Rachel Brosnahan is the titular star of Amazon Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and her gift idea could inspire your gift shopping forever.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated November 27, 2018
Tom Merton/Getty Images

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a breakout hit last year, and with season two recently hitting Amazon Prime Video’s streaming service, the Prime Original series—created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the mind behind the beloved Gilmore Girls—is still making plenty of noise. Rachel Brosnahan plays the titular Mrs. Maisel and, as the heart of the show, is also getting her fair share of attention, to the benefit of all involved.

Real Simple spoke with Brosnahan—who has also appeared in House of Cards and The Blacklist, among other shows—at a recent holiday dinner the actress hosted in collaboration with the American Express Cash Magnet Card, and Brosnahan shared a gifting tip that works as a go-to trick for any gift-giving occasion, holidays, birthdays, and graduations included.

Brosnahan said, one year, someone gave her the top five New York Times best-sellers in fiction and nonfiction, all purchased from a local bookstore, and called it the best gift she’d ever received. Ten books make quite the reading list, and knowing they’re from a local retailer—rather than a large chain or online entity—brings an extra boost of cheer to the gift, making it something to treasure. A unique gift like this takes time and effort, and it shows; it also encourages the recipient to expand his or her reading range, something anyone and everyone can benefit from.

To put together a package that might just become someone’s best-ever gift, check The New York Times list of best sellers to figure out what popular books to seek out. Adjust the number and genre of books to suit the buyer’s budget and the recipient’s interest, space availability, and age. (Seek out a list of top children’s books for a younger family member, for example, or look up the top-reviewed romance novels of the year for your friend who can’t put down the Harlequin romances.)

Once the list of books is in hand, find a local bookstore where they can be bought. (IndieBound has an excellent indie bookstore finder that can help.) Making a special trip to purchase the books—and a bookmark or other memento from the locally owned store—makes the gift all the sweeter.