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Elf's Shelf: Giving a Good Book

WILMINGTON -- A good book lasts a lifetime. "It's something you can keep forever and a good book you can go back to time and time again," said Arwen Parris, an employee at the Barnes & Noble in Mayfaire Towne Center. Parris says there are nearly one million titles to choose from in her store alone. So finding the right one this holiday season may require a little research. "There's truly a book for everyone," said Parris. "You just need to go online, see what your options are, see what's new, and then come in to the store and take a look at the books." One of this year's most popular genres are biographies. With so many to choose from, there's one for just about everyone. Parris recommends the autobiographies of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, musician Eric Clapton and comedian Steve Martin. Then there are coffee table titles, regional favorites, and, of course, the classics. "Harry Potter box set!" Parris said excitedly. "Definitely! I've held off on buying all the hard covers and I'm asking for the box set this year." Outside the box, hard covers tend to be a bit more expensive. But for special selections, Parris says they are the way to go. "If it's something that your child loves that you have a special memory tied into sharing that book with them, get the hard cover," she said. "It will last you longer and your memory will last longer." "It's my favorite time of year to be a bookseller because you get to help people find gifts for people they really care about," Parris added. "When they find the right book you know it. You know when you've handed them the right book, it's the perfect fit and they become excited and we become excited." Parris said one book that could satisfy pretty much anyone is Rhett Butler's People, a sequel to the classic Gone with the Wind. Then of course there are the timeless Christmas classics. They're read again and again every year.Some for more than a century. Parris says the top three are Chris Van Allsburg's Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas and of course, A Christmas Carol by Sir Charles Dickens (the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and how he's touched by the Christmas spirit. Parris says sharing these stories during the holidays is a timeless tradition. "Our grandparents, you know some of them did not have TVs and so they shared the spirit of the holidays through books, sharing stories with their families -- and so that's why we continue to go back to these classics time and time again," said Parris. Parris also says she can count on these books being bestsellers every year around Christmastime.

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