The Kunzum Gifting Guide – Part 2: Give Meaningful Books to Friend, Family, and Foe in 2023!

Books make for the best gifts. And given the enthusiastic response to our first gifting guide of 2023, our readers and patrons seem to agree! So, on popular demand, here’s part two of Kunzum’s Book Gifting Guide.

Buying a gift can be a daunting challenge. You face the immense pressure of choosing an object that not only serves a purpose but is also meaningful to the person receiving it, while conveying your emotions. That’s a tall ask for any gift—except a book. A book can do many things at once: provide a source of comfort, joy, or escape; offer a new perspective to your circumstances; and even change your life for good! But how do you choose such a book? Fret not! We at Kunzum have crafted a guide that will make you the best gift-giver in town! Part 1 of our gifting guide worked wonders in helping people choose meaningful books as gifts. So, here’s part 2, on popular demand! Whether it’s the friend whose social media is full of ‘wanderlust’, the couple about to celebrate a milestone anniversary, the compulsive cosplayer in your life, or the startup enthusiast, Kunzum has a book idea—or three—for everyone!

The Kunzum Book Gifting Guide

The BFF Who Can’t Get Enough of Reality Shows

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

An airplane full of beauty-pageant contestants crashes on a mysterious desert island! They struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers—in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

What’s better than bingeing on Tiny Pretty Things, the Netflix show, together? Reading the book together! Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this drama-packed novel featuring three complex characters, who will each do anything to be the prima ballerina at their elite ballet school.

The Cousin Who Loves to Cosplay

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Simon Snow series is a major part of Cath’s identity. She and her twin, Wren, ensconced themselves in the series when they were just kids, and it’s what got them through life when their mother left. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates, which means that Cath has to move on and may have to leave behind Simon Snow—and the fan fiction she writes! 

Pop Manga: How to Draw the Coolest, Cutest Characters, Animals, Mascots, and More by Camilla d’Errico and Stephen W. Martin

From comics to video games and contemporary fine art, the wide-eyed-girl of shoujo manga has infiltrated pop culture, and no artist’s work better exemplifies this trend today than Camilla d’Errico’s. Renowned manga artist and comics creator Errico guides you on how to draw her signature Japanese-style characters. This one is perfect for cosplayers who want to learn the finer details of character-making.

Vinland Saga (Volume 1) by Makoto Yukimura

While we are talking about cosplaying, we have to mention the Vinland Saga! Raised by the Vikings who murdered his family, protagonist Thorfinn becomes a terrifying warrior, forever seeking to kill the band’s leader, Askeladd, and avenge his father.

That Friend Whose Social Media is Full of ‘Wanderlust’

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Known for his incisive essays, Alain de Botton is in full flow here as he waxes eloquent on the many aspects of travel. If you’ve ever felt disappointed on arriving at an exotic island that looked far more enchanting in pictures, or if you’ve experienced more joy anticipating and planning a trip than actually taking it, Botton is your new best friend. He doesn’t just narrate his own experiences, he also quotes other distinguished travellers like Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, and Alexander von Humboldt from their epic journeys.

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

This is a warm feel-good story about two best friends, Alex and Poppy. They live far from each other except for one week in a year, when they take a vacation together. But two years ago, something happened and they haven’t spoken since. Stuck in a rut, Poppy convinces Alex to go on one more vacation with her so she can make everything alright. But will she able to find a way around the one big truth that lies between them?

Superpowers on the Shore by Sejal Mehta

This book is an essential read for beach babies! (Sorry, mountain hermits!) The Indian coastline hosts some magnificent intertidal species: solar-powered slugs, octopuses with magical escape skills, venomous jellies, and harpooning conus sea snails, to name just a few. Superpowers on the Shore provides a dazzling window into the ecosystems that thrive in those innocuous little tide pools you pass by on your beach walks.

The Couple Celebrating A Milestone Anniversary

The Course of Love by Alain De Botton

Through the fictional story of a Scottish couple, Rabih and Kirsten, Alain De Botton dissects love and marriage in this singular book. From the seeds of love planted during teenage to the dating years to togetherness in old age, this book explores how love can survive—and thrive—in the long term. It makes for the perfect anniversary gift!

Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy’s love poems are among her most popular ones. The poet has a way of arriving at the truth of every emotion—in and out of love. Covering a wide gamut of experiences, from seduction to adultery and togetherness and everyday acts of affection, her collection takes you through all the stages and types of love. Much like a marriage does. Look no further for a gift for that special couple in your life!

The Kid Who Prefers their Gaming Universe to the Real World

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Set in a dystopian world in the year 2044, Ernest Cline’s book follows protagonist Wade Watts on his search for an Easter egg in a virtual reality game known as the OASIS. The puzzles deal with pop culture of the past, and the prize is a huge fortune. But when Wade finds the first clue, he realises that the other players will do anything—yes, even kill—to win. If Wade is to survive, he must confront the real world that he’s so far sought to escape.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow

Most gamers will relate to this book’s protagonist, Anda, who spends most of her waking hours playing a multiplayer role-playing game called Coarsegold Online. It’s a place where she can be a warrior but also make friends. But her world turns upside down when Anda befriends a virtual gold farmer, a poor Chinese kid in real life whose avatar collects valuable objects illegally and sells them to privileged players from developed countries.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

The 2022 Goodreads Best Fiction winner, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an unusual love story of two friends who come together as creative partners in the world of video-game design. Their passion brings them everything from fame and joy to tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, immortality.

The Non-Reader Who Doesn’t Know Where to Start

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 

Nobody can resist Ove, not even the non-reader! The man is an old curmudgeon, who likes to do things the right way—and cannot tolerate the world’s sloppiness. He’s recently lost his wife—and his will to live—but not his obsession with order. Then, a chatty young couple with two daughters move in next door, and Ove’s life is upended with chaos. Recently made into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Hanks, this is a heartwarming tale about lasting love, unexpected friendships, and the warmth of companionship.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Ever wished that you’d done life differently? Perhaps taken up that job offer, or rejected that marriage proposal, or gone on that impromptu trip? Nora Seed certainly wonders about such turning points in her life that have led her to a dark place. Then she finds herself in a surreal library, which is home to an infinite number of books—each one the story of a life she could’ve lived. A jaunt through the Midnight Library not only shows Nora the infinite possibilities of life but also the real key to happiness. This book is a smooth read and appeals to almost everyone with its universal themes of regret, what-ifs, and epiphany.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

We all have that one mentor in our lives who answers our big questions. For author Mitch Albom, it was his sociology professor Morrie Schwartz. This is a memoir by Albom about reuniting with Schwartz after a period of 20 years—in the last months of the latter’s life as he succumbs to ALS. Mitch’s Tuesday visits to Schwartz’s study—a return to his college routine—reveal a few lessons in how to live. It’s a classic that appeals to anyone who picks it up.

The Mum Who’s Obsessed with Her Home Garden

Garden Up by Ekta Chaudhary

YouTube sensation Ekta Chaudhary has been teaching gardening to millions of enthusiasts. Chances are your mum already knows about her channel! Now, Chaudhury has put all of her wisdom down in a beginner’s guide to growing plants at home. Gift this to your mum—or any home-garden enthusiast—to make her day!

Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat

Contrary to what you may infer from its cover and blurb, this isn’t a book on botany. But Janice Pariat certainly does use botany as a beautiful metaphor to establish deep-rooted connections in our shared world—and to defy traditional ways of classification and categorisation. The book narrates the separate journeys of four people spanning different continents and centuries. What connects all of them in the end is their encounter and experience with nature, specifically the plant kingdom.

Devotions by Mary Oliver

Nature runs through Mary Oliver‘s poetry like a golden thread through a needle stitching an elaborate tapestry of connection. The poet’s love for the natural world is no secret, and this collection—put together by Oliver herself—compiles some of her best and most profound poems. Oliver’s simple-to-understand verses make you see the world anew, whether it’s a bluebird singing, or a dog bounding across the porch, or a flower that shows all its teeth for a day.

The BFF Who Drags You to Poetry Readings

Set Me on Fire: A Poem for Every Feeling edited by Ella Risbridger

Poetry does a lot of things, including making you go, “This!” on social media. This anthology of poems written by poets, alive and dead, from all over the world puts feelings first. And it covers a wide array of them, from passionate love to heartbreak, from the grief of loss to afterlife, from hunger and yearning to the end of the world. If you know someone who “feels a lot of feelings,” this book of poems is for them!

Poems that Make Grown Men Cry edited by Anthony & Ben Holden

This poetry collection breaks the gender stereotype that “Men don’t cry.” In this fascinating anthology, 100 men―distinguished personalities from literature, film, science, architecture, theatre, human rights―tell you about the poems that have moved them to tears.

Teething by Megha Rao

Spoken-word poetry fans will already be familiar with the fierce Megha Rao, a confessional poet popular for her moving performances. In Teething, she constructs a haunting story with verse: years after the death of her younger brother, Achu discovers a suicide note. What follows is the unravelling of secrets and secret traumas of a dysfunctional family.

The Spouse Who Loves Bedtime Classics

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, Edmond Dantès is determined to take vengeance against the three men who have put him there. Then he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo, which may just be the key to all his plans.  

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Swann’s Way is the first of seven volumes that make up Marcel Proust’s seminal novel, In Search of Lost Time. Proust is famous for conjuring up elaborate memories and imaginative tales in deliciously meandering prose out of seemingly insignificant events, and this book is a prime example of that. The taste of a madeleine dipped in tea leads the narrator down a rabbit hole of memories from his childhood and the life of Charles Swann, a family friend he knew as a child. This book also encapsulates the standalone novel, Swann in Love, which narrates Swann’s love affair with Odette and in doing so reflects on the nature of love and desire.

The Mystery Buff Who Loves Crime Stories

Black River by Nilanjana S Roy

In the decrepit village of Teetarpur, a few hours from Delhi, Chand’s peaceful life is shattered by the murder of his daughter. Now, he seeks justice. Framed as a police procedural, Black River is fast-paced and relentless, yet tender and reflective, in its exploration of friendship, love, and grief.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

You think retirement homes are boring? Think again! This hilarious and fast-paced whodunit features four septuagenarian friends who meet up once a week—on Thursday—to investigate unsolved murders. But then, a killing takes place too close to home and the Thursday Murder Club finds itself dealing with a live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim are loveable and memorable characters who will make you laugh out loud, shed a few tears, and chew your nails. The best part? It’s just the first novel in a series of three books (so far)!

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede’s sister, Ayoola, has killed her third boyfriend in “self-defence” and has left another mess for Korede to clean up. But things come to a head when Ayoola starts dating the doctor whom Korede, the nurse, loves. Who does Korede save, and who does she sacrifice?

The Startup Bro Looking to Make a Fresh Start

Doglapan by Ashneer Grover

Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him! Ashneer Grover is among the most popular startup poster-boys of India! The cofounder of BharatPe first became a household name when he appeared as the meanest shark in Shark Tank India Season 1. But at the same time that he was enjoying newfound TV fame, his own life turned upside down. This memoir covers Grover’s journey—his days as a young boy with a refugee tag in Malviya Nagar, his academic success in an IIT and an IIM, his investment banking years, and finally, his signifiant role in the making of two unicorns—in his own singular style and uninhibited words. Perfect for that person making their own way in life!

The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha

Anyone who’s struggling at work can use this guide. The Start-up of You is a blueprint for thriving in your career. It helps you apply the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs at your workplace. The book will help you become the CEO of your own career and take control of your future.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Entrepreneurship can be a daunting and risky way of building a life. The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs, regardless of the size of their company, a way to test their vision continuously and adapt it to the world before it’s too late. This is the age of constant innovation, and Eric Ries lays down a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups.

Did you find these gift ideas helpful? Know someone who could use a book but doesn’t fit any of these descriptions? Just walk into a Kunzum store today and talk to our community managers, who have helped shape this guide!

Related: The Kunzum Book Gifting Guide Part One

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