What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
This book is pure fun, and a great selection for the adventuresome single gal on your shopping list. Kristen Newman bucks tradition (marriage and child-rearing) in exchange for spending her twenties and thirties traveling the world solo. Her stories from her journey are sexy, funny, and insightful and will have readers looking to book a trip to anywhere but here.
This Is Paradise
If you are expecting escape-from-it-all type prose filled with vivid descriptions of lazy days on black sand beaches, cultural attractions, and helicopter tours, then this is not the book for you. The irony lies in the title of this haunting debut by Kristiana Kahakauwita. This penetrating and cohesive collection of stories exposes the gritty underside of Hawaii’s mythical paradise. Experience modern day Hawaii, in all its complexity, through the eyes of the native Hawaiians, local citizens, and emigrants from the States. This book is vivid and suspenseful storytelling at its finest. A must read and perfect gift for the bibliophile in your life, who, after reading this will never look at Hawaiian culture in quite the same way.
The Underground Girls of Kabul
What’s the difference between men and women? In Afghanistan, it’s freedom. In this deeply conservative, gender-segregated society, males live fully, while females live a life defined by oppression. From the moment she is born, an Afghan girl has very few rights and almost no control. She must guard her behavior, appear modest at all times, and often cannot leave the house without an escort. Being raised as a bacha posh—a hidden practice in which parents raise daughters as sons, and present them as such to the outside world—offers another way. A captivating look into a culture Westerners know very little about.
Without You, There Is No Us
This spellbinding memoir peeks inside the fortress that is North Korea, as seen through the eyes of a school teacher tasked with educating the male children of this bizarre and frightening place. Suki Kim’s chilling stories of the young men of this country paint a devastating picture of ordinary boys being brought up without freedom of choice. This book is both incredibly moving and illuminating, showing the reader a part of the world that isn’t visitable.
The Tsar of Love and Techno
“The Tsar of Love and Techno” is an interwoven collection of short stories that reads like a novel; as each seemingly disparate chapter unfurls, you find its relation to the last through interlocking people, objects, and places. Spanning decades in tumultuous Russia, the book tells stories of the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability to create and appreciate art, even in the most dire of circumstances. Anthony Marra paints a picture of humanity with honesty, grace, and humor and makes the reader feel as if they’ve been dropped into the former Soviet Union throughout different points in history—truly a must-read.
The Ballad of a Small Player
Set against the glittering backdrop of Macau’s casinos, a ruined English lawyer trying to outrun his demons spends nights at the Baccarat tables, drinking and sinking deeper into a crippling gambling addiction. When he meets Dao-Ming, a mysterious Chinese woman, she saves him in large and small ways. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped off the place into Hong Kong whilst reading this fast-paced and suspenseful novel from the author of “The Forgiven.”
‘Tis the season…to shop for everyone on your list. And, we may be biased, but we think the best gifts to give—and receive—are books!
Read It Forward is making your holiday shopping a cinch this year. We’ve curated seven different gift guides chock full of books that will thrill everyone you know: the foodie in the family, the creative thinker, the fiction devotee, the adventurous spirit, the former class clown, the ultimate fan (of podcasts, history, rock ‘n roll…you name it) and the sci-fi lover who’s already purchased their movie tickets for Stars Wars: The Force Awakens. All you have to do is swing by your local independent bookstore and shop ’til you drop.
The Adventurer loves a read set in a far-flung exotic locale—books that let you relive moments in history or travel the world without leaving your favorite armchair. Whether it’s a novel set during the height of the Inca Empire, a memoir about finding yourself on the back of a bike, a series of linked short stories that span the tumult of the last century in Russia, or a nonfiction narrative about being a girl coming of age in Afghanistan, these ten books will take readers on eye-opening adventures and may even inspire you to pack your own bags and experience the far reaches of the globe.
Curated by the Read It Forward editorial team, illustration by Jane Mount of Ideal Bookshelf.