The Nickel Boys
In the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead turns his attention toward the Jim Crow South and a desperate tale inspired by true events. The Nickel Boys centers around two Black teens sentenced to a hellish juvenile reform school called Nickel Academy. It’s a haunting and essential read.
As a staff writer for The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino has positioned herself as an inimitable, fearless voice on virtually all aspects of life in the internet age. With Trick Mirror, a collection of nine new essays, she meticulously tears away at the self-delusions and deceptions that so often define our lives. At turns hilarious, incisive, and challenging, Trick Mirror is a must-read.
The Secrets We Kept
What’s not to love about The Secrets We Kept? There’s intrigue, a bittersweet romance, and a bit of globetrotting adventure all centered around one of the most beloved novels of the 20th century. Lara Prescott’s engrossing debut follows two CIA secretaries-turned-spies tasked with smuggling Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR. The Secrets We Kept was an instant bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
Life from Above
This companion book is the perfect gift for fans of the PBS documentary series of the same name. Filled with over 200 images, Life From Above presents an extraordinary view of the Earth’s surface unlike anything seen before. From weather patterns and mega-structures to stunning colors and breathtaking natural wonder, this book shows the world from a spectacular new perspective.
Humans are nothing if not creatures of habit. Our lives, in many ways, are built around an ecosystem of habits—both good and bad. Changing the bad ones can be key to discovering both happiness and success. With Atomic Habits, James Clear presents a proven, easy-to-understand guide for creating new beneficial habits and purging oneself of the habits that hold you back.
In this near-future thriller, Paxton finds himself in the employ of a massive tech company and living in one of their sprawling complexes. Zinnia has infiltrated the company in the hopes of exposing its darkest secrets, and Paxton may be the unwitting help she needs. Unfortunately, her desperate schemes to get at the truth could prove life-threatening for both of them.
The Beautiful Ones
Much like the artist himself, The Beautiful Ones is the complicated, intimate, and deeply imaginative memoir of Prince’s rise from a Minnesota kid to legendary musical icon. Building from the memoir Prince began writing before his death, The Beautiful Ones features a scrapbook-like collection of photos and writings to augment Prince’s own words on his rise to super-stardom.
Language is an ever-evolving beast, and the dual advents of the internet and text messaging have left an indelible mark on the English language. While it’s easy to decry this changing of the conversational guard, linguist Gretchen McCulloch takes a deep dive into precisely why—and how—this is occurring, but more importantly, why it’s a good thing.
Brad Thomas Parsons
What’s the last thing you’d drink before you die? It’s an inherently morbid question, but one that James Beard Award-winning author Brad Thomas Parsons manages to answer. Last Call is a truly poignant and surprisingly funny exploration of the country’s best and most creative bartenders, and the cultural mythos that surrounds the profession. (My last drink would be a Bourbon Old Fashioned, if you were wondering.)
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Fortunato Nicotra
Since opening its doors in 1981, Felidia has been an institution on Manhattan’s Upper East Side restaurant scene. With this cookbook, chef and author Lidia Bastianich teams up with her flagship restaurant’s longtime executive chef, Fortunato Nicotra, to share 115 of the classic and contemporary recipes that made Felidia one of the best Italian restaurants in the country.
While it’s traditionally understood that true excellence in a given field comes from intense practice and singular focus, David Epstein makes the convincing argument that excelling through specialization is the exception rather than the rule. From Nobel Laureates to professional athletes, generalists with a wide range of interests may see the clearer path to excellence.
Whether it’s for a loved one who seems to have everything or the party host you don’t know all that well, holiday gifting can feel more than a little stressful. Well, dear reader, fear not! We’ve got you covered. These crowd-pleasing reads offer a little bit of everything and run the gamut from literary fiction to fascinating memoirs to something for the foodie in your life. Keep a few of these wrapped and on-hand for a last-minute gifting emergency. It doesn’t matter who the eventual recipient is—trust us, you can’t go wrong.
Featured Photo by Jinny Kwon and Abbe Wright