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Gifts for readers

Not long ago, you needed only make two decisions to please the avid reader on your holiday list: Which book? Hardcover or paperback?

Not anymore. With prices dropping on e-readers - Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook now start at $139 and $149 - you might decide to give your favorite book lover a whole new reading format. For $500 and up, the iPad (right) offers color. Barnes & Noble's Nookcolor, at $249, serves up color and read-aloud capability.

But whether you want e-books, traditional books, movies or music, you're sure to find something in our gift guide for everyone on your list.

'Christmas Mourning'

The special joys of a Carolina Christmas are a cheery backdrop as Margaret Maron's newest mystery explores the sad epidemic of roadside shrines to teens killed in accidents. By Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing, 304 pages, $25.99)

Salem Macknee

'Freedom'

The year's most-talked-about novel gives us the tale of a contemporary family that The New York Times praises as "a masterpiece of American fiction." By Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 576 pages, $28)

Zip-It

Race to finish your crossword grid in this two-player game that's perfect for word people. From the folks who brought you Bananagrams. ($14.95, ages 7 and up)

'Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race'

"Daily Show" writers, including Jon Stewart, have cooked up this compendium of answers to questions that have puzzled since the dawn of time. (Grand Central, 256 pages, $27.99)

'Dogs'

This stunning collection of photos features an array that ranges from pedigreed pups to mixed breeds. Dog lovers will be delighted. By Tim Flach (Abrams, 216 pages, $50)

'Make Art Mistakes: A Creativity Sketchbook'

New York's Museum of Modern Art has assembled this open-ended sketchbook to make you look at your world and take chances expressing what you see. (Chronicle, 128 pages, $16.99) Susie Wilde

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