After nearly four decades, Margaret Atwood returns to Gilead in the sequel to her 1985 bestseller, The Handmaid’s Tale. Beginning with a confession from one of Gilead’s architects, Aunt Lydia, The Testaments centers the voices of three women: an aunt, a 16-year-old daughter of a commander, and a Canadian teenager forced to reckon with a life-changing secret. Illuminating, timely, and memorable, Atwood’s latest is a bone-chilling gospel that hums with rebellion and hope.
Bill Bryson’s latest work is a humor-infused meditation on the body and what it means to be human. Written with levity and heart, The Body: A Guide for Occupants urges its audience to remember how extraordinary each ligament, cell, and limb truly is. He reminds us that we “are in the most literal sense cosmic,” that the lives we live should be celebrated and never taken for granted.
Christmas Shopaholic follows Becky Bloomwood Brandon as she prepares for the holidays and inches closer to the start of a new year. Yet, as Becky tries to juggle finding presents for her loved ones, last-minute changes to the Christmas dinner menu, family drama, and self-care, the joy of the season is replaced with chaos. A modern tale of yuletide struggles, Sophie Kinsella’s novel is a witty and heartfelt antidote for end-of-year stress.
Burn After Writing
Sharon Jones’s transformative bestseller is the perfect present for friends, family, and yourself. An enlightening journal that challenges readers to reconnect with themselves, Burn After Writing will help you confront your fears, embrace your strengths, and grow. A powerful tool that celebrates the self, this book will change you for the better.
When Vivian Forest gets the opportunity to spend the holidays in England with her daughter Maddie, finding romance on the other side of the pond is the furthest thing from her mind. Yet Vivian’s expectations change when she meets Malcolm Hudson, the striking private secretary for the Queen. As the holidays draw nearer, so do Vivian and Malcolm, despite the looming departure date for Vivian’s flight back home. Guillory’s endearing portrait of a Christmastime affair is inarguably charming.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong’s bestselling debut begins with memorable brevity: “Let me begin again.” Written in the form of a letter penned by a 28-year-old son to his illiterate mother, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous delves deep into the past of its narrator and the pasts of those who came before him. A stunning meditation on immigration, intergenerational trauma, queerness, and belonging, Vuong’s cinematic novel is a soul-stirring tale about forgiveness and family.
City of Girls
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, 19-year-old Vivian Morris finds solace in 1940s New York City after being asked to leave Vassar. Sent there by her parents, Vivian cultivates a life of her own while living with her Aunt Peg, who runs a theatre company in Manhattan. While there, Gilbert’s heroine finds what she couldn’t at college: glamour, glitz, and drama. Spellbinding and vivid, Gilbert’s City of Girls is an unforgettable story about desire, agency, and living life on your own terms.
The Moth Presents Occasional Magic
ed. Catherine Burns
Inspired by the celebrated podcast The Moth, Occasional Magic is a powerful compilation of stories about resilience, courage, and vulnerability. Embodied by the voices of storytellers like Ophira Eisenberg, Krista Tippett, Andrew Solomon, and Meg Wolitzer, Occasional Magic examines the unexpected beauty of the triumph in the face of the impossible. A splendid addition to any reader’s shelf, this book proves the enduring power of sharing one’s truth.
Deepak Chopra, M.D.
In Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, Deepak Chopra asks readers to “harvest peak experiences” from their lives so they can embrace their “truth and mold the universe’s chaos into a form that brings light to the world.” Metahuman is an astonishing road map to self-transformation and explores the potential of embracing change, being present, and living bravely.
Each character in Zadie Smith’s debut short story collection reaffirms her genius as a storyteller. Throughout the 19 narratives within Grand Union (11 of which are brand new), Smith examines the complexities of authenticity in an age of capitalism; the connective tissue between celebrity, persona, and the self; and the potential and limits of language. A stunning offering from a master of prose, Smith’s collection is destined to become part of the canon.
Admit it: the holidays can be a lot. In addition to finding the perfect gifts for all the special people in your life, scoping out Black Friday book sales, and picking the just-right ugly sweater, you also have to reckon with the fact that a new year is right around the corner. Thankfully, all the demands that go along with the holidays coincide with the opportunity to gift yourself books that will remind you of the joy of the season and kindle hope for what lies ahead. Take a minute to treat yourself to something delightful before working down the rest of your list. Stressed or not, ’tis the season for great reads!
Featured Photo by Jinny Kwon and Abbe Wright