boundaries of roaming one of the most danger- ous grounds in the West.

Through his school years, Jerry would become the confidante to many a wild tale from friendly inmates—an old man serving life for multiple assassinations, a beautiful teen- ager in the women’s prison, and an incarcerated war hero who became a lifelong role model.

These are the stories Jerry would tell his grandchildren—from chilling recollections of riots, escapes, and hangings to the profound remembrances of inmates, guards, and the warden. This fascinating “family portrait” truly brings the Old Idaho Penitentiary roaring back to life.

For fans of:


Send Judah First,  Brian C. Johnson

Amazon and Barnes & Noble Best Seller

Captured and sold into slavery, a young African girl faces a harrowing new life in 19th-century America… Meet Judah in a powerful historical novel that reveals the life of one of the many enslaved people at Virginia’s Belle Grove Plantation. Brian C. Johnson’s important work of historical fiction goes beyond what is recorded to portray the depth, humanity, and vulnerability of a beautiful soul all but erased by history.

Book of the Year Book

For fans of:

 Wildflower Girl,   Dana Stewart Quinney

2019 Idaho Book of the Year 

Growing up in Ketchum, Idaho in the 1950s, Dana Stewart Quinney found magic in the wilds of Idaho’s Wood River Valley — unplowed, unskied, untracked, and unpeopled.

Her memoir, Wildflower Girl, recounts the stories of
an adventurous spirit born for a life beyond the trail, leading to a distinguished career in field biology. From tales of fishing with her father — a fishing guide for Ernest Hemingway and the renowned Sun Valley Resort — to a discovery of new species, each beautifully written chapter takes you on a nostalgic journey of mystery, adventure, and the magic of nature.

Last but not least, grab a book as a gift for YOURSELF!

look for ebook and paperback book sales this season!

Who is the hardest person to buy for on your list?  Need a book recommendation? Ask us!

Written by Rachel Wickstrom 

Rachel Wickstrom coordinates marketing at Hidden Shelf Publishing house. She’s an avid reader, master party-planner, craft enthusiast, a mom to two young boys with wildly long hair, and is married to a hospital chaplain. As an Oregon native, Rachel’s childhood memories are scented with juniper berries and the crisp mountain air of Central Oregon. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho where her days are scented with lukewarm coffee, and spilled snacks.

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