• The cover of the book The Music Shop

    The Music Shop

    The ’80s are ending, and Frank’s storefront—on a down-at-the-heels street in the English suburbs—is a lone bright light for a scattered community of music lovers in need of vinyl therapy. It’s also all he has, until a winsome customer with a long green coat and a foreign accent stumbles into his life. A sweetly nostalgic romantic comedy in the tradition of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, The Music Shop is proof positive that the right harmony at the right time really can transform the world. —Lauren Oster

     
  • The cover of the book The Adults

    The Adults

    Sometimes the best way to power through the holidays is to remember that someone, somewhere is ending the year on a much weirder note than you are—and The Adults has a whole symphony of ’em. Exes Claire and Matt are trying to be grownups for their daughter, Scarlett, and they’re blending new partners, Scarlett’s imaginary friend, and Forced Fun Activities on a collective trip to the Happy Forest holiday park. What could go wrong? (Hint: this laugh-past-where-it-hurts odyssey begins and ends with a call to the police.) —Lauren Oster

     
  • The cover of the book There There

    There There

    The Oakland that Tommy Orange’s Native American characters inhabit has undergone growing pains to the point where there’s no there there, as Gertrude Stein once said. “We are memories we don’t remember,” Orange writes. “We know the sound of the freeway better than we do the rivers.” The cacophony he creates—voiced by 12 men and women made distinct by their feelings of facelessness—is gut-wrenching music, an old melody set to new words no one wants to say. It’s also utterly unforgettable. —Lauren Oster

     
  • The cover of the book My Sister, the Serial Killer

    My Sister, the Serial Killer

    Younger sibs are the worst: one minute they’re hogging your parents’ attention, and the next they’re begging you to hurry over and clean up after their latest murder. My Sister, the Serial Killer isn’t a figurative title: Korede and Ayoola share DNA, a family home in Lagos, Nigeria, and the gruesome knowledge that Ayoola’s love affairs don’t end with wedding bells. Judge this weird, wonderful debut novel by its cover—but don’t make the mistake of letting your guard down with its characters, or taking their motivations for granted. —Lauren Oster

     
  • The cover of the book Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    Even if they’ve seen the movie (and let’s be honest, they probably have), Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel is meant to be consumed in its original form (again, and again, and again…) Invite them to the revisit this monster hit and zeitgeist-defining event. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book Fox 8

    Fox 8

    A short story from the bestselling novelist and screenwriter, Fox 8 introduces readers to a fox with a conscience. Using the way kids develop language as a device for his main character’s journey, Saunders creates a fable that has fun with vocabulary. This story is a total feast for the linguaphile in your life. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

    The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

    Denis Johnson fans had to wait 25 years for this story collection, a follow-up to Jesus’ Son. Published posthumously, these are ghost stories for learned eyes and ears: Johnson was beloved for his mastery of the craft of writing, and he infuses each of these tales with poetic style and grace. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Love Is Blind

    Love Is Blind

    An expansive story set at the turn of the 20th century, Boyd’s latest novel centers on a free-spirited Scotsman and his pursuit of a Russian opera singer. Traveling between Paris, St. Petersburg, and Edinburgh against a backdrop of massive social and political change throughout Europe, Boyd’s novel reads like a classic with accessible language and modern style. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book The William H. Gass Reader

    The William H. Gass Reader

    Mining seven works of fiction and nine collections of essays, this compendium spans Gass’s career, during which he wrote nonstop and taught philosophy. His criticism reminds you why you plowed through Stendhal’s The Red and the Black and suffered Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (or why you should). —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Anatomy of a Miracle

    Anatomy of a Miracle

    An uplifting story set in down-at-the-heels, post-Katrina Biloxi, Mississippi, Anatomy of a Miracle traces the path of a paraplegic who suddenly, inexplicably, gets up and walks. This “miracle” sets off a debate about what actually happened, and whether anyone dare question the circumstances. An argument about what is divine and what is merely mortal grounds this powerful book, with Miles’s journalistic chops evident on every page. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book A Spark of Light

    A Spark of Light

    As with most of her novels, Picoult’s latest will take conversations between readers in several directions. The issues of gun control and women’s reproductive rights has center stage in this gripping story, and then there’s the structure: Picoult delivers the narrative in reverse chronological order, managing to both diffuse and heighten tension in this important, timely narrative. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Night of Miracles

    Night of Miracles

    A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale, Night of Miracles celebrates the power of community and is a reminder of how compassion can be an antidote to challenging situations. Your giftee won’t be able to resist the uplifting message of Berg’s latest, which teaches us that love is often found in unexpected places—and people. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book The Boat People

    The Boat People

    Sharon Bala’s timely debut novel promotes a deep dive on international relations. The story centers on a group of refugees who flee to Canada during the Sri Lankan civil war and are thrown into detention amid suspicion that they’re terrorists. The politics and social justice issues raised here demand thoughtful consideration. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book A Place for Us

    A Place for Us

    The joys and struggles of family life emerge poignantly in this story that traces one Indian-American family’s history. Fatima Farheen’s debut raises issues of identity and belonging, and eloquently depicts what it’s like to straddle two cultures and find one’s place in the world, a predicament many will find relatable. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Alaskan Holiday

    Alaskan Holiday

    A lakeside lodge in an isolated Alaskan town is the setting for bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s latest novel. Faith in the unknown is what powers this narrative, which traces a couple from a fated first meeting to their potential fracture, due to complications of family. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Alternate Side

    Alternate Side

    Fiction, journalism, self-help: is there anything Anna Quindlen can’t tackle with smarts, sensitivity, and humor? One of America’s most-loved writers is back with this sharply observed novel that examines what it’s really like to be a woman, a wife, and a mother during a moment of reckoning. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Winter

    Winter

    Winter follows Autumn in the Man Booker Prize-nominated, Scottish author’s seasonal series, and—unlike a blustery day in England—it’s a notably warm and fuzzy story. When four people, strangers and family, converge on a Cornwall house at Christmastime, what could possibly go wrong? —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book The Winters

    The Winters

    In the tradition of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this provocative novel features a young woman who’s retreated to her new husband Max Winter’s opulent estate in the Hamptons after a whirlwind romance. But there are mysteries upon mysteries in her new home, including the strange antagonism that Max’s daughter displays toward her, and she must figure out what’s really going on, before the Winters’ secrets spell her end. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Still Me

    Still Me

    Louisa Clark still hasn’t quite gotten over Will’s death, as depicted in Me Before You, but she’s ready to start living life on her own terms again. She’s moved to the U.S. and is living high-class with her new job. But when someone reminiscent of Will shows up in Lou’s life, she must decide who the real Lou is, and what exactly she wants. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold

    Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold

    William Shakespeare’s sonnets are some of the most beautiful poems in the world, but the English they’re written in can be difficult to understand. That’s why James Anthony has taken Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and rewritten them in a more accessible modern-day English, delivering a beautiful collection of love poems that make a romantic gift. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Waiting for Eden

    Waiting for Eden

    Eden Malcolm is trapped within his own mind in a hospital bed. But when he begins to wake up and find a way to communicate, he discovers the world around him has changed. He’s far away from the war, and he’s not sure if his marriage is as stable as he once thought. In his new state, he begins to meditate on life—and wonders what makes a life worth living. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Radio Free Vermont

    Radio Free Vermont

    “We’ve got a long history of resistance in Vermont, and this book is testimony to that fact,” says Bernie Sanders, who just may be a model for this novel’s protagonist. Sharp, funny, and terrifyingly timely, Radio Free Vermont tells the story of 72-year-old Vern Barclay, an activist who promotes the state’s secession from the Union through an underground radio station…while on the run from the law. —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book Lake Success

    Lake Success

    Only a writer like Shteyngart could take the story of Barry, a mega-rich hedge fund manager who abandons his wife and child in New York to head on an absurd, reliving-the-glory-days road trip and turn it into an emotional journey filled with all kinds of perceptive points about American life. There’s some Fitzgerald in there (Barry’s hedge fund is called This Side of Capital) and a little of Tom Wolfe, but Lake Success is quintessentially Shteyngartian. Which means, for those uninitiated, brilliant. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book The World According to Garp

    The World According to Garp

    T.S. Garp is the son of feminist icon Jenny Fields, whose book, A Sexual Suspect, made her a celebrity. Garp, a writer himself, grapples with his mother’s fame as well as his own problems, including his obsessive worry over the safety of his kids. Filled with shocking scenes, biting satire, and a Dickensian array of richly drawn characters, Irving’s breakout 1978 novel remains a contemporary classic and a complex portrait of its time. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book Spell

    Spell

    “Bring the huge vernacular,” Ann Lauterbach writes early in Spell, her tenth poetry collection, and oh, does she. A widely acclaimed poet and a MacArthur Genius grant recipient, Lauterbach is exceptionally adept at investigating language—its complex meanings, its history, and its bewildering multiplicity. Here, the National Book Award nominee scrutinizes the many iterations of the word spell, and the resulting book is, appropriately, spellbinding. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book Don Quixote

    Don Quixote

    In the recent Netflix show Maniac, the character Annie wants to read Don Quixote to prove she can, but we’re here to argue that Cervantes’ monumental classic (referred to by some as the first true novel) isn’t such a labor to read. In fact, the story of an aging man’s adventures in delusions (most of them derived from the thousands of romances he’s read) is an utterly fun reading experience. Full of hilarious set pieces and way-ahead-of-their-time literary devices, Don Quixote remains an entertaining and necessary part of the canon. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book We That Are Young

    We That Are Young

    In the early years of this decade, protests spread across India, advocating against the vast corruption in the country’s government. Set against this tumultuous time, Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young takes Shakespeare’s King Lear and thrusts it into the contemporary world of India’s fast-growing economy. It tells the story of The Company, a giant corporation with its hands in everything, and the power struggle that ensues when its founder gives The Company to his two daughters. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book Mary B: A Novel

    Mary B: A Novel

    In the reimagining of a classic, Katherine J. Chen takes on Jane Austen’s masterpiece Pride and Prejudice by focusing on the youngest of the Bennett sisters, Mary, who exists on the periphery of Austen’s original comedy. In Chen’s telling, Mary is a bookish woman with literary ambitions, stuck in an era when female independence is next to impossible. It’s a brilliant stroke of perspective and a story as rich and funny as any of Austen’s. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book If Beale Street Could Talk (Movie Tie-In)

    If Beale Street Could Talk (Movie Tie-In)

    One of the great writers of the 20th century, James Baldwin wrote numerous works of unsurpassed power and beauty, and we think his 1974 novel makes a fantastic introduction to his truly remarkable oeuvre. The story of Tish and Fonny, a young couple in love and living in an atmosphere of racial injustice and corrupt police, If Beale Street Could Talk (recently adapted into a film by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins) is a riveting work of issues that remain relevant and deeply troubling. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    H. G. Wells’ game-changing novella about a man who’s figured out a way to become invisible—but can’t figure out how to turn himself back—is still one of the creepiest and most imaginative works of science fiction, and it does what sci-fi does best: explores the startling ramifications of human progress and technology, something infinitely more relevant now than it was in 1897. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Most people are familiar with Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel of surrealism, paradox, and whimsy—but we’re here to recommend a specific edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Yayoi Kusama is a world-renowned pop artist who’s long had a condition that makes her see spots, which comes out in her art. Her visuals accompanying this masterpiece are so powerful and original, so stunning and bizarre, they make the experience of reading this classic completely fresh and new. —Jonathan Russell Clark

     
  • The cover of the book One Day in December

    One Day in December

    For her debut novel, Josie Silver—taking a cue from Helen Fielding of the Bridget Jones series—tells a lighthearted love story set in London. With no room for cynicism, this cute and contemporary tale is unapologetically romantic, playing on the reader’s inclination to believe that fate rules the day, and love will prevail. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Brass

    Brass

    Themes of immigration, class struggle, and the dynamics of mothers and daughters are entwined in this compelling narrative, set in a former factory town in Connecticut. The American experience threads neatly through a universal story of overcoming fear of the unknown, as one character delves daringly into the past to understand her present. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book The Shakespeare Requirement

    The Shakespeare Requirement

    Academic satire is a genre all its own, and Julie Schumacher is one of its premier creators. In this gleeful sequel to Dear Committee Members, Schumacher once again delightfully skewers university culture. Her characters are recognizable to anyone who’s ever spent time in academia, and she spares no one in her sharply observed takedowns. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Selected Poems

    Selected Poems

    While Updike is typically not thought of as a poet, his first and last books were in fact poetry collections. The blank-verse sonnet was his go-to style in the later years, and he wrote about everything from art and science to popular culture and erotic love with unmatched verbal acuity. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Clock Dance

    Clock Dance

    One of America’s most beloved authors, Pulitzer Prize-winning Anne Tyler returns with Clock Dance, a transformative story featuring eccentric Tylerean characters and a theme of hope. Following our protagonist Willa through the decades, from her beginnings as a schoolgirl through her present grandparenthood, we witness her choices as we reflect on our own. —Romy Weinberg

     
  • The cover of the book Uncommon Type

    Uncommon Type

    Even your in-laws would agree: everyone loves Tom Hanks, and everything he touches becomes gold. His first collection of fiction, selected as one of the best books of the year by both NPR and USA Today, is no exception. The stories are linked by one thing: in each, a typewriter plays a role. —Elizabeth Anne Hartman

     
  • The cover of the book Smile

    Smile

    Roddy Doyle’s books have been beloved by readers for decades and, in some cases, adapted for acclaimed films. His latest novel, Smile, tells an immersive story about the nature of memory and the power of the past to unsettle and potentially destroy. —Tobias Carroll

     
  • The cover of the book North of Dawn

    North of Dawn

    Gacalo and Mugdi have watched over their son Dhaqaneh from Oslo, but when he kills himself in a suicide bombing in Somalia, they know he’s lost to them forever. But his wife and children are still alive and living in a refugee camp, so with mixed feelings, the couple asks the family to come live with them. Farah’s tale is a moving portrait of grief, faith, and generational loyalty. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Darling, I Love You

    Darling, I Love You

    A translator of mystical poetry, Daniel Ladinsky has interpreted works by Rumi, Hafiz, and Saint Francis. In Darling, I Love You, he offers original “welcome-to-the-moment” poems that celebrate the bliss and profundity of relationships with companion animals: “love is respecting / the beings who can’t speak / and treating them,” he writes, “as if / they / could.” Illustrated by comic artist Patrick McDonnell with his beloved MUTTS characters, these gentle words are like a patch of sunlight for the soul. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Where the Crawdads Sing

    Where the Crawdads Sing

    Abandoned by her parents and left to raise herself in the wilderness of coastal North Carolina, Kya is known—mostly by rumor—as the Marsh Girl. In 1969, two boys riding their bikes find the body of the town heartthrob in the marshland, and Kya is instantly the subject of suspicion—but what little the locals know of her is far from the truth, and she yearns for encounters of a different kind. Enliven a tender coming-of-age story with a whodunit and suffuse the results with the wordless, mysterious poetry of the natural world, and you’ve got Where the Crawdads Sing. —Lauren Oster

     
  • The cover of the book New Erotica for Feminists

    New Erotica for Feminists

    If your giftee dreams about equal pay, if she finds the idea of respecting women orgasmic, if the thought of a gender-balanced Congress sends her into ecstasy, then this satirical take on the question of what feminists really want (including empowering stories about feminists’ favorite heroines) is sure to be a hit. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Modern Gods

    Modern Gods

    Alison and Liz Donnelly may live on different continents, but they’re each grappling with life in this marvelous novel. Alison has married a man that, it turns out, she barely knows, while Liz is becoming entangled in a cargo cult. Both must face the ghosts of the past while charting a course through an uncertain and turbulent future. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Horse

    Horse

    This ambitious coming-of-age story is sure to tug at heartstrings. After she’s abandoned by her father, teenager Teagan French struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. She connects with Obsidian, the headstrong but beautiful horse that once belonged to her father, and it’s through training him that Teagan learns about love, loss, and all the moments in between. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book Flights

    Flights

    Flights is a story collection interlinked by the themes of travel and the human body. Each tale has a thoughtful connection to a part of the body and what it means to be a person in this world; after all, we’re all travelers just searching for our place. This book might just help each of us find it. —Swapna Krishna

     
  • The cover of the book The Travelling Cat Chronicles

    The Travelling Cat Chronicles

    Who doesn’t love a good story about cats? In The Travelling Cat Chronicles, which has captivated readers around the world, Hiro Arikawa tells the story of a distinctive cat named Nana, who travels across Japan with his owner, and in doing so, gives the reader a powerful sense of the landscape and human connection. —Tobias Carroll

     
  • The cover of the book Killing Commendatore

    Killing Commendatore

    Over the years, Haruki Murakami has amassed a sizable international following for his distinctive, often mind-bending narratives. His latest novel, Killing Commendatore, tells the story of a painter whose discovery of a hidden work of art sets him on a path involving World War II, metaphysical beings, and the nature of creativity. —Tobias Carroll

     
  • The cover of the book Tell the Machine Goodnight

    Tell the Machine Goodnight

    In the tradition of the best science fiction, Katie Williams’s novel Tell the Machine Goodnight uses futuristic technology to explore an essential human question: specifically, that of the roles happiness and unhappiness play in our lives. Williams explores this question through the parallel stories of a mother and son, each with very different opinions on the subject. —Tobias Carroll

     
  • The cover of the book Green

    Green

    Celebrated by The Boston Globe as “a riot of language that’s part hip-hop, part nerd boy, and part pure imagination,” Green explores the unexpected friendship of two teenagers from different upbringings in this coming-of-age novel about basketball, adolescence, and the ongoing struggles surrounding race and class in America. —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book A Ladder to the Sky

    A Ladder to the Sky

    A twisted, seductive psychodrama, A Ladder to the Sky tells the story of a brilliant, ruthless man whose thirst for literary fame spawns deceit, manipulation, a cold-blooded climb to the top—and an inevitable fall. The Times (London) calls it “Clever, chilling, and beautifully paced.” Readers will call it “unputdownable.” —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book The Sadness of Beautiful Things

    The Sadness of Beautiful Things

    Named to Esquire’s Best Books of 2018 So Far, The Sadness of Beautiful Things is a powerful new collection of short stories from award-winning author Simon Van Booy. A mysterious benefactor’s generosity toward a desperate family. A downtrodden boxer’s unexpected benevolence toward a mugger. Grief and happiness and tragedy and triumph: these masterfully written tales have it all. —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book Those Who Knew

    Those Who Knew

    A powerful politician with a violent past, a young woman who turns up dead, the politician’s former lover, and a group of misfits determined to find the truth. “Those Who Knew speaks with uncommon prescience to the swirl around us,” says Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad and All the Single Ladies. “Novey writes, with acuity and depth, about questions of silence, power, and complicity. The universe she has created is imagined, and all too real.” —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book Confessions of the Fox

    Confessions of the Fox

    These are the confessions of Jack Sheppard and Edgeworth Bess, the infamous bandits, fugitives, and lovers. A tale of underworld resistance and gender transformation from Jordy Rosenberg, The New York Times calls Confessions of the Fox “a mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, 18th-century London…a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime, and revolution.” —Ben Kassoy

     
  • The cover of the book Conversations with Friends

    Conversations with Friends

    Praised by Publishers Weekly, Vogue, Slate, Elle, The Cut, Vulture, and more, Sally Rooney’s novel lives at the intersection of pleasure and danger, friendship and romance. “I love debuts where you just can’t believe that it was a debut,” writes Zadie Smith. “Conversations with Friends paints a nuanced, page-turning portrait of a whip-smart university student in the throes of an affair with an older married man.” —Ben Kassoy