'GMA' Gift Guide: Best Books for Holiday Gifts

From fiction to politics, these page-turners make the perfect gift.

Dec. 21, 2010— -- Christmas is just four days away, but there's still time to get thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list.

Books always make great, last-minute presents. Janice Kaplan, novelist and contributor to The Daily Beast, appeared on "Good Morning America" with her gift picks for all types of readers. Any of these page-turners will make a great Christmas gift!

CLICK HERE for web-extra book picks and CLICK HERE for our special books page full of book excerpts, author interviews and more!


"I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections," by Nora Ephron

All you have to do is read the title and laugh. Nora Ephron, famous for writing about love and romance in chick-flicks such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless In Seattle," riffs on death, divorce and aging in her latest book. Ephron's style is wry, self-deprecating and comical, Kaplan said. Gift idea: Pair the book with one of Ephron's classic movies to make it that much more festive, Kaplan suggested.

"Cleopatra: A Life," by Stacey Schiff

Pulitzer Prize winner Stacey Schiff brings Cleopatra and the world of Ancient Egypt to life in her latest biography. The last queen of Egypt was more than the sexy siren immortalized in history, according to Schiff. In Schiff's depiction, Cleopatra comes across as a smart politician and tactician who used every circumstance to her political advantage.

"Frank: The Voice," by James Kaplan

You don't have to be a Sinatra fan to appreciate the story of the singer's unexpected rise from nothing to super stardom. Best-selling biographer James Kaplan, co-author with Jerry Lewis of "Dean and Me," traces Frank Sinatra's humble upbringing in Hoboken, N.J., through his first marriage, career aspirations, famous relationship with Ava Gardner and more. The book also sheds light on America during the 1940s, said Janice Kaplan, who's not related to the author.


Political Books

These hot political titles make good gifts -- even across party lines, Kaplan said.

"Decision Points," by George Bush

In his memoir, former President George W. Bush reveals some of the most crucial moments in both his personal life and in his eight years in office. Bush acknowledges his missteps in response to Hurricane Katrina, and gives insight into his most controversial decisions, such as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, stem cell research and Dick Cheney as his choice for vice president. He also opens up about his personal battle with alcoholism.

White House Diary by Jimmy Carter

"White House Diary" takes readers inside Jimmy Carter's presidency like never before. The 39th president kept a private diary during his time in office, making several entries each day on his thoughts, frustrations and impressions. Carter has now released an edited version of the diary to the public, along with his reflections on his tenure.



"Dead or Alive," by Tom Clancy

In his latest, international thriller author Tom Clancy resurrects the fictional covert operative Jack Ryan Jr., who's part of the Campus -- a secret organization tasked to identify, hunt down, locate and eliminate terrorists. The group is on the trail of one of the world's most dangerous terrorists, Emir, who's believed to be on the Afghan/Pakistan border. For his 14th novel, Clancy has teamed up with U.S. Navy vet Grant Blackwood.

"The Rembrandt Affair," by Daniel Silva

In this page-turner, Gabriel Allon, an art restorer and spy, is on the job when a Rembrandt is stolen. He soon learns the prized painting is connected to a host of atrocities, from Nazi Germany to terror threats today.

"Hell's Corner," by David Baldacci

David Baldacci is back with another installment in the Camel Club series. In this thriller, a bomb goes off across the street from the White House and retired CIA assassin Oliver Stone has to figure out who did it. Baldacci, who's penned 19 consecutive bestsellers, has lost no steam in his latest title, according to Kaplan.

"An Object of Beauty," by Steve Martin

Actor and comedian Steve Martin takes readers inside New York City's glamorous art world through the lens of heroine Lacey Yeager. The ambitious Yeager begins at Sotheby's with an entry-level job and is determined to break into the highest tiers of the business.


Box Sets

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy

Take home the series by late author Stieg Larsson. The trilogy, all of which were published after his death, has become a publishing and pop culture phenomenon. At the center of the series is Lisbeth Salander, a bisexual, butt-kicking hacker and unlikely heroine.

The books should be read in order, starting with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," then "The Girl Who Played With Fire," and last, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest."

Penguin Classics

From William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens, give the gift of classics this Christmas. Penguin packaged seven hardcover editions of its classic works and updated them with linen paper and patterned covers that give an old-world feeling. Titles include "The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint," by William Shakespeare; Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings" and "Oliver Twist;" "Little Women," by Louisa May Alcott; Dante's "Inferno;" "The Woman in White," by Wilkie Collins; and "The Hound of the Baskervilles," by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Harry Potter Books

The magical world of Harry Potter is the perfect holiday gift for kids to grow into. The heart-pounding, often harrowing tales of a young wizard and his friends battling the forces of evil has sold more than 400 million copies and become a worldwide phenomenon. Now, almost 12 years after the publication of J.K. Rowling's first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Scholastic has packaged all seven books in paperback or hardcover boxed sets.


Web Extra Picks


"Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters," by Marilyn Monroe

"Decoded," by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter

"Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage," by Hazel Rowley

"The Elephant to Hollywood," by Michael Caine

"Glory In The Fall: The Greatest Moments in World Series History," edited by Peter Golenbock


"Ann Beattie: The New Yorker Stories," by Ann Beattie

"Rescue," by Anita Shreve

"Full Dark, No Stars," by Stephen King

"The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey," by Walter Mosley

"American Assassin," by Vince Flynn

CLICK HERE for our special books page full of book excerpts, author interviews and more!