The wonderful thing about books as gifts is that there really is something for everyone: poets and hobos, train buffs and history buffs, Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists, people who believe in UFOs and people who believe in vampires (or wish they did), thrillers for readers who love having the bejeebers scared out of them and cozies for people who like to keep their mysteries lite.

There are picture books for people who can't yet read, and books on CD for people who like to do something else -- drive? jog? bake? -- while they read.

We've chosen 65 books in six categories that we recommend as gifts. New this year is our critics' choice corner, where 10 of the Star Tribune's most trusted critics each highlight one exceptional book. We also have recommendations from readers near and far.

We'll have more suggestions coming over the next few weeks, too.

Now isn't this better than a gift card?