Here’s a list of books worth giving or getting this Yuletide season with as little suggestion as to who would like them. All links go to my reviews.
For those who like a little comedy with their reading:
- Malavita by Tonino Benacquista. This novel about a Mafia family in hiding was made into the film The Family earlier this year. Good Fellas meets Analyse This.
- The Hive by Gill Hornby. Was life on the school yard always this hard? A social satire plotting helicopter moms against the more laid back.
- Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman. Think you’re family is crazy? Think again. Compared to the Weirds you are as normal as they come.
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Social satire about the rich and jet set in Asian. Crazy, indeed.
- Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple. Semple wrote for Arrested Development. Enough said.
- The Rosie Project. by Graeme Simsion. A romantic comedy in book form. It just makes you feel good.
Light and fun mysteries. No blood, no guts, no gore.
- Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackman. Her books have consistently made the NYT’s Notable Books list.
- Anything by Janet Evanovich (#19 and #20). If you’re not familiar with the series but enjoy a character driven, light mystery, this is who you go to.
- The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall. Hall’s mysteries are set in India and give a humorous window on the culture and food of the subcontinent. And Vish Puri always gets his man.
- Murder in Mount Moriah by Mindy Quigley. Bringing some Southern Comfort to the world of Civil War re-enactments. Meet Rev. Lindsay Harding as she solves crime in the South.
- The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker. Follow Bruno the food loving police chief as he solves yet another murder in the Dordogne region of France. Who knew gastronomy could be so dangerous?
Not to be missed books that appeal to just about everyone.
- Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois. Well paced, well written character driven page turner base on the Amanada Knox trial.
- The Dinner by Hermann Koch. Rarely have I been this floored by a novel. Do me a favor and just read it, please.
- The Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin. Like The Dinner, this was one of my favorite books of 2013.
For the non-fiction reader in your life.
- The Juggler’s Children by Carolyn Abraham. For those interested in genealogy and DNA. And for fans of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
- Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. What if you contracted a virus that made you crazy and no one believed you? For those interested in the brain, psychology and the American health care system.
- The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray. If seeing the Massey name excited you, then this book is worth a read. Also for those interested in the social history of Toronto.
For a hard hitting literary read.
- & Sons by David Gilbert. About New York literary life.
- The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. Post-modern and meta and hard to describe. But wonderful and deserving of a re-read.
- Want Not by Jonathan Miles. A novel that doubles as a a meditation on consumerism, consumption and the first-world problem of having too much stuff.