In honor of Christmas, ten reasons why everyone on my list is getting a book:

1) It’s the cheapest way to travel. For less than $20 you can send someone you love through time and space to the most exotic settings.

2) You meet the most interesting people. I never met Madeleine L’Engle (although my cousin did!), but when I want to chat with her about the wonder of God or the expanse of the universe or the gates of time, all I have to do is open one of her books and we’re together.

3) Books are easy to buy, easy to wrap, and easy to mail–a perfect little rectangle that doesn’t even need a box! Wrap, tape, bow and you are ready to go!

4) Books fit every age, shape, ability, and background. From babies to beyond, there’s a perfect book for everyone.

5) They are small enough to tuck in stockings or wow enough to tuck under the tree.

6) Books last. A good novel or work of narrative nonfiction will give the recipient at least a dozen hours of guaranteed pleasure. Combine with gourmet hot chocolate, a nice mug, or (my favorite) chocolate covered caramels and whala! a mini vacation!

7) Book are like friends. You can never have too many.

8) Great books get better with time.

9) Books are not made of plastic, are non-toxic, non-perishable, non-breakable, biodegradable, and (surprise!) the paper versions use less energy to produce than e-versions.

10) Books are written by real people–many of whom I am honored to count as friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. They reflect their experiences, dreams, thoughts, creativity, labor, and love. When you give a book, you give all this with it.

For books you may enjoy, check out my book reviews. And please, whenever possible, buy or order books from a real bookstore. If they don’t have it, most will happily order it. Real books. Real people. A real gift guaranteed to last.

What favorite books are you giving this year?