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Arts & Culture

Your holiday gift guide for the bookworm in your life

The inside of Meet Cute is shown in this undated photo.
Courtesy of Robin Dayley
The inside of Meet Cute is shown in this undated photo.

The holiday season is here, and with it, the season of gift-giving. Now, what to get for that person in your life who seems to have read everything?

We spoke with a few local bookshops in San Diego County to find out what their favorite picks were. Their recommendations might be perfect for that one bookworm in your life — or maybe you!


Meet Cute Romance Bookshop

4048 30th St. in North Park. More info.

Meet Cute Romance Bookshop is a queer-owned feminist bookshop focusing on the romance genre and queer nonfiction. Named after the popular trope, Meet Cute is one of only a handful of romance-focused bookstores in the country. Owner Becca Title is a lifelong reader of the genre.

One of Title's favorite books this year was "Hotel of Secrets" by Diana Biller.

"(It's) set during a somewhat uncommon time period for historical romances," Title said. "It's set in the 1870s in Vienna and one of our characters runs a hotel that she's trying to get to bring back to its glory days and her love interest is an American spy."

Title's other picks:


"Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute" by Talia Hibbert

"Cleat Cute" by Meryl Wilsner

"Vampires of El Norte" by Isabel Cañas

"How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures" by Sabrina Imbler

"Something Wild and Wonderful" by Anita Kelly

Maxwell's House of Books

285 La Mesa Blvd in La Mesa. More info.

Maxwell's House of Books is a used bookstore that has been around for 20 years. Owner Craig Maxwell said his store carries everything from rare, out of print books to mass market paperbacks. Expect thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi and general fiction.

"In thinking about a recommendation, actually two books come to mind, which are pretty closely related," Maxwell said. "I think world events bring certain titles to mind, certain authors. And that's certainly the case with me when I think about all that's going on in the world today — both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley come to mind."

Maxwell's picks:

"1984" by George Orwell

"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

Downtown San Diego's Now or Never Comic Books is shown in an undated photo.
Courtesy of Now or Never Comic Books
Downtown San Diego's Now or Never Comic Books is shown in an undated photo.

Now or Never Comic Books

1055 F street in Downtown San Diego. More info.

Now or Never Comics just celebrated its fifth year anniversary. Owned by Aaron Trites, the comic book store is located downtown — right by the annual San Diego Comic-Con.

Trites said "Do a Powerbomb" by Daniel Warren Johnson is a popular comic among his staff right now. It's a wrestling comic, so not your usual superhero graphic novel.

"It is about a young girl who watches her mother, a professional wrestler, die in the middle of a wrestling ring," Trites said. "When she grows up and becomes a professional wrestler herself, she is approached by a demon who gives her the opportunity to wrestle in a tournament to win her mother's soul back and bring her back to life, but she has to team up with the opponent who was responsible for her mother's death."

Trites' other picks:

"The Human Target" by Tom King and Greg Smallwood

"The Nice House on the Lake" by James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez Bueno

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin" by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

3555 Rosecrans Street in San Diego. More info.

Owner Jenni Marchisotto said Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore has been in San Diego for 30 years and is a "genre-focused bookstore." That means they specialize in sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, horror, young adult — everything but regular fiction.

One of Marchisotto's book recommendations is "Sinner's Isle" by Angela Montoya.

"It is very unique in the way the world is crafted. I really enjoy the magic system that she sets up," Marchisotto said. "Essentially the female protagonist is trapped on an island where they have sent all of the witches and she's getting prepared to be auctioned off as a weapon with her magic. And a marooned pirate — they come across each other — and they together work to escape Sinner's Isle."

Marchisotto's other picks:

"Anzu the Great Kaiju" by Benson Shum

"The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich" by Deya Muniz

"The Hurricane Wars" by Thea Guanzon

"Silver Nitrate" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia