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.
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.
The Diary of a Bookseller
As the title suggests, this is a memoir of a shop owner—but not just any shop. Shaun Bythell was the proprietor of The Bookshop, Scotland’s largest secondhand bookstore (in one of its smallest towns, Wigtown—now known as Scotland’s National Book Town). Bythell waxes wittily of his interactions with customers, his buying trips to stock the store, and how he eventually succumbs to the stereotype of the cantankerous bookseller.
The Joy of Syntax
You may not have believed it in sixth grade, but grammar can be fun! OK, even if you still don’t believe it, June Casagrande’s handy guide will diminish the pain you felt back in middle school, when you were just never sure where that comma should go or whether—once and for all—it’s “who” or “whom.” This one belongs on the shelf next to Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
Days of Reading
Sometimes it’s as pleasurable to read about reading as it is to lose oneself in a sweeping novel. Proust’s essays will make you a believer—if you ever needed persuasion—that reading is an essential function of life, not just for pleasure, but for making sense of the world. (A librarian philosophy if we ever heard one!)
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.
The Mortal Word
In the latest of Cogman’s historical fantasy series, a Librarian must solve the mystery of who murdered a dragon at a peace conference. Irene travels through time to crack the case, back to 1890s Paris, where she discovers more potential wrongdoing. Will she have to impugn—wait for it—her fellow Librarians?
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.
Known as “the English Proust,” Anthony Powell was a prolific critic, essayist, memoirist, and playwright. Hilary Spurling’s biography is as expansive as its subject; in recalling his spectacular life, she drops names such as Kingsley Amis, Graham Greene, and George Orwell—the stars who formed Powell’s inner circle (of which Spurling was a member).
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.
Librarians know there’s no better escape than getting lost in a great story, and these titles deliver. From a memoir by the owner of Scotland’s largest secondhand bookstore to a fantasy novel about a London library that saw a dragon slaying, these tales are the stuff of literary dreams. Throw in the intellectual side—a collection of Proust’s essays, a grammar guide—and you’ve got the ideal gifts for librarians and library lovers. These books will tickle their fancies and enhance their love for local libraries (as if they were ever short on it).
Editor: Eliza Smith; Featured Image: Matt McCarty