Gifts for bookworms: Authors share top picks

Need a gift for the book lover on your list? It can be hard to sort through thousands of titles to get the right page-turner.

Here, five well-known authors share their favorite books from their respective areas of expertise: nonfiction/fiction, cookbooks, children’s books and coffee table books.

Browse titles recommended by Dan Brown, Sandra Lee, Mitch Albom, Jeff Kinney and Margaret Russell.


  • "Open" by Andre Agassi (Random House)
  • "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson (Random House)
  • "Dracula" by Bram Stoker (Penguin)
  • "Ford County" by John Grisham (Random House)
Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images North America
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 02: Sandra Lee attends the 2009 UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani 42nd Street on December 2, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for UNICEF)

Sandra LeeHost of Food Network's "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee"


  • "Gourmet Today" by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • "New American Table" by Marcus Samuelsson (Wiley)
  • "Good Housekeeping: The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook" by Good Housekeeping (Hearst)
  • "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking" by Julia Child (Knopf)
  • "Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook" by Better Homes and Gardens 14th Ed
  • "C Is for Cooking: Recipes From Sesame Street 40th Anniversary Edition" by Susan McQuillan and Sesame Workshop (Wiley)
  • "The Flavor Bible" by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg (Little Brown)
  • "Ten: All the Foods We Love and Ten Perfect Recipes for Each" by Sheila Lukins (Workman Publishing Company)
Carlos Osorio / AP
Mitch Albom, author of "Have a Little Faith," is interviewed in Detroit, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Mitch Albom
Author, "Tuesdays With Morrie," "Have a Little Faith"


  • "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by Kamkwamba and Mealer (William Morrow)
  • "Crazy for the Storm" by Norman Ollestad (Ecco)
  • "Playing the Enemy" by John Carlin (Penguin Press HC)
  • "Wind, Sand and Stars" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Mariner Books)
  • "Juliet Naked" by Nick Hornby (Riverhead)
  • "City of Thieves" by David Benioff (Plume)
  • "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson (Picador)
  • "A River Runs Through It" by Norman MacLean (University of Chicago Press)

Jeff Kinney
Author, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series

Children's books:

  • "Knucklehead" by Jon Scieszka (Viking Juvenile, for ages 9-12)
  • "Are You Ready to Play Outside?" by Mo Willems (Hyperion Book CH for baby-preschool ages)
  • "The Curious Garden" by Peter Brown (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for ages 4-8)
  • "Ripley's Special Edition 2010" (Scholastic, for ages 9-12)
  • "Marcelo in the Real World" by Francisco Stork (Arthur A. Levine Books, for young adults, grade 8 and up)
  • "Calvin and Hobbes Complete Collection" by Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel Publishing, no age range)
  • "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, for grades 5-8)
  • "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, for ages 9-12)
  • "The Magician's Elephant" by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, for ages 9-12)

Coffee table books:

  • "David Hicks: A Life of Design" by Ashley Hicks (Rizzoli)
  • "Great Gardens of America" by Tim Richardson (Frances Lincoln Limited)
  • "Hue" by Kelly Wearstler (Ammo)
  • "More Is More: Tony Duquette" by Hutton Wilkinson (Abrams)
  • "Dream House: The White House as an American Home" by Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters (Acanthus)
  • "Restoring a House in the City" by Ingrid Abramovitch (Artisan)
  • "Avedon Fashion 1944–2000" by Carol Squiers et al. (Abrams)
  • "The Iconic House: Architectural Masterworks Since 1900" by Dominic Bradbury (Thames & Hudson)
  • "The Private World of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé" by Robert Murphy (Vendome Press)