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Perfect Gift: Best Books Of 2008

It has been quite a year in books, and assuming you can find the right one, you may just have the perfect holiday gift.

Cosmopolitan books editor John Searles, also the author of the novel "Strange But True," offers his picks to help book lovers and book givers navigate store shelves and savings this holiday season.

Non-Fiction Standouts: Hard cover books range from $25-$35

  • "Outliers:The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell (Hachette Book Group)

    You know "Blink" and you know "The Tipping Point," but Searles says Gladwell fans are going nuts over his latest on why some people excel... and only some.

  • "The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins (Random House)

    This is a reporter "par excellence" and these vignettes from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq stay with you long after you've put the book down. Booksellers say, "One of the best books of war reporting ever."

  • "The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family" by Annette Gordon-Reed

    Searles says there's lots of award buzz about this one -- a probable contender for the Pulitzer in history. You may think you know about Sally Hemings (the slave at Monticello who Thomas Jefferson had children with), but this book tells the story at a time in which we have a new awareness of race, a new image of the "American family."

    Read more (Excerpted from The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed. Copyright © 2008 by Annette Gordon-Reed. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.)

    Fiction Standouts: Books range from $14-$22

  • "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Random House)

    Maggie loves this book and read it while on the campaign trail.

  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (Random House)

    This book, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, came out in hard cover two years ago, but it is just out in paperback and there is a blockbuster film inspired by the book to come in early 2009 starring Charlize Theron and Viggo Mortensen.

  • The Brief And Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao Copyright © 2006 by Junot Díaz (Riverhead Books)

    Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

    For The Non-Reader: Range from $15-$50

    Coffee Table Books

  • Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits" by Andrew Zuckerman

    A great gift for the parent on your list. All contributors are 50 and over.
    Comes with a DVD of the famous interview subjects.

  • "The Rise of Barack Obama" by Pete Souza (Triumph Books)

    Souza had unprecedented access to Obama - you've never seen these photos before.

  • "Blue Dog Speaks" by George Rodrigue (Sterling Publishing)

    A very colorful collection of pictures of the eponymous blue dog from New Orleans.

  • "Posters For The People: Art Of The WPA" by Ennis Carter (Quirk Books)

    Retro images from the public works program.

    Audio Books

  • "Love Letters of Great Men" by Ursula Doyle (MacMillan)

    A collection of love letters from great men throughout history to their beloveds as modeled after the "Sex & the City" movie conversation between Carrie & Mr. Big.

  • "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee (HarperCollins)
    A new recording of the classic performed by Sissey Spacek.

    Best Bang: Under $10

  • Repackaged classics and modern classics, gorgeously done, are available wherever books are sold.

    Most Coveted $359; wireless book downloads: $9.99 & under

  • There is currently an 11-13 week wait for Kindle,'s highly-coveted wireless reading device.
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