Given how much I read, one would think buying books as holiday gifts for family should be easy - if only. Lest anyone recommends medication, today I offer a condensed version of my decision-making process. I'm happy to share the full story with any interested reading obsessives, just not publicly.
1.) Most important: Any book I gift must be a single, at minimum, per my baseball metaphor.
2.) Gifted books must have a high likelihood of landing well with the recipient. Examples: If the politics of an author are widely known (e.g. Bill O'Reilly, Noah Chomsky), care must be taken. If a recipient prefers their fiction with a straightforward narrative line, more experimental authors or books are usually avoided.
3.) If a book has been adapted to film - unless the film has not been well received or widely seen - it is eliminated from consideration. That is, no one will get "Brooklyn" (Colm Toibin) as a gift from me although "Serena" (Ron Rash) remains a possibility, especially since it fits #1 above, and it's perfect for the fiction readers in my family who enjoy a straightforward narrative line.
I'm afraid there is more. Try to imagine my turmoil in a book store. Anyone out there relate at all? How often does your intense love of something complicate your decision making?