There’s something so special about giving the right book as a gift. You’re providing hours of entertainment, a beautiful keepsake object, and, sometimes, entry into an entirely new world. A gift card can’t do that. 2017 was a great year for books, meaning there are tons of new releases to choose from when selecting the perfect present for your favorite reader. Here, we’ve rounded up some great picks from every genre. To put the finishing touch on your wrapping job, check out our holiday gift tags.
For the Short Story Buff
Ottessa Moshfegh may have first garnered recognition for her novel, Eileen, but her short fiction is just as incredible. These stories take on relationships in flux, and readers will immediately identify with the expertly rendered characters. In a starred review, Kirkus called this volume: “A smartly turned and admirably consistent collection about love and its many discontents.” If someone in your life loves short stories, don’t be a Scrooge! Gift them this book.
For the Hardcore Literary Fiction Fan
George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo was unquestionably one of the year’s buzziest novels. In it, a grieving President Abraham Lincoln mourns the loss of his son, Willie, who has died. The story may be based on actual historical events, but Saunders takes this inspiration and turns it into a book that isn’t quite like any other. Saunders experiments with form in ways that will delight his fans, and the end result is deeply emotionally affecting.
For the Budding FBI Agent
David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon will transport readers to Oklahoma in the 1920s. But it won’t be a happy trip: There, readers will learn about the murders of many of the members of the Osage Indian Nation, who were extremely wealthy because of their oil-rich land. This string of murders would be investigated by the newly formed FBI, and its agents would go undercover to stop the killer. If you’re looking for riveting true crime, look no further.
For the Essay Addict
We Were Eight Years in Power is sure to be remembered as one of the most important books of 2017, and we bet it will make a great gift for anyone who loves the essay form, and anyone interested in a thoughtful take on race and politics in America. In it, Ta-Nehisi Coates (author of Between the World and Me) writes on subjects including Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby. This book is illuminating and thought-provoking, and will make the perfect present.
For the Empire Fan
Author Attica Locke has many talents: She’s worked on the hit television show Empire, and she’s also a critically acclaimed novelist. In Bluebird, Bluebird, Locke takes readers to East Texas where Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is dealing with a double murder case in the town of Lark. The murders have roiled the small town, and the investigation is tense and racially charged. This is a unique noir that explores deeper questions about race.
For the Reader Who Loves Sleepless Nights
Do you have a friend who sleeps too much? Isn’t stressed out enough? Glass Houses by Louise Penny is sure to fix that. In the town of Three Pines, a terrifying scene unfolds: There is someone, or something, shrouded in robes just standing in the center of town. Then, the first body is found. This is the 13th installment in the beloved Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series from Penny, and it is sure to elevate readers’ blood pressure into the new year.
For the Reader Impatiently Waiting for the Next Season of Game of Thrones
N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo-award winning series came to an epic conclusion this summer. NPR called The Stone Sky “A transformative cap to a series that hasn’t so much raised the bar on epic fantasy as it has fundamentally changed the genre.” The first book, The Fifth Season, kicks off with a mother searching for her kidnapped daughter and trying to survive a disaster that threatens to destroy all life on the planet. We’d highly recommend putting all three books into the hands of your favorite SFF reader.
For the Stargazer
Over 300 years ago, the Earth began to die and humans took to the skies. Aster Grey lives aboard the HSS Matilda, a ship controlled by a white-supremacist cult called the Sovereignty. Aster was born into slavery, but a shocking discovery makes her believe that she may be able to break free. Rivers Solomon’s debut makes for a stellar gift for readers looking for an intensely thoughtful meditation on race, class, and humanity’s future.
For the Historical Fiction Addict
Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series kicks off with the meeting of a Union Army spy and an undercover soldier. Elle Burns is posing as a slave in a Confederate home to relay information about the South’s plans to the Union Army. It’s there that she meets Malcolm McCall, a Scottish immigrant posing as a Confederate soldier. In the midst of war and ever-present danger, the two begin to trust each other and work together. The second book is on shelves now, and packaging both together is sure to make the reader receiving them ecstatic.
For the Reader who Believes in True Love
Sometimes life gives you a second chance to make things right. In the first installment in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series, Nicholas and Livvy are given the opportunity to reconnect after their families drove them apart. After their relationship ended, Livvy hit the road. But when she returns home to care for her mother, Livvy finds that she can’t stay away from Nicholas. Give your favorite romance reader the first two books in the series and then claim your victory as the best gift giver of 2017.
For the Reader who Loves a Good Road Trip
Henry “Monty” Montague never met a drink he didn’t like or an adventure he didn’t want to go on. That is until he knicks a trinket that sends assassins after him, his best friend/crush Percy, and his sister Felicity. Suddenly Monty’s farewell tour of Europe (before he bids his boyish freedom goodbye and succumbs to a life of boring lordship) turns into a life-threatening trip that this trio will never forget. Mackenzi Lee’s historical novel was a must-read book of the summer and now it is a must-gift of the season.
For the Amazon-in-Training
Just when you thought you couldn’t love Wonder Woman any more, Leigh Bardugo delivers an origin story that shines brighter than the Lasso of Truth. In this exhilarating tale, Diana ventures to the mortal world to stop a prophecy that predicts a war will decimate humankind. Bardugo’s novel explores the importance of female friendship, the various forms of strength, and the growth of a true hero. This is the perfect gift for readers who long to be adopted by Hippolyta and whisked away to Themyscira.
For the Young Trailblazer
Readers of all ages and genders will find themselves inspired by this incredible collection. Written in the style of fairy tales, these profiles explore the lives of women around the globe, ranging from historical figures like Elizabeth I to modern athletes like Serena Williams. Sixty female artists from across the world contributed full color portraits to pair with the profiles, making this book visually stunning as well as a first-rate education into the lives of women who tackled stereotypes and changed the world. A second volume hit shelves in November, and for a truly special treat, we’d recommend gifting the box set.
For the New Parents
Help new parents welcome their child into the world with this stunning picture book by Oliver Jeffers. In the dedication, Jeffers shares that he began writing this book during the first two months of his son’s life, striving to answer all of the questions a newborn might have. Here We Are is an introduction to the universe and our planet, gently guiding readers through this vast world and all of the wonders that it holds.
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