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.
“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aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes-cruel painter; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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?
“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.
“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.
“[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.
“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.
“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.