Recommended Reading: 5 Books for Excellent Last-Minute Gifts

Tis the season for end-of-year best-of lists, and while I’m quite happy to endorse many of the critic’s favorites this year, it may be that you don’t know your last-minute giftees quite well enough to give them A Little Life or Fates and Furies or The Wake (excellent, but . . .).

Herewith, in no particular order, five  2015 releases sure to please:


Patricia Park, Re Jane: A modern take on perennial favorite Jane Eyre, this smart, funny novel is a must-read for any fans of Charlotte Brontë and modern retellings on your list.

Kathleen Jamie, The Overhaul: For the poetry fan who hasn’t read this Scottish poet and who craves a well-turned image and a gorgeous landscape. (Check out “The Whales,” part of which I have tattooed.)

Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno: For anyone who loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, aficionados of the short story, or anyone who wants to be transported to a different time and place. (Bonus pick for fiction aficionados: Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal)

Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk: For anyone who hasn’t read this year’s must-read memoir yet, a gripping blend of writing about grief, literature, and goshawks. (Bonus memoir recommendation: Hold Still, by Sally Mann)

Sarai Walker, Dietland: For feminists, proto-feminists, and anyone who is utterly exhausted by the fat-shaming and the dreaded “have you lost weight?” questions (twins, aren’t they?) that always seem worse around the holidays.

And you, Dear Readers? What are your last-minute book recommendations?




11 thoughts on “Recommended Reading: 5 Books for Excellent Last-Minute Gifts

  1. The Martian. OK, that was last year, but still a great pick if you’re looking for fiction for someone who generally prefers non-fiction.

  2. Loved your book selection. I have listed my top 5 on my blog as well. My favorite two would probably be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Feel free to visit my blog as well: I’m new to the blog world. I’d love to hear any advice you have. I have enjoyed reading your posts throughout my short time on here.

    • Thanks so much! I’ve never read either of those, but I’ll keep an eye out for them. I stopped by your blog and I’m very interested to hear more of your thoughts on books with respect to your experience as an educator.

  3. Great list, Carolyn. I have not heard of Re Jane but would love to read it! I think I am a year behind in my reading…I actually just finished Everything I Never Told You last night, which I know was one of the “it” books of 2014. Am looking forward to making up lost time in 2016!

  4. Good choices, Carolyn! The book I have been trying to spread the news about this year, and would be great for just about anyone who likes to read, is ‘Do You Think This Is Strange?’ by Aaron Cully Drake. Thanks for giving me another chance to let people know! 🙂

What's on your mind? Leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s