Which books would make great Christmas gifts?

Lisa De Pasquale Former Director, CPAC
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Books make great last-minute gifts. You can purchase one at a brick-and-mortar store or go for the overnight shipping online. They’re also easy to wrap. However, sometimes books can be tricky. If you choose a bestseller, there’s a good chance the person you give it to already has it. If you choose a book you haven’t read, there’s a chance it’s not very good. This Christmas I thought I would ask a few of my favorite authors and political leaders for their book suggestions, which are below. Merry Christmas and happy shopping!

Ann Coulter, author and columnist

Mine! — Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America

The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell

I link to more on my Web page, AnnCoulter.com!

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Michigan)

Heading into the 2012 clown cavalcade, this year’s holiday respite recommendations are:

Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant by Paul Clemens. This is the wrenching tale of the salt-of-the-earth men and women who must parley amidst the ruins of what was once our Free World’s Arsenal of Democracy.

The Arms of Krupp 1587–1968 by William Manchester. The obituary of the military-industrial complex that armed the Nazis’ war machine and was defeated by our Free World’s Arsenal of Democracy.

Life by Keith Richards. Uncle Keef’s riffs on his experiences as a (surprisingly) living legend.

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent. This intoxicating read reminds us that through the millennia of human existence the more we change, the more we stay the same — stoned (see Uncle Keef, above).

The Trial by Franz Kafka. This timeless, chilling novel of a citizen trapped in a soulless bureaucracy’s deathly embrace will remind you why government must ever be our servant and never be our master.

Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes by Dwight Boyer. The true stories of long-lost sailors and their ships still searching for their ports of call.

Of course, this list is only completed by plugging any books or sundry lyrical Philippics by the indomitable conservative trio of S.E. Cupp — Losing our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity; Monica Crowley — What the (Bleep) Just Happened?: The Happy Warrior’s Guide to the Great American Comeback; and Jedediah Bila — Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. Bless you for your courage and clarity, ladies; and, to all, a goodnight.

Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv and the coauthor with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America

My favorite book of the year is Peter Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out, an appalling and completely persuasive indictment of politicians who trade on their positions to get rich and the crony capitalists who enable them. It’s depressing and enraging but also offers up a way to curtail such bad behavior.

Kurt Loder’s The Good, The Bad & The Godawful is the essential film guide to the flicks of the 21st century. Strangely, his section devoted to the almost unmitigatingly awful movies of Nicolas Cage may well cause a re-evaluation of a guy whose recent filmography includes Ghost Rider and a remake of The Wicker Man.

I also spent a good chunk of the past year flipping through two pop-art books. The first was 75 Years of DC Comics, which is the ultimate resource not just for the changing cut of Superman’s tights but the changing dreams of our national collective unconscious. And the second was the book for the Warhol Headlines exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. As a longtime New York Post reader (I still remember the post-Andropov cover that blared “Head Red Dead”), it’s fascinating to see Warhol’s take on tabloid covers about Madonna (“Madonna on Nude Pix: So What!”), Mr. Geraldine Ferraro (“Zaccaro Indicted”) and more. Screw Frank Sinatra; it’s Andy’s world we’re all living in. Which is not a bad thing at all.

Robert Bluey, director of The Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and organizer of the weekly Bloggers Briefing

Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer. As an investigative reporter who covers Congress, I was fascinated by Peter Schweizer’s examination of how our elected representatives benefit financially from their powerful perches. You have to admire a man who put two years of research into the book, then scored big with a “60 Minutes” segment and congressional hearing.

December 1941 by Craig Shirley. I grew up fascinated by my grandfather’s stories of World War II and his B-29 missions over the Pacific. So this book naturally caught my eye. I’ve always admired Craig Shirley’s work on Reagan and his appreciation for history. This was a great gift for my father, who is reading a chapter per day in December.

Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg. I had no idea my Heritage Foundation colleague Hannah Sternberg was such a talented writer — that is, until I discovered this novel. I was even more impressed to learn this was her first book. This is a compelling story with remarkable detail. You won’t want to put it down until you finish.

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow. Is there a more incredible story in sports today than Tim Tebow? Even as a die-hard Steelers fan, I can’t help but root for this incredible athlete. But there’s a lot more to Tebow than just what he does on the field. This book offers a glimpse of his faith and family.

A couple for kids:

One Nation Under God: A Book for Little Patriots by Amelia Hamilton. Working at The Heritage Foundation, we’re always looking for creative ways to educate Americans about first principles. Amelia Hamilton does a great job of conveying that message to young people in this book about America.

The Berenstain Bears Follow God’s Word by Jan and Mike Berenstain. Our 2-year-old son loves the Berenstain Bears books. As a parent, I appreciate the lessons that Stan, Jan and Mike Berenstain teach. This was a great way to talk about God in a way that he could appreciate and understand.

Finally, a few of my favorites:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

Good Eats 1, 2, and 3 by Alton Brown

100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History by Various

Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe

Lisa De Pasquale is a writer based in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the former director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Follow her on Twitter at @LisaDeP.