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Gift Books to Delight, Inspire and 'Wow'

Woe is me. So many hours lost pioneering my way through the stacks to find outstanding holiday gift books. And all this to save you the trouble of whiling away your own sweet time. How's for that public service!

Arguably, any book you give to someone is a "gift book." To narrow the search for this list, though, I've chosen books that I wouldn't buy for myself, opting out of reality and focussing on nostalgia, nature, kitsch and even the downright frivolous. Given the year we've had, I'd say it makes a nice change.

Before you dive in, know this: I've left the novels to braver souls, the cookbooks to connoisseurs and the children's books to the people meant to have them (children, that is). What I've put together is a baker's dozen of delicacies chosen to delight, inspire and just "wow." (You can print these titles, along with all our other year-end picks, using this master list.)

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Ketzel Levine
NPR Senior Correspondent Ketzel Levine reports for Morning Edition.