Holiday Books 2019

As is my tradition in the last few years, I wanted to share some of the books I’ll be wrapping up and putting under the tree this year.  I firmly believe that books are the best gift and often give many.  Some of the books I give are seasonal and change, but some are eternal.  Previous holiday book suggestions posts are here: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014. 2013, 2012.

If you are a book-giver, I’d love to hear what’s on your list this year!


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World – this short book, which is an adaptation of Admiral William McRaven’s commencement speech, was Whit’s pick for this list.  He read it and loved it (and we all did too).  Great for young men in your life and adults as well.

The Book of Qualities – Ruth Gendler’s unusual, beautiful book has been one of my favorites for a long, long time (two of our wedding readings were from it).  I love to give it as a gift.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me – I reviewed Adrienne Brodeur’s gorgeous memoir here and have already given it to multiple people in my life.  Anyone interested in cooking, anyone interested in family dynamics, anyone who loves to Cape, or anyone who loves good writing: all of these folks will love this memoir.

Life’s Accessories: A Memoir (and Fashion Guide) – I was delighted to blurb Rachel Levy Lesser’s wonderful book, which is a delightful series of essays about accessories in her closet and the memories of her life that go along with them.  I laughed, I cried, I read sections aloud to my husband because I related so much.


Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi’s powerful novel was Grace’s choice for this post.  It was her school’s required reading over the summer and she and I both read it and loved it.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne’s novel, which I read at the end of 2018, remains one of my favorites of the last many years.  I’m recommending it left and right, still, and plan to give it to any of my novel-loving friends who haven’t read it.

The Great Believers – Ditto everything I said above regarding Rebecca Makkai’s glorious book.

Children and Other:

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems – Randall Monroe – I love Randall Monroe (his Thing Explainer is one of the books I’ve given most of all) and I’m excited he has a new book out.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez – I’m delighted to see another book in Andrea Beaty’s wonderful series, which I’ve given a lot (Rosie Revere, Engineer, being the original).  Can’t wait to read and gift this.

Love Poems for Married People – John Kenney’s book of poems is hilarious.  It was sold out this spring when I wanted to give it to long-married friends with a sense of humor, and I’m thrilled it’s back in stock.  So.  Good.  I plan to read his follow up, Love Poems for People with Children, as well).

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