Reading Group Center

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Fiction Addict

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Fiction Addict

You already know that books make the best gifts, so of course you want to give a book to everyone you love this holiday season. But choosing the perfect read for each person can be a challenge. This year, we’ve created seven custom gift guides guaranteed to help you select a wonderful present for every reader on your list.

Read on to see suggestions for the Fiction Addict in your life, and check the bottom of the post for our full collection of gift guides.

Click here to view a downloadable PDF of all of our selections that you can print and bring to your favorite bookstore!

a little lifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“Deeply moving. . . . A wrenching portrait of the enduring grace of friendship.” —NPR

When four classmates move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes-cruel painter; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, yet their greatest challenge is Jude himself, an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood that will define his life forever.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Get the Recipe by the Book

underground railroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

“Get it, then get another copy for someone you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about it once you read that heart-stopping last page.” —Oprah Winfrey

The National Book Award–winning novel is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia living a horrific life as she comes into womanhood. The Underground Railroad imagines a true underground rail system that takes you through every twist and turn on Cora’s journey to seek freedom.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book

the nixThe Nix by Nathan Hill

“Nathan Hill is a maestro.” —John Irving

The New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Nix is a story about a mother and son and how we hurt the things we love the most.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book




nutshellNutshell by Ian McEwan

“With Nutshell, Ian McEwan has performed an incongruous magic trick. . . . A smart, funny and utterly captivating novel. . . . A small tour de force that showcases all of Mr. McEwan’s narrative gifts of precision, authority and control, plus a new, Tom Stoppard–like delight in the sly gymnastics that words can perform.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Ian McEwan’s latest, a New York Times bestseller, has been called “an elegiac masterpiece,” “a triumph,” and just plain “brilliant.” Read the novel that begins, “So here I am, upside down in a woman.”

Buy the book

china richChina Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

“Snarky. . . . Wicked. . . . Funny.” —The New York Times

It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding, and she should be over the moon, but she can’t help but mourn the fact that her birth father, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle. Suddenly, a chance accident reveals his identity, and Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor where people aren’t just crazy rich . . . they’re China rich.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | See the author’s favorite Instagram photos


unlikelyIn the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

“Judy Blume is back—and on her game! . . . You won’t want to turn the last page.” —People

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, within a three-month period in the early 1950s, Judy Blume was a teenager. Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events. Authentic and unforgettable, In the Unlikely Event has all the hallmarks of this renowned author’s deft narrative magic.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Watch clips from an interview with Judy Blume

city on fireCity on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

“Stunning. . . . A novel of head-snapping ambition and heart-stopping power.” —The New York TImes

New York City, 1976. A young woman is shot in Central Park on New Year’s Eve. The mystery of the shooting will open up the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city, and change the lives of the diverse cast of characters at the heart of the novel. City on Fire is an unforgettable story about love and betrayal and forgiveness, and about what makes the living worth doing in the first place.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Explore the City on Fire Interactive Map

guest roomThe Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

“One of Bohjalian’s most compelling books so far, combining an explosive premise, a timely social topic, and fast-paced storytelling with a purpose.” —Miami Herald

When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he does not expect bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom with a dark-haired girl, or two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before escaping into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals out of control. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Get to know the facts behind the story

god helpGod Help the Child by Toni Morrison

“Beautiful. . . . God Help the Child is superb, its story gliding along the tracks of Morrison’s utterly assured prose.” —USA Today

Bride, the daughter of light-skinned parents, was inexplicably born with stunning blue-black skin, causing her mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. Desperate to win her mother’s attention, Bride testifies in court against an innocent woman. Later, Bride attempts to find peace by making amends, but instead, her life begins to fall apart.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Learn from Toni Morrison


sweetbitterSweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

“Danler’s ravishing debut is like inhabiting the heady after-midnight hours of a city drunk on its own charms.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

A thrilling novel of the senses and a coming-of-age tale, following a small-town girl into the electrifying world of New York City and the education of a lifetime at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Manhattan.

Read an excerpt | Buy the book



our soulsOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

“Utterly charming. . . . Distilled to elemental purity. . . . Such a tender, carefully polished work that it seems like a blessing we had no right to expect.” —The Washington Post

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, Louis Waters and Addie Moore come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the future. They have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely. But maybe that could change?

Read an excerpt | Buy the book | Read a Q&A with Cathy Haruf


some luckThe Last Hundred Years Trilogy by Jane Smiley

“A monumental portrait of an American family and an American century. . . . Smiley’s plot is a marvel of intricacy that’s full of surprises.” —Los Angeles Times

The Last Hundred Years Trilogy, a sprawling epic following the quiet lives of the Langdon family, has been called Jane Smiley’s magnum opus. Starting with Some Luck, continuing with Early Warning, and ending with Golden Age, this trilogy follows the Langdons over the course of a century, as they endure all of the struggles, triumphs, and growing pains of an average family.

Read an excerpt from Some Luck Buy Some Luck Meet the Langdons

the mareThe Mare by Mary Gaitskill

“Extraordinary. . . . [A] magnificently hopeful novel.” —The New York Times Book Review

When Velveteen Vargas, an eleven-year-old Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn, comes to stay with a childless couple in upstate New York, she soon finds herself torn between her host family and her own deeply tormented mother. The one constant becomes Velvet’s newly discovered passion for horseback riding, particularly for an abused and unruly mare named Fugly Girl.

Read an excerpt Buy the book

improbabilityThe Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

“[A] bright, champagne-fizzy satire of modern romance, human avarice, and the booming international art market.” —Entertainment Weekly

The Improbability of Love is the must-read story of Annie McDee, a down-on-her-luck young woman who unwittingly becomes the owner of a painting with a very colorful history. Little does Annie know, her impulse purchase will launch her into a world of scheming art dealers and dark, long-buried secrets, altering the course of her life forever.

Read an excerpt Buy the book Check out some related documents


american housewifeAmerican Housewife by Helen Ellis

“Darkly comic stories about, and for, ‘grown-ass’ ladies.” —People

Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They make casserole. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop.

Read an excerpt Buy the book See the author’s top 5 trashy book club books

sunshineThe Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

“Endearing, amusing. . . . Sparkles with African sunshine and wit.” —The Dallas Morning News

Precious Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet—a vacation! As usual, things don’t quite go according to plan, and soon she gets caught up in the plight of a young troublemaker in need. All the while, Mma Ramotswe can’t help but worry about her agency, which she has left in the hands of her assistant, Mma Makutsi. Her concern only intensifies when she learns of the complicated new case being handled in her absence.

Read an excerpt Buy the book Learn life lessons with Precious Ramotswe

Browse all of our gift guides:
For the . . . Memoir Reader | Super Sleuth | Movie Maven | Science Fiction and Fantasy Fanatic | Nonfiction Enthusiast Staff Picks