Books For The Holidays

You’re going to go home soon, and you don’t know what kind of gifts to get some of the people that you know. Luckily for you, I have some ideas for books, as well as two DVDs.

  1. 1. Unico

    An adorable manga by Osamu Tezuka about a unicorn who makes anyone who's shown him unconditional kindness full of light-heartedness and joy. The gods are jealous of Unico's gift, so they have the West Wind send him to the Hill of Oblivion. Instead, she transports Unico place to place so he doesn't get found out by the gods. And thus begin Unico's light-hearted adventures. It reads like a comic version of a Disney movie that was never written, but both volumes of Unico have been made into movies, with the first one being The Fantastic Adventures of Unico, and the other being Unico and the Island of magic, with the second movie being frightening for children. It's good for kids, manga enthusiasts, and people who just want to read something light-hearted and cute.

  2. 2. How the World Was

    This is the sequel to French graphic novelist Emmanuel Guibert's Alan's War, and just like that book this book is also based on the life of an average American named Alan Cope, but this time, it covers his childhood. This is good for those who love the art of graphic novels as it goes from photo-realistic to a few child-like drawings, to the most common form that is realistic enough that it's not too silly, yet it's simple enough that it fits with a child observing the world. It's also good for history-buffs and people who are interested in the experiences of people in California before WWII, as well as anyone who wants a mostly soothing story about a childhood.

  3. 3. Message to Adolf

    This is a manga that can be enjoyed by even people who hold manga and anime in disdain, as it's a serious story written by the God of Comics himself, Osamu Tezuka. The book is about three people named Adolf: Adolf Kamil, a Jewish German who grew up in Kobe; Adolf Kaufman, who's a friend of the first Aldolf and thus resists his father's ideology; and the man himself. It's a political thriller where the Nazis look for the evidence that Hitler is Jewish in order to prevent the Reich from breaking apart. It's in two parts and called Message to Adolf, though there's an older version simply called Adolf with a different subtitle for each of the five parts that the first import was released as with the panels flipped so the book reads left to right as usually done in America and the west.

  4. 4. The Happiness Project

    This is a good book for making the new year a great year, along with the rest of your life, so if you know someone who wants to enact some change in their life, whether it's being more academic, being more social, more grateful, or just happier in life, then this is a good book to give them. Read Gretchen Rubin’s entertaining way of implementing her unique happiness project, based on the research she’s done, and the things that make her the happiest. Then, start your own happiness project. You might want to give this to them before Christmas, so as to give them enough time to read the book, come up with their own plan, and implement it during the new year.


  5. 5. The Happiness Hypothesis

    You know how often stories have an Aesop that everyone knows but no one takes to heart? Takes ancient wisdom that we've forgotten and gives critical modern reasons for doing. A lot of what we think would make us happy really doesn't. From how being virtuous honestly does make you happy, to how the hard things in life make us stronger, to how even for atheists and agnostics you have to appreciate the divine and treat every living thing as something holy and divine.

  6. 6. Authentic Happiness

    Another book to read in tandem with The Happiness Project so you can figure out what makes you happy, and then create a plan to make you happy. It uses Positive Psychology, which is based around focusing on the positives of humanity and viewing challenges in life as a way to grow, so it will definitely be helpful in making your life a good journey.

  7. 7. 101 Things to Do Before You Graduate

    People nowadays often wonder what the point of college is if it won't guarantee you a career anymore. A lot of people are confused about what they want to do after school, and how to get there. 101 Things to Do Before You Graduate gives you concrete things to like start a business brand, eliminate credit card debt, read a spiritual text cover to cover, interview your elders, master Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint, and finishing an assignment a week early to do things such as the basics to just float in college, build your personal brand, find what you love doing, financial baby steps, preparing you to know your career while in college, grow your relationships, and being a better person.

  8. 8. Pachinko

    A generational saga about a Korean family in Japan is a very easy read in that it's easy to sink in to, and to just continue reading. At times a love story of romantic and familial love, it also asks the question of what it means to belong to a country even when you haven't been there in years, or to belong to a country that doesn't see you as a true citizen, and what home really is. For people who want to explore the immigrant and assimilation narrative without it being too familiar, and for people who are interested in either Japan or Korea, as the book shows that not all Japanese are bad, but not all Koreans are good.