If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the bookworm in your life, you need not look any further than the Austin city limits. Austin is home to a happening community of authors to fill all the stockings on your list this year – from the youngest reader to the oldest – and an equally strong community of local independent booksellers. Here’s your official Holiday Gift Guide to Austin Authors!
For the fairy tale-obsessed kiddo
My kids love Mr. Thatcher’s House, the debut picture book by author and illustrator Kristin Wauson. The familiar cast of characters that come knocking on Mr. Thatcher’s door will keep your kids asking you to read this one over and over.
For the little kid with a big personality
Roeder’s newest book, The King Penguin is the perfect story to read the first-born child who loves bossing his little brothers and sisters around, but don’t sleep on any of this Round Rock author-illustrator’s earlier books: Lucy and the String, The Box Turtle, and The Stack.
For the kid with a crisis of confidence
The Longhorns’ favorite son sold out Book People with the release of his newest children’s picture book Just Because. The charming rhyming series explores all the ways life contradicts itself, and is an alright alright alright addition to your kids’ library.
For the middle grade introverted cartoonist
Miss Quinces, the graphic novel by Honduran-Colombian middle grade author Kat Fajardo playfully captures the angst of young adults caught between two cultures. (I’m with them – I’d rather stay home and read manga than go put on a fluffy dress for family, too.)
For the preteen you want to read all your old favorites
It’s true – the Newbery award winner who made us all fall in love with Stanley Yelnats is an Austinite. His books Holes, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School stand the test of time, so get your old favorites in the hands of your middle grade offspring!
For the Reese’s Book Club reader in your life
Author of The Lifeguards and The Jetsetters (a Reese’s book club pick from 2020), Austinite Amanda Eyre Ward captures family and Facebook mom group drama in chef’s-kiss perfect fashion.
For the fan of secretly smutty thrillers
May Cobb May Cobb is the author of sexy East Texas thrillers The Hunting Wives, My Summer Darlings, and A Likeable Woman. Her books are perfect page-turners for the friend who enjoys spicy books as long as someone also dies under mysterious circumstances.
For the aunt and uncle who aren’t ready to accept your trans cousin
Jo Ivester’s Never a Girl, Always a Boy is a memoir of a mother and her transgender child, assigned female at birth in a world not quite ready to accept their journey. A staunch local advocate for trans rights, Ivester’s book is a soon-to-be stage adaptation coming to the Ground Floor Theater in 2024.
For your wise-cracking brother-in-law
Witty and incisive, Scott Semegran’s award-winning books To Squeeze a Prairie Dog, The Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island, and Boys are the perfect gift for the reader in your life who lives for deadpan.
For the adjunct professor you still follow on Facebook
Austin Noir contributor Amy Gentry excels at building suspense in her novels Bad Habits, Last Woman Standing, and Good as Gone. Her books are great stocking stuffers for those who like to keep guessing up until the very last page.
For your college roommate who never left Mythology 101
Good Morning America book club pick Olympus, Texas, the debut novel by Austinite Stacey Swann is the perfect mix of classic mythology-inspired story with family saga. Ancient myths, small towns, and crazy families… isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
For your father-in-law who can quote Cormac McCarthy
Part western, part literary, part mystery, Hill Country author James Wade’s books All Things Left Wild, River Sing Out, and Beasts of the Earth make a great gift for that family member who’s already exhausted their collection of Cormac McCarthy and Louis L’Amour and could use something more contemporary.
For your cousin who makes questionable life decisions
Simultaneously amusing and disturbing, Mike McCrary’s thrillers Table 13, Someone Savage, For You, and Genuinely Dangerous are the most absurd fun your gift recipient will ever have while going on a killing spree (fictional, of course).
For the aunt impatiently waiting for the new season of Bridgerton
The SAG writer’s strike is over, but Hollywood will be waiting a while for new episodes of everyone’s favorite historical dramas to air. While your Aunt Mildred waits for her Bridgerton fix, she can indulge in Austin author Marian O’Shea Wernicke’s books Toward That Which is Beautiful and Out of Ireland.
For the retired attorney who treats Thanksgiving like an interrogation
Assistant Travis County District Attorney, novelist, and twin dad Mark Pryor knows a thing or two about crime. Surprise the true crime junkies in your life with one of Pryor’s books: The Dark Edge of Night, Die Around Sundown, and the Hugo Marston series.
For the guy who never wants non-fiction November to end
No one does long-form investigative journalism better than Austinite Lawrence Wright, and he’s got the Pultizers to prove it. His works explore the deeper stories behind COVID-19 (The Plague Year), 9-11 (The Looming Tower), and more, and his novels The End of October and Mr. Texas don’t disappoint, either.
For the mother-in-law in denial about menopause
Author of A Delightful Little Book on Aging and Creatrix Rising, Cedar Park author Stephanie Raffelock’s books encourage women in middle age to acknowledge and celebrate their power with a sense of joy and purpose and a spirit of gratitude.
While you can get all these great books on Amazon, I encourage you to patronize your friendly neighborhood bookstore so they can stay in your neighborhood. Austin is luckily home to many, so you won’t have to go far (and many of them do online orders, too). They’re all planning on big in-store events for Small Business Saturday, so check the store nearest you for special goings-on!
Reverie Books | 5330 Menchaca Rd Ste D
Sunday Bookshop | 28101 Ranch Rd 12
Lark & Owl Booksellers | 205 6th St Suite 101
The Book Burrow | 401 W Pecan St G