Ask the Dust by John Fante
Alright. This isn't exactly crafty. But, without fail, every time I read it is makes me want to put pen to paper. Fante's depiction of the passion and pride of a young writer struggling to make it in Los Angeles is heartbreaking and funny and powerful and absolutely beautifully composed (and my favorite novel ever). Paperbacks are always great gifts, and I will cosign this one as a surefire hit. And if you find a copy by Black Sparrow Press at a used bookstore ever, snatch it up.