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7 Books to Put on Your Holiday Shopping List

We narrow it down so you'll find something for everyone.

By Ryan Pait November 26, 2018

With Thanksgiving behind us, the gift-giving holidays are just around the corner. We’ve curated a list of the perfect presents for the literature lovers on your shopping list.

Something Naughty: Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Perfect for: your empty-nester friend

Mrs. Fletcher features internet porn, MILFs and sexts, but it’s also… sweet? Perrotta’s most recent novel brilliantly taps into the humdrum rhythms of everyday life as Eve Fletcher and her son Brendan try to reinvent themselves while navigating the empty nest and the college campus.

Read our interview with Perrotta here.

Something Nice: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Perfect for: your bibliophile friend

Smith’s 1943 classic sounds like nothing special—it’s about a young girl named Francie Nolan who loves to read. No blurb can do A Tree Grows in Brooklyn justice, though, because Betty Smith did not have to go this hard for us. This is quite possibly the nicest book in the world, but it’s also beautifully bleak when it needs to be. It’s the ideal choice for any type of reader.

Something thrilling: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Perfect for: your true crime enthusiast friend 

McNamara’s investigation of California’s notorious Golden State Killer feels destined to join the pantheon of true crime classics such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Robert Graysmith’s Zodiac. McNamara’s dedication and eye for detail add a compelling angle to her discoveries, and it’s compulsively readable.

Something smart: Educated by Tara Westover

Perfect for: your friend who loves NPR

Westover’s bestselling memoir is one of those stories that has to be read to be believed: Her unconventional upbringing seems like something out of a movie. Both frustrating and inspiring, Westover’s learning journey is just as compelling as everyone says it is.

Something juicy: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Perfect for: your friend who loves old Hollywood

Reid’s novel tells the tale of movie star Evelyn Hugo, who invites a journalist to her home so she can give a tell-all interview about her life. Fizzy on the surface but with a terrific mystery underneath, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is proof that a book this fun can be full of depth, too. 

Something classic: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Perfect for: your friend who loves Moonlight

Baldwin’s riveting novel hums with energy and passion, as a young woman named Tish races against time to save her beloved Fonny. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ film adaptation of the book comes out in December, and his lush directorial vision seems like the perfect match for Baldwin’s burning prose. 

Something local: Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss by Stephanie Wittels Wachs

Perfect for: your comedy nerd friend 

Houston native Wachs offers a personal angle into a huge loss for modern comedy: the death of her brother, comedian and Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels, in 2015. As she reckons with her life before and after Wittels’ death, Wachs provides a tender tribute to her brother and the impact he had on her—and everyone else.

Read Houstonia’s piece on Wachs here.

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