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Authors have a few tips for holiday book gifts
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

With more than 100,000 books published each year, it's hard to know what works best for a holiday gift. A few "experts," from a prize-winning historian to some best-selling children's authors, have suggestions:

James McBride, whose novel "The Good Lord Bird" was this year's fiction winner of the National Book Award: "And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him," by Tomas Rivera. "It's a short group of vignettes," McBride says, "but I like the writing, imagery, voice and story."

Brian Selznick, whose "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" was adapted into a feature film by Martin Scorsese: "Ballad," by Blexbolex. "This book is unlike anything I've ever seen before," Selznick wrote in a recent email. "It's a puzzle, a fairy tale, an adventure, a love story, made with words and pictures used in a new, utterly beguiling way. The silk-screened images, made with unbelievable fluorescent ink, will draw you in and will leave you breathless till the end."

Rachel Kushner, author of the acclaimed novel "The Flamethrowers": Manning Marable's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Malcolm X. "I think it's absolutely incredible," she says. "An impeccable work of history about a very important American figure."

Alan Taylor, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose latest book is "The Internal Enemy," about slavery in colonial and post-colonial Virginia: "A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek," by Ari Kellman, the story of a bloody 1864 battle in Colorado that left more than 150 American Indians dead and the debate surrounding a memorial site dedicated in 2007. "A book about how different people can remember an event in very different ways," Taylor says.

Ann Martin, author of "The Babysitters Club" series: "In the Company of the Courtesan," by Sarah Dunant. "A mesmerizing story set in 16th-century Venice," Martin says.

Mark Halperin, co-author of "Double Down," the best-seller about the 2012 presidential election: "Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football," by Rich Cohen. Halperin praises the book's "nostalgia, great storytelling, and larger-than-life characters."

"Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine: "Fun Home," by Alison Bechdel. "This brilliant graphic novel was turned into the best musical theater play I saw all year," Stine says.

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