Books Make Great Gifts: For The Literature Lover

Books Make Great Gifts: For The Literature Lover

Attractive, smart, thoughtful, unique, and easy to wrap—books are definitely the perfect gifts. In honor of the holiday season, we’ve put together a series of thematic gift guides that will help you pick a great book for everyone on your list. We begin today with books for the literature fans in your life. From award-winners to movie tie-ins to reading group favorites, you’ll find something here to satisfy the most discerning readers.

And still to come, books for The Mystery Maven, The History Buff, The Nonfiction Aficionado, The Humorist, and The Nonconformist. For more suggestions in the meantime, check out Random House’s holiday gift guides.

A Visit From The Goon SquadA Visit From The Goon Squad
By Jennifer Egan
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption. National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist. Named Best Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review (and many more!).
Read an Excerpt | An Exclusive Essay From Jennifer Egan | Buy the Book

The Invisible BridgeThe Invisible Bridge
By Julie Orringer
Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his—and his family’s—history. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in labor camps, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour.
Read an Excerpt | Armchair Adventurer | Buy the Book

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
By Aimee Bender
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she’s privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father’s detachment, her mother’s transgression, her brother’s increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can’t discern.
Read an Excerpt | Recipe by the Book | Buy the Book

One DayOne Day
By David Nicholls
It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
Read an Excerpt | Enhanced Reading Group Guide | Buy the Book

Lord of MisruleLord of Misrule
By Jaimy Gordon
Tommy Hansel has a plan: run four horses, all better than they look on paper, at long odds at Indian Mound Downs, then grab the purse–or cash a bet–and run before anyone’s the wiser. At his side is Maggie Koderer, who finds herself powerfully drawn to the gorgeous, used up animals of the cheap track. She also lands in the cross-hairs of leading trainer Joe Dale Bigg. But as news of Tommy’s plan spreads, from veteran groom Medicine Ed, to loan shark Two-Tie, to Kidstuff the blacksmith, it’s Maggie, not Tommy or the handlers of legendary stakes horse Lord of Misrule, who will find what’s valuable in a world where everything has a price. National Book Award Winner.
Read an Excerpt | Exclusive Essay by Jaimy Gordon | Buy the Book

By Karen Russell
Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality. A New York Times Best Book of the Year.
Read an Excerpt | Recipe by the Book | Buy the Book

To the End of the LandTo the End of the Land
By David Grossman
Just before his release from service in the Israeli army, Ora’s son Ofer is sent back to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, so that no bad news can reach her, Ora sets out on an epic hike in the Galilee. She is joined by an unlikely companion—Avram, a former friend and lover with a troubled past—and as they sleep out in the hills, Ora begins to conjure her son. Ofer’s story, as told by Ora, becomes a surprising balm both for her and for Avram—and a mother’s powerful meditation on war and family. A New York Times Notable Book. Finalist – National Book Critics Circle Award For Fiction.
Read an Excerpt | Buy the Book

By Amy Greene
Myra Lamb is a wild girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain. Her grandmother, Byrdie, protects her fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike. But when John Odom tries to tame Myra, it sparks a shocking disaster, ripping lives apart. Bloodroot is the dark and riveting story of the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations.
Read an Excerpt | Recipe by the Book | Buy the Book

All Our Worldly GoodsAll Our Worldly Goods
By Irène Némirovsky
In haunting ways, this gorgeous novel prefigures Irène Némirovsky’s masterpiece Suite Française. Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death, All Our Worldly Goods is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations. This brilliant novel is full of drama, heartbreak, and the telling observations that have made Némirovsky’s work so beloved and admired.
Read an Excerpt | Armchair Adventurer | Buy the Book

The Widower's TaleThe Widower’s Tale
By Julia Glass
Seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. But his routines are disrupted when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. With equal parts affection and humor, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about a man who can no longer remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or—to his great shock—the precarious joy of falling in love.
Read an Excerpt | the Recipe by the Book | Buy the Book

More books for The Literature Lover: Solar, by Ian McEwan; The Charming Quirks of Others, by Alexander McCall Smith; Heart and Soul, by Maeve Binchy; Private Life, by Jane Smiley; Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey.