The Roughly Speaking book critic is a librarian and has a pretty good sense of who wants what in a book.
The Roughly Speaking book critic is a librarian and has a pretty good sense of who wants what in a book. (Sarah Wilkins / For the Times)

Paula Gallagher, Baltimore County librarian and Roughly Speaking critic, offers a list of books that she thinks will make good holidays gifts for the Instant Pot fanatic, the reluctant history buff and the "Stranger Things" follower in your life. Here are her suggestions, cleverly categorized by their intended recipients. You can hear Paula talk about these books in Episode 332 of the Roughly Speaking podcast.

The Person Who Needs Some New Go-to Recipes: “Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites,” by Deb Perelman.


The Person Who’s Trying to Eat Less Meat: “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition,” by Mark Bittman. And, “Market Cooking,” by David Tanis, a recent guest on the podcast.

The Home Cook Who Wants to Know Why: “The Science of Cooking: Every Question Answered to Perfect Your Cooking,” by Stuart Farrimond.

The Facebook Friend Who Can’t Stop Posting About Their Instant Pot: “Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multi Cooker or Instant Pot,” by Melissa Clark.

The History Buff Who is Also a Foodie: ”The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African-American Culinary History in the Old South,” by Michael Twitty.

The Relative Who Enjoys Correcting Your Grammar: “A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age,” by Emmy J. Favilla, Buzzfeed Copy Chief.

The Museum Goer: “Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers,” by Deborah Heiligman. And, “Leonardo da Vinci,” by Walter Isaacson.

The Civil War Enthusiast: “Grant,” by Ron Chernow. And, “American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant,” by Ronald C. White.

The Pop Music Fan: ”Picturing Prince: an Intimate Portrait,” by Steve Parke.

The Person Who Thinks History is Boring: “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann.

The Naturalist: “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession,” by Nate Blakeslee.

The Birder: “Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World,” by Noah Strycker. And, “Mozart’s Starling,” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.

The Friend Who’s Waiting for Season 3 of ‘Stranger Things’: “Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of 70s and 80s Horror Fiction,” by Grady Hendrix. And, “Strange Weather: Four Short Novels,” by Joe Hill.

The Person Who Was Horrified by the Relevance of the Handmaid’s Tale: “The Power,” by Naomi Alderman.

The Award-Winning Reader: “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” by Jesmyn Ward.


The Would-be Time Traveler: “The Punch Escrow,” by Tal Klein. And, “All Our Wrong Todays,” by Elan Mastai.

The Relative Who Needs a Good Book Club Pick: “Pachinko,” by Min Jin Lee. And, “Stay With Me,” by Ayobami Adebayo.

The Best Reason to Give a Gift Card: “The Woman in the Window,” by A.J.Finn, scheduled for January release.