Do you have readers on your holiday shopping list this year? Are you at a loss for what to get them? I’ve pulled together some a holiday gift guide for different types of readers. Hopefully this will keep you from aimlessly wandering the aisles at the bookstore or resorting to the dreaded gift card.
Also, Nicole Bonia and I recorded a 2018 Gift Guide episode for our podcast, The Readerly Report, in which we discuss her recommendations as well as mine. I’ll post the episode here when it’s up.
2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR READERS
Books for your best friend, so that you can discuss together. (You’ll need to buy two of these: one for you and one for your friend)
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (reviewed here). A breathtaking, yet depressing, look at urban marriage and parenthood. I couldn’t get enough of this one – and I know my best friend couldn’t either. You will laugh and commiserate together. Bonus: it’s short.
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve (reviewed here). I read this one with Nicole, and thankfully I had her to share the tension and suspense with. I absolutely needed to talk about it with someone! Shreve is an expert storyteller and this book did not disappoint.
Books for your friend who needs to take her mind off of something
One Day In December by Josie Silver (reviewed here). It’s romantic and schmaltzy but damn if I couldn’t put this book down for the three days I was reading it. Will Laurie and Jack, who meet one December day when they lock eyes through a bus window, end up together? Ten years after they meet, you’ll get your answer.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (reviewed here). Another addictive read. Emma and Jesse are soul mates… until his plane goes down in Alaska and he’s never heard from again. Emma grieves and moves on… until Jesse reappears in her life a few years later, after she’s gotten engaged to someone else. Who will she choose?
Books for your friend who is always posting alarming stuff
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (reviewed here). Imagine a world in which abortion and IVF are illegal and adoption is only permitted by heterosexual couples. Zumas takes four women in different stages of life and explores what it is like to be female in such a world. Bleak indeed.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (reviewed here). This dystopian novel may not take on the things we’re worrying about today – climate change, racial violence, women’s rights – but it’s dark and stressful, and a post-apocalyptic world is a post-apocalyptic world, no matter how we got there. This is an imaginative and moving book.
Books for your friend who only reads literary fiction
Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (reviewed here): A moving look at the relationship between two sisters, one with mental illness, and how the thread connecting them is strained but never severed.
A Cloud In The Shape Of A Girl by Jean Thompson (review to come): My personal weakness: the story of three generations of women in the Midwest and their inner hopes, loves and disappointments. One of my favorite books of the year.
Books for the non-fiction reader
The Four by Scott Galloway: A look at how Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple became essential to our daily lives. (Warning: I haven’t read this yet but I really want to.)
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: This story of high stakes fraud and deception by the high-flying startup Theranos has to be the second-most highly reviewed book of 2018! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it and have bought it for two people already. (Again, I haven’t read this one.)
Audiobooks for Anglophiles
For some reason the majority of the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year were set in England with British narrators. Don’t be a knob – get these clever recordings for your friend who couldn’t turn off the last two royal weddings:
Books For Anyone
Becoming by Michelle Obama: OK, I haven’t read this one yet, but I plan to soon, and how could it be anything other than amazing? It is the fastest-selling book of 2018.