Seriously though, helping someone find a good book for themselves is hard enough, but when I am helping you find for someone who is not in the room who you may or may not know the intricacies of their reading tastes....this can be difficult. But hey, I love a challenge.
When I do take up these holiday gift suggestion challenges, I always try to find some sure bet, back list stunners. Books that I have suggested to a wide readership with great success for years. I do this for a few reasons. One, they have stood the test of time. Two, they are titles that have stayed with me in surprising ways, and when you give a novel to someone as a gift, you want it to be memorable to them. And three, older book suggestions make the gift giver look like they tried. You didn't just go to the book store, or the front page of Amazon. No you sought out advice on the perfect book for that person-- which you actually did do if you asked me for help. You can tell someone you worked hard on their gift all you want, but if you show up with a copy of Girl on the Train or Between the World and Me, they won't believe you-- even if that is the perfect book for that person.
So because people have begun asking me for these gift suggestions, and because I cannot possibly help everyone who wants my help, I am going to share my favs with links to the reviews. And please note, those reviews also have readalikes which means that this list can lead you to hundreds more off the beaten path suggestions. Good luck.
- The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
- City of Thieves by David Benioff (Dude, he knows that "winter is coming" after writing that book; too bad he is too busy crafting Game of Thrones to write another novel)
- The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield
- Forever by Pete Hamill
- A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
- The Known World by Edward P. Jones
- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
- Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
- Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
- Peace Like A River by Leif Enger [read before the blog-- link to Goodreads. Still stays with me]
- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
- The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
If I have time [and remember] I will try to do a narrative nonfiction version of this post too. No promises though.