Graduation gift guide

Books make great graduation gifts, but sometimes it is difficult to know what to give, beyond the wonderful go-to Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go. Here are five books that are certain to be both meaningful and helpful to the graduates in your life.

healthy college cookbookThe Healthy College Cookbook
by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley, Emeline Starr, and Rachel Holcomb

Whether you’re leaving your parents’ home or the university dining hall, one of the things that is most crucial and least thought of is the ability to feed yourself. After all, most college students and recent graduates don’t exactly have the cash to eat out at every meal, and ramen and cereal get old quickly. The Healthy College Cookbook is chock full of delicious and nutritious recipes, including vegetarian options. There are even recipes designed for that friend of quick cook — the George Foreman Grill. Perhaps even more helpful, if you haven’t yet figured out the difference between sauteing and simmering, The Healthy College Cookbook is a great reference for novice cooks, with information on common spices, cooking terms and great ideas for stocking your kitchen.

The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder
Heroines BOokshelfby Erin Blakemore

What do Scarlett O’Hara, Scout Finch and Jane Eyre have in common? Not only are they some of our favorite literary heroines, they also offer great life lessons to young women, such as the importance of dignity, happiness and family ties. In The Heroine’s Bookshelf, author Erin Blakemore explores 12 beloved literary heroines to discover what they, and their authors, can teach us about what is important in life. Not only does The Heroine’s Bookshelf impart important life lessons, but it encourages readers to think deeply about what they have read and how it applies in their own lives, an important skill for any graduate.

Life Skills 101: A Practical Guide to Leaving Home and Living on Your Own
Life Skills 101
by Tina Pestalozzi

Striking out on your own for the first time is exciting, but also very scary. What do you do if your car breaks down? How do you go about doing your taxes? What do you need to know about the lease on your apartment? You may find yourself wishing that life came with a manual. Luckily, Tina Pestalozzi has created what could very well pass for our missing life manual — Life Skills 101. Her book is organized in broad strokes such as the working world, basic maintenance and being a savvy consumer, with a number of more detailed sections under each topic. Life Skills 101 is an all-around informative book that deals with just about everything you could possibly need to know to live on your own for the first time, making it an invaluable gift for graduates.

The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy
10 commandments of moneyby Liz Weston

While not one of the many financial advice books written specifically for graduates, The 10 Commandments of Money is an essential post-crash primer on how money really works. Liz Weston, a financial columnist, is an engaging and even funny writer out to debunk financial myths and help readers learn to budget and save, even when living paycheck to paycheck. For those just graduating from high school, there is even a section on getting a college education you can actually afford — a crucial consideration in these days of skyrocketing student loan debt. Practical and well-organized, The 10 Commandments of Money will set graduates on a good financial path from the get-go.

Girls in White Dresses
Girls in white dresses
by Jennifer Close

Sometimes what a graduate needs is not one more advice book, but a really great novel whose characters are going through some of the same things that she is. Those just graduating from college will see themselves and their futures in the girls of Jennifer Close’s national bestseller Girls in White Dresses. From relationships — both good and bad — to first jobs, tiny New York apartments and the eventual coupling off of seemingly everyone you know, Girls in White Dresses is fun, funny and relatable. Better yet, Close captures the importance of friendship and the pain of the occasional drifting away of people with whom you could once stay up all night talking. College graduates will devour Girls in White Dresses and find many reasons to reread it over the next five to 10 years.

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