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Looking for a Good Book? Books to Give or Read this Holiday Season.

Listen, I know that there are book lists for DAYS out there. This is another one, and I'm not pretending otherwise! It is completely biased and based on nothing other than what I have read recently. I love to read, I love to receive recommendations, and I love to share the books that I've enjoyed with others.

Every one of these books is my recommendation to YOU, but there are also ideas of other people in your life who might enjoy them. 😉 Comment below or fire me an email with your own best, recent reads! 


For your nephew who is uninterested in love or the pull of family, but likes the space-time continuum...

Recursion — Blake Crouch

Mind-bending and physics-y, but fast-paced & thriller-y, too. A fun read for anyone who doesn't normally read within the "sci-fi" genre. 

For your brother-in-law who loves his wife, but also likes in the space-time continuum...

Dark Matter — Blake Crouch

Ditto to the above, though the decisions made by the main character in this one are far more motivated by his identity as a husband & father.

For everyone, long-read edition...

Unbroken — Laura Hillenbrand

So powerful, this life account is almost unbelievable. A 5-star read that I recommend to everyone. 

For everyone, short-read edition...

The Last Days of Night — Graham Moore

This book is the most underrated novel I know! Perhaps it's the one-line description — "it's about the patent battle over the invention of the lightbulb!" — that sounds like a snooze. But, I promise you, this novel is fascinating, fast-paced, and full of pithy quotes from Edison to Bill Gates that will have you hmmm-ing all holiday!

For a complete escape from anything resembling your own life (unless you've been a nymph in Greek mythology)...

Circe — Madeline Miller

Circe is unlike any other book I know; it's so outside of the realm of modern culture, but of course the themes (love, family, rejection, wrath) transcend place & time. 


For the husband who rarely reads novels...

The Rosie Project — Graeme Simsion

Fun & silly, a quick & entertaining read for a non-reader. 

For an extended family conversation starter...

The Four Tendencies — Gretchen Rubin

Blah blah blah, Shelley, The Four Tendencies, I know. But, you will be trying to pin down your parents & siblings, FOR SURE. 

For the sister who wants to just read in her cozy corner...

Little Women — Louisa May Alcott

What else is there to say about this classic? It's warm and nostalgic and they complain about November being the worst, which I totally relate to. Read the book, then see the new film! 


For the sibling (for whom you have affection)...

The Dutch House — Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett's novels are reliably well written, and this one may be her best. The main character may be a literal home, but it is the beautiful love of the brother-sister relationship that resides center-stage

The Last Romantics — Tara Conklin

Siblings, brought together by family tragedy, bound for life by love & survival. I love a good, sibling tale.

For a literary escape to NYC...

The Rules of Civility — Amor Towles

Immerse yourself in the Big Apple of the 1930s, from high society to the stockyards. 


Save Me The Plums — Ruth Reichl

Or, get a behind-the-cover peek at the inner workings of Condé Nast with Reichl's memoir of her time as editor-in-chief of the magazine Gourmet.

For a dad who appreciates a good ethical quandary...

The Line That Held Us — David Joy

A powderkeg of tension, this moody novel will glue you to the page as you consider revenge & redemption. 

For a long road trip...

Born to Run (Audio)— Bruce Springsteen

No need to be a Springsteen fan to be fascinated by this lifetime account, full of deep self-reflection, industry insight, and beautiful prose.



For the avid chef OR the one whose culinary abilities tap out with toast & eggs...

Salt Fat Acid Heat — Samin Nosrat

Everything you need to understand about how food works: why and how it becomes delicious, and how you can do it, too. This is the cookbook that other chefs wish they wrote


For Everybody, Always* (*also the title of another solid book by Bob Goff)...

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion — Gregory Boyle

My most-recommended, most-gifted book. Truly, the "power of boundless compassion" has changed my life.


Happy reading!

Share your own recos below or fire me an email at :)

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