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Read local: Books written by Philly-area writers make great gifts

MOST PEOPLE experience two major issues during the holiday season - they don't know what gifts to buy and they don't know how to pay for them - so why not make a purchase that solves both problems.

MOST PEOPLE experience two major issues during the holiday season - they don't know what gifts to buy and they don't know how to pay for them - so why not make a purchase that solves both problems.

CNN financial whizzes Ali Velshi and Christine Romans have a new book out - How to Speak Money - and its goal is to remove the intimidation factor from important personal-finance discussions and provide folks who barely know the difference between an interest rate and Bonnie Raitt with the vocabulary and reference points to get their checkbook and retirement accounts in order.

Velshi said the book came about at the party for Romans' last book, Smart is the New Rich. He had just written a book about the financial crisis, Gimme My Money Back, and Romans' publisher suggested they write something together, since they're both experts but rarely agree on anything.

Romans, who's more risk-averse, according to Velshi, worries about her retirement when the markets drop. He looks for bargains.

Velshi said the book takes into account both views and covers "the differences between men and women, budgeting, education, housing, and at the end of the book there are three chapters on investing."

"It's not a Ph.D.," Velshi said; "it's a 101."

Once you learn How to Speak Money, you'll understand the importance of the crisis in the Eurozone, among other things, and where to put your cash to best weather these difficult economic times. Velshi recommends stocks in basic consumer goods, utilities and exporters to China, for example.

"You don't want to run with the herd," he said.

Most importantly, you'll learn why you should be most concerned about your money.

"People will go see someone if their car breaks down or if their tooth hurts," he said, "but they'll ignore their finances. Their finances are substantially more important than their car or their tooth."

As Velshi lives in Bryn Mawr, How to Speak Money highlights the Daily News' first holiday-buying guide to local authors. Buying books by local authors helps the local tax base. Buying books at local bookstores helps keep them from turning into vacant retail white elephants.

Books by local authors

What the Hell Am I Drinking? by Joe Sixpack. Philadelphia's favorite beer writer guides you to your next favorite brew.

Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. This is not a Scottoline murder mystery, although the mother-daughter authors occasionally want to kill each other.

You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music by Jerry Blavat. The Geator with the Heater takes you on an autobiographical trip down his musical memory lane.

Daddy's Little Goalie: A Father, His Daughters, and Sports by Robert Strauss. The South Jersey writer on bonding with his daughters over athletics.

Death By Deadline: Can Out of Control Local News Kill People? by Larry Kane. The veteran news anchor turns his media expertise to mystery writing.

Soul In Ink: The Memoirs of a Journalist by Damon C. Williams. The former Daily News reporter and hip-hop columnist writes about his time here. It ain't all pretty.

Then Came You: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner. The former Inquirer reporter and best-selling author's latest novel looks into the lives of three very different women.

Be Invincible!: A Playbook for Reaching Your Full Potential by Vince Papale, Janet Cantwell-Papale and Tim Vandehey. The legendary Eagle and his wife pen a guide to being your best.

The Pirate Handbook: A Rogue's Guide to Pillage, Plunder, Chaos & Conquest by Pat Croce. The motivational guru and former 76ers president mines the treasure of his favorite swashbucklers.

Rustic Italian Food by Marc Vetri, David Joachim and Mario Batali. Local chef Vetri puts his own spin on cooking Italian.

Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance by Brenda Dixon.

This story of the founder of Philadanco won't be out until January, but you can pre-order.

Heft, by Liz Moore. In her second novel, the Holy Family University assistant professor delves into the relationship between a housebound, 500-pound man and his former student, as told from the perspective of the student's teenage son.

Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable - And Couldn't by Steve Volk. Philadelphia magazine senior writer turns his investigative reporting skills on a family ghost story and other paranormal phenomena.

* South Philly jazz guitarist Pat Martino chronicles his inspiring, tuneful life's journey in Here and Now! co-written with Bill Milkowski, who some years back bio'd another extraordinary area musician, the late bassist Jaco Pastorius, in Jaco.