Word around Germ is that I’m the “Oldies Expert,” or at least, that’s what my editor once told me. I do enjoy reading (especially about history), and I am a vintage geek. So, with Christmas fast approaching, you better not cry or pout about finding the perfect gift for your vintage-loving friend or your bookworm cousin, because I am here to help! Whether your friend or relative is a vintage lover or a book lover — or both! — you may want to take note of this gift list. We all like to stay within our holiday budgets, so I went ahead and did some cost research too. Maybe you’ll even get a copy for yourself. 😉
Let’s start with some pop culture icons. One of Hollywood’s legendary actresses is Audrey Hepburn. Audrey: The 50s is a coffee table book filled with photos of the actress, style icon, and humanitarian. The images within are from the decade that Hepburn became a success in films and in the fashion world. It includes photographs in black and white and in color from the sets of Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, and The Nun’s Story. There are never-before-seen candid moments of Hepburn at home, movie scenes, and publicity shots, many of which have been digitally restored. It’s $27.85 at barnesandnoble.com.
For the ’60s rocker, I picked the memoir written by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. His iconic contribution to California’s rock culture goes beyond the music. I Am Brian Wilson gives insight into his personal life, including mental illness, drug use, and the struggles he faced as the band experienced popularity shifts. The memoir is available on paperback for $17.85 on Amazon.
Want a gift that’s less pop culture and more inspiring? Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly is about the African American women who worked at NASA as mathematicians and whose calculations helped launch America’s first rockets and astronauts into space. One of these mathematicians is Katherine Johnson, who you can read about in this month’s Badass Ladies in History. Hidden Figures is available at Walmart for $10.24.
This next inspirational book is one I discovered thanks to Germ reader Ariane DiNatale, who suggested it for our Badass Ladies in History section. It’s called Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky. The illustrations, fun facts, and inspiring women who proved that gender is not a limit to being a scientist makes this book a must-have. You can find it on the Barnes and Noble website for less than $12.
Here are two books I’ve been wanting to get myself this Christmas: The Spy by Paulo Coelho and I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb. The Spy is about the life and death of Mata Hari, a dancer whose lifestyle contrasted against the war and led to her incarceration under the suspicion of being a spy. She wrote a series of letters from prison, which are the inspiration for Coelho’s novel. The novel is available for less than $14.
I’ll Take You There is described as a “radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women.” The reader steps into a former vaudeville theater, where the ghost of a silent era movie director screens the life of three women to the main character, giving him an understanding of “the pressures and trials of the women closest to him, and of the feminine ideals and feminist realities that all women, of every era, must face.” It’s less than $21 at Walmart’s website.
This history and book lovers list would not be complete without some of Jennifer Niven’s previous works. If you and your friends loved All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe, you need to read the Velva Jean series. Partly inspired by Niven’s family history and the brave women who were spies and pilots during World War II, the series includes Velva Jean Learns to Drive, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, Becoming Clementine, and American Blonde. Don’t want to read the entire series? No worries. Each novel can be read on its own, but you’ll always want to know what happens next. Prices start at $4.48 at barnesandnoble.com.
Found some gift ideas for the history and book nerds you know? Found one that you’ll buy as a present for yourself? If so, which ones? Comment Below!