As the beginning of December rolls around, this time of year is often accompanied by a distinct realization that you’ve yet to come up with gifts for each of your loved ones, let alone have started buying them.

Luckily, books are a universal gift. There’s truly something for everyone if you do a little digging. Hybrid publisher Ballast Books is making it easy for you this holiday season with our Gift Guide, tailor-made for everyone on your list, even those hardest to shop for.

Military Buffs

For a grandfather who loves history, a father who served, or anyone with an interest in the harrowing and heroic stories of our nation’s brave men and women, military books are the go-to. Our recommendations are:

  • Deliberate Discomfort by Jason Van Camp: Deliberate Discomfort follows a real-life team of Special Forces veterans and the Green Beret commander who led them. Hear the true stories of Medal of Honor recipients, complete with heart-stopping action that will satisfy any reader.
  • The Underdogs by Benito Olson and Darren Sapp: Readers will be sucked into the world of Navy SEAL Benito Olson and his military working dog, Digo. While both were initially cast aside by society, they forged a bond sure to inspire any reader.
  • Ghosts of Baghdad by Colonel Eric “Ferris” Buer, USMC (Ret): This firsthand account of the beginning days of the Iraq War puts readers inside the cockpit and inside the mind of its pilot.

As an added bonus, if you’re looking for classic coffee table books, gift books, or something a little more substantial than your average page-turner, check out these premium offerings:

  • The Warrior’s Table by The Cast Iron Crew: This Special Operations Forces community came together to write this combination cookbook and memoir, sharing the recipes that preserved their sense of family through decades of serving.
  • The Twenty-Year War by Dan Blakeley, Tom Amenta, and Beau Simmons: This eye-opening, unflinching, and most of all, beautiful photo journal provides insight into the lives of 71 veterans during the War on Terror.
  • A Midshipman’s Journey by Kristin Cronic: With handmade impressionist paintings and prose, Cronic shows her transformation into a Naval officer. This is a book you’ll never want to stop flipping through.

Space Nerds

And all other kinds of nerds! These books tell unique stories about space travel while also exploring science, military, career, and personal topics. Readers will find themselves sitting on the couch and not getting up until they’ve turned the last page.

  • Air Born by Jan Davis: Davis sheds light on her father’s career as a pilot in World War II alongside her own as a NASA Space Shuttle astronaut in this grand generational tale, perfect for broadening readers’ interests.
  • Space Bites by Vickie Kloeris: For anyone who’s ever been fascinated by astronaut ice cream, this real-life NASA food scientist takes readers through her career and introduces them to an area of space travel that few know about, but everyone is interested in.

Lovers of a Powerful Story

These books are ideal for anyone who tears up at personal transformation. Each of these memoirs has a strong central message of overcoming adversity and surviving difficult situations. For a tug at the heartstrings, check out these options:

  • Reality Check by Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino: Your mind may not go straight to “inspiring” when you think of this Jersey Shore star, but his deeply personal tell-all delves into his struggles with addiction and how he put his life back together.
  • Now I Speak by Anna Nasset: Follow the author’s journey from being stalked to finding her own voice and becoming a powerful advocate for others – because there’s nothing more uplifting than a woman coming into her own.
  • Knots, Lines, and Life by Ashton Pineaar: Pineaar tells the story of his yachting career, substance abuse, and total transformation in this deeply honest memoir ideal for any reader previously enthralled by his time on the show Below Deck.
  • My Path to Light by Rosa Miller: Miller, an ex-member of the Amish community, details her troubled childhood, religious struggles, and how she chose and then achieved a different path for her life.

“New Year, New Me”

Another list that has to be made during this time of year is that of your New Year’s Resolutions. These books can give you some tips on how to make the most of the next phase in your career, fitness, or life in general.

  • Too Fat to Be Fit by Amy Moreland: Moreland shares her twist-and-turning path toward self-acceptance and self-love in this retelling of her fitness journey. Now a founder of workout program AMPD Strong, this book will motivate anyone to start seeing their body in a new light.
  • The Intelligent Startup by George Bearnard Graen and Julio C. Canedo: If you have dreams of starting your own business in the new year, this is the book for you. Learn how to become the leader you were always meant to be, no matter your industry.
  • unEngaged by Matthew Q. Lesser: Anyone can improve their business practices with this essential guide for creating a more involved, passionate, and hard-working employee culture.
  • Smarter Not Harder by David Sears: US Navy SEAL Commander (ret.) David Sears takes the precise instruction and analysis skills he learned during his time as a SEAL and reframes them for real life, allowing anyone to become a more actualized version of themself.

Book Club Members

For someone just becoming interested in reading, or someone you’re trying to get into reading; these picks are perfect for teenagers, siblings, and friends that want something smooth and easy.

  • Eugene and Me by D.E. Novak: Get wrapped up in Novak’s mind as she shares her love of the city Eugene, Oregon, and all its charming quirks and inhabitants, the ideal light-hearted read.
  • Pandemic in Paradise by Jennifer Smith, PhD: We all remember the pandemic that rocked the world, but Dr. Smith offers a new perspective, one that positions the people of Hawai’i at the center and likely teaches readers something they never heard about before.
  • American Grunt by Kevin Cramer: This book is the height of relatable. Anyone who’s worked a minimum-wage or blue-collar job will identify with Cramer’s struggles to make something of himself, especially in dangerous and disheartening working conditions.

Whether you’ve selected something from this list or you’ve been inspired to find the perfect gift, we wish you all luck this giving season. You can visit Ballast Books’s virtual bookstore to view more options and make buying a breeze for once, or even pick out something special for yourself. We all deserve to cuddle up with a good book during the darkest time of the year.

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