Hidden Shelf
December 18, 2019

Hidden Shelf Gift Guide 2019

16 min read

Hidden Shelf Gift Guide 2019

Last year, I gifted books to everyone on our Christmas List. Young and old, near and far, everyone got a book. I loved the excuse to spend time in the bookstore; looking at spines, reading back covers, asking for recommendations. I love the idea of gifting books, because 1. I love books, and 2. It’s fun to try to find a book that will “fit” each person on your list. Unlike some other gifts, even if it doesn’t fit exactly right, that person can still get use out of it, and gain knowledge and perspective from a book that they may not have ever come across otherwise.   

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.


Wildflower Girl    Dana Stewart Quinney

Growing up in Ketchum in the 1950s, Dana Quinney found magic in the wilds of Idaho’s Wood River Valley – unplowed, unskied, untracked, and unpeopled.  Her memoir, Wildflower Girl, recounts the life of an adventurous woman born for wild places, leading her to a distinguished career in field biology. From tales of fishing with her father, who was a fishing guide for Ernest Hemingway; to a discovery of new species, each beautifully written chapter takes you on a nostalgic journey of mystery, adventure, and the magic of nature. 

For Fans Of: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

To Buy For: Your Uncle who just retired from the U.S. Forest Service; your niece who you want to inspire to be brave, smart, bold, and adventurous; your brother who loves to fish; your cousin who is an environmental activist; the “hard to buy for” people on your list; your sister-in-law who is all about strong, no-nonsense, female empowerment.

One Christmas Lasts Forever   R.D. Gaines

Late one Christmas Eve, a father unexpectedly steps back into his childhood of parents and grandparents, only to realize his children are standing behind him . . .

A unique and beautifully illustrated story of eternal bonds . . . with a wondrous twist.

A great book to gift, or add to your own collection, during the Christmas Season; a time filled with family and memories. 

To Buy For: Your grandparents or elderly neighbors/friends; your parents; the grandparents of your children; gifts for Sunday School teachers

Send Judah First   Brian C. Johnson

The slave ledger at Virginia’s Belle Grove Plantation only reveals that Judah was purchased to be the cook, gave birth to 12 children, and died in April 1836. But, like the other 276 faceless names entered in that ledger, Judah lived. 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.

For Fans Of: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

To Buy For: Your mother-in-law who loves to cook; your cousin who is a history buff; your neighbor who researches African American genealogy, your child’s teacher.

Loose Chronicles   R.D. Gaines

“A comical, off-kilter view of the world, captured by the observant and wry labradoodle, Loose. Anybody who knows the joy of a dog’s quirky devotion will love this book. It’s probably best read with your toes in the sand, a wet mutt curled up at your feet.”

– Tod Leonard, San Diego Union-Tribune

For fans of: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Small Dog, Big Life: Memoirs of a Furry Genius, Dennis Fried

To buy for: Your Aunt who loves dogs and football; your dad–who is always telling the “best dad jokes”; your child’s teacher.

Promise Lost   Dan Moore

The true story of Lieutenant Steve Joyner, who carried all the traits of a “perfect Marine” – character, compassion, determination, patriotism . . .  an All-American football star. But then came the harsh and unforgiving realities of combat in Vietnam. How the two worlds he inhabited both connected and conflicted reveals the character of an extraordinary man gone far too soon. 

For fans of: The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien, Matterhorn, Karl Marlantes

To buy for: Your Grandpa who loves to read all the war stories; your cousin who is a history buff, your nephew who was recently sworn into the Marine Corps.

Do or Die Time   Cameron Ventura

When Cal and James discover something terrible in the woods, their youthful curiosity unexpectedly leads them on a path that soon threatens their very survival. A fast-paced adventure requiring physical prowess, mental toughness, and unwavering trust . . . best friends caught in the most perilous situation of their lives.

For fans of: The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon

To buy for: Your nephew who thinks he doesn’t like reading.

Last but not least, a gift for YOURSELF,  because you want to curl up inside, by the fire, through the winter season:

Wildflower Girl, Dana Stewart Quinney, Send Judah First, Brian C. Johnson, Loose, R.D. Gaines,  Promise Lost, Dan Moore, Do or Die Time, Cameron Ventura, It’s Now or Never, Cameron Ventura, One Christmas Lasts Forever, R.D Gaines, and a Hidden Shelf bag to hold them all. 

Who is the hardest person to buy for on your list? 

Tell us who it is that you are searching for a gift for, and let us make some book suggestions to help you out!


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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