We’re very, very, very lucky to work in an office filled with readers. It means that our TBR pile is always well-stocked with quality reads. So this holiday season, we asked our colleague which books they’ll be giving this year—they are the experts after all! Below is a list of their picks that are sure to delight even the hardest-to-shop-for friend.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Recommended by Austin O., Digital Publishing
This book is achingly beautiful and bizarre and the perfect book with which to take a breather from your family and feel good about returning to your own little clan of freaks.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Recommended by Laura C., Marketing
Anne Lamott’s indispensable guide to writing and life turned twenty-five this year, so I’ll be handing out the beautiful anniversary edition to everyone on my gift list. It is a genuinely delightful read regardless of whether you’re a writer or just a fan of the written word.
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
Recommended by Jackie L., Design
If you’re like me and prefer Halloween over the winter holidays, you’ll want to read Hamill’s debut novel. Weaving both the horror of mysterious fantastical creatures and a sprawling family drama A Cosmology of Monsters is the kind of book you’ll want to read at least twice.
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019: The Best Short Stories of the Year edited by Laura Furman
Recommended by Diana T., Editorial
This annual collection is always a treasure box for fiction lovers, bringing twenty fantastic and wildly different stories together in one volume. And this year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the fabled prize, it comes in an elegant gold-and-cream cover that is so gorgeous you won’t even need to wrap it.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Recommended by Laura C., Sales Marketing
I’ll be giving this fresh and gorgeously repackaged edition of Little Women from our Vintage Classics program. With the movie opening 12/25, it’s the perfect time to go see the movie with friends, read the book, and discuss together!
The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg
Recommended by Tom P., Editorial
All of Rick Bragg’s books are delightful, but his most recent, ahem, takes the cake. Part family history, part cultural excavation, part tribute to his beloved mother, and part cookbook, it’s my go-to pick for word and food lovers alike.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Recommended by Jess D., Marketing
Pat Barker’s latest novel is a stunning retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the captured women of the Trojan War. It brings a refreshing twist to a well-known tale, and I think it’s the perfect gift for the women in my life. And just look at that cover!
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
Recommended by Maria G., Editorial
The winter holidays are the perfect time to step out of the doldrums of routine and escape into the magic of a different life and a different existence. Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Polydoris will sweep you away on a wild and fantastical odyssey, seduce you, and leave you aching for more. I won’t give anything away, but this exhilarating, sexy, and genre-defying book will have you hooked at its first page, and as soon you’ve closed the cover, you’ll want to shove it into the hands of all of your friends—as I plan to do this holiday season.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Recommended by Paige S., Digital Marketing
I recently reread Beloved with my book club and was reminded of how amazing it is—from the powerful story to the beautiful writing. As a tribute to Toni Morrison, there will definitely be a copy in everyone’s stocking this year!
Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall
Recommended by Caitlin L., Editorial
Chris McDougall’s inspiring, feel-good tail about nursing a rescue donkey back to health is perfect for literally everyone on your holiday list. It’s a great gift for runners, animal lovers, and fans of voice-driven narrative nonfiction.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Recommended by Lindsay M., Marketing
I’m planning to give my sisters (biological and honorary) Oyinkan Braithwaite’s darkly hilarious debut, My Sister, the Serial Killer. It’s a sharp, witty exploration of the power of sisterhood and a reminder that I’m not that bad of a sister because, hey, at least I don’t have a habit of killing my boyfriends.
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Recommended by Irena V., Advertising & Promotion
Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant is a page-turning murder mystery that will have you holding your breath until the surprise ending. While it’s a thriller full of nail-biting suspense, it’s also a story of a vulnerable, self-destructive woman with whom you can’t help but sympathize as she struggles to find the killer and refuses to sit back and be the next victim.