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Gift Local: The Best Is History

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Our Gift Local series provides a cavalcade of smart, creative gift ideas designed to make your holidays merry and artful. We're asking local tastemakers, arts leaders and curators of culture for their ideas for best bets.

Today's Gift Giver: Keira Amstutz has a reader's dream job -- she heads Indiana Humanities, an organization committed to getting Hoosiers to think, read, talk and connect. It's work that she embraces outside of her day job, supporting a variety of efforts from College Mentors for Kids' Inspire Awards to Indy Reads and even the NCAA Final Four's arts and cultural committee. And as Amstutz makes clear, she's interested in spreading a love of books around in her personal life too: "You're talking to a woman who runs a humanities org, so you're going to get books from me."

"You're talking to a woman who runs a humanities org," says Amstutz. "So you're going to get books from me." - COURTESY JAMES MADISON / KEIRA AMSTUTZ
  • Courtesy James Madison / Keira Amstutz
  • "You're talking to a woman who runs a humanities org," says Amstutz. "So you're going to get books from me."

Her Recommendation: Amstutz suggests that the omnibus history of Indiana, Hoosiers by James H. Madison, would be a great gift so close to the state's bicentennial. "It's a new history of Indiana that's perfect for anyone who cares about the past, present and future of Indiana. This is not a book that glosses over some of the more disturbing factors in Indiana history, but it talks a lot about the Hoosier character, which is something that I'm fascinated by."

Bonus option: "I can't help but also recommend Indy Writes Books too," she says. "It's a great way to read some wonderful authors -- my old classmate Cathy Day has a great essay, for example -- and support a worthy organization." Plus, pulling from her extra curricular love, food, she also suggests that Be Happy Peanut Butter and Burton's Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup make delightful hostess gifts. But the Sky Blue Window crew recommends picking up some just for your own stocking.

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