Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Make Great Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week we're talking about holiday reads. I am not generally concerned with books set at particular times of year, nor do I remember many holiday scenes beyond the ones in Harry Potter, so my take on this week is going to be a little different. I'm talking about ten books that make great holiday gifts! These tend to be my most-recommended books because they're widely appealing.

In Cold Blood: The true-crime classic is a masterwork of storytelling, truly representing the best of what narrative non-fiction can be.

The Handmaid's Tale: Margaret Atwood is an incredible writer, and this book has had growing visibility in the current political climate and with the Hulu series. Surprisingly many people haven't read it, though, and it's very much worth reading.

Station Eleven: I actually just recommended this to my book club! It's a post-apocalyptic story for people who don't like post-apocalyptic stories, telling a tale of a world both before and 20 years after a pandemic flu, that both builds great characters and asks interesting questions about what we as people need to survive.

The Secret History: This has something for everyone! A twisty, engaging plot, vivid and interesting characters, fantastic prose. And Donna Tartt was only 28 when it was published which is mind-boggling.

Remains of the Day: Truly one of the most well-crafted novels I have ever read, this story of an English butler who is convinced that he's rendered service to a great man reflecting on his life is just astonishingly good (and will break your heart).

Less: The rare light-hearted novel to win a Pulitzer, this book about an aging minor writer who takes a trip around the world to deal with the fact that his sort-of boyfriend is marrying someone else is so charming and warm that it tricks you into not noticing how flawlessly it's put together.

Stardust: For someone at all open to fantasy, this tale about a young man who swears to catch a fallen star for his love interest, only to find out that the star is not at all interested in being taken anywhere, is much more accessible (and honestly, enjoyable) than Neil Gaiman's more well-known American Gods.

The Namesake: The son of Indian immigrants to the US is named Gogol, after the Russian writer, and his name is just one the sources of tension as he grows up and struggles to figure himself out. The character work is top-notch, and Lahiri's writing is just so strong.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: It's a coming-of-age story, but that doesn't mean it can't be appreciated by adults too! Francie Nolan's childhood in Brooklyn, growing up as the bookish daughter of a charming but unreliable alcoholic father and relentlessly pragmatic mother, is heart-warming at any age.

The Age of Innocence: I think the classics freak a lot of people out, but they're often much better and less intimidating than people think. Case in point: this is set among rich people in New York City's Gilded Age, but at its heart, it's a dramatic (but repressed) love triangle. Edith Wharton was writing about her own social set, and it shows in her sharp wit and insight.


  1. The Handmaid's Tale is a great gift! Bravo.

    My TTT.

  2. Nice recommendations! I've read most of them. Less is on my TBR. Enjoy the holidays.

    1. I hope you enjoy Less as much as I did!

  3. Great gift ideas! I do want to read the Tartt book.

  4. Yes, yes, yes to all of these! Such great gift. Also, I'm forever in awe over The Secret History in general but ESPECIALLY knowing that Donna Tartt was so young when she wrote it/it was published! Definitely cool.