The New December: Gifts to Get Now

Hello readers!

Well, we’re a week into October and it’s beginning to look a lot like… well, it looks a lot like Halloween, but we’re hoping you’ve spared a thought or two for those other holidays that are coming up real quick after it. Have you started making your lists? Maybe not quite at the point of checking them twice, yet. We understand. But we thought we’d rattle some bones at you to get you thinking about what comes after Spooky Season.

(We’re really sorry to rush things. We don’t want to skip Spooky Season, either. Spooky Season is one of our favorites. But with printing and shipping under siege by disease and governmental forces, we urge you to look ahead. The ghosts this year just might have to be the ones of Christmas Future.)

Here’s a list of books that you will not want to miss–be it for your aunt who loves a good memoir, your dad the history buff, your kid cousin, your mom’s book club, or your fantasy-loving best friend, we’ve got a little something for everyone.

A Promised Land, by Barack Obama


In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Pre-order it now, while it’s 15% off and still coming into the warehouses! Remember 2018, when Becoming was so hard to find we posted our Christmas Miracle of 10 of them showing up on Christmas Eve? This is going to be just as wild. But if you get your order in before the rush, we’re much more likely to have enough copies to cover as many as you need.


The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante


Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

Already on the shelves, this literary, coming-of-age novel is going to be a huge book club pick next year. Get the book club ladies in your life started early!


Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi


Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

This literary family story about the powerful pull between science and religion is a must-read for anyone who read Gyasi’s Homegoing and needed more.


Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

A staff favorite this year, Mexican Gothic is a haunted-house horror novel that might be more suited to Spooky Season than Holiday Season, but it will make the perfect gift for those readers on your list looking for a good spine-tingle. Allison, Tara, Elliot, and Teresa all can’t say enough good things about this book, from the unsettling setting and the intriguing characters to the gorgeous prose.


Ring Shout, by P. Djèlí Clark


Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror.

Another Spookier Season read, but trust us on this one: it’s damn good. For anyone on your list who is streaming Lovecraft Country and can’t get enough, anyone who loves twisted tales, or anyone who’s reading time is short (this book is slim, infinitely readable, and fast-paced). Ring Shout is a gorgeously, gruesomely crafted tale that is poised to take up residence in your mind and keep you thinking about it for days after you close the covers. Do not miss out.


A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik


From the New York Times bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

For any young adult or teen who is looking to fill that magic-school-shaped hole in their heart left by The Magicians or You-Know-Who, A Deadly Education is full of the dark humor befitting of teens who must fight monsters while writing 20 page papers on the history of Sanskrit spells and trying not to die in shop class every day of high school with no adult supervision. It’s Harry Potter by way of Gideon the Ninth, full of acerbic wit and a sorceress who will put up with no BS. Also, the cover and endpapers are gorgeous, so not only is the story a good gift, the book itself is, too.


Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse


From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

Another staff favorite; Allison, Elliot, Megan, and Teresa all could not put this book down and were not satisfied until they could all scream about it with each other. Rebecca Roanhorse is an auto-buy for some of us, but this opening novel of a new trilogy just proves how utterly genius this fantastic author is. Gift this book to anyone on your list looking for fresh, new fantasy, dark magic, diverse characters, and a story that digs in and doesn’t let go.


Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh


For the first time in seven years, Allie Brosh—beloved author and artist of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller Hyperbole and a Half—returns with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays. Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

Worth the wait, Solutions and Other Problems is another highly relatable, deeply insightful, extremely funny, truly poignant set of visual essays from the ever-amazing Allie Brosh. For the people on your list who love a funny memoir but aren’t afraid to possibly cry while reading.


Humans, by Brandon Stanton


Traveling to more than forty countries, Brandon Stanton conducted interviews across continents, borders, and language barriers. Humans is the definitive catalogue of these travels. The faces and locations will vary from page to page, but the stories will feel deeply familiar. Told with candor and intimacy, Humans will resonate with readers across the globe—providing a portrait of our shared experience.

From the creator of HONY, this gorgeous book is full of stories not just about the human of New York, but instead about people everywhere. An insightful glance into what humanity really means, these stories will settle in your soul remind you that we are all connected. This is the perfect gift book for literally anyone.


Louis, by Tom Lichtenfield, illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch


A beloved teddy can bear it no longer and plots his escape from his owner’s suffocating affections in this laugh-out-loud picture book from New York Times best-selling creator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Steam Train Dream Train fame, Tom Lichtenheld.

Illustrated by our very own bookseller and story-time guru, Julie, Louis is an adorable story for any kiddo with a teddy bear they love–so, you know, every kiddo. It’s endearing and (even though we’re a little biased) the illustrations are simply gorgeous.


The Princess in Black, by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham


Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

With the stamp of approval from Teresa’s 5-year-old (and Teresa and Megan!), the Princess in Black is the perfect gift for any kid just starting to read on their own. Great for reading out loud with them and for them to reread and practice on their own, this whole series is a charming adventure for kids of all genders looking for a new superhero to love.


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mbalia


Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia’s epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

Quite possibly Megan’s favorite middle grade adventure book ever, Tristan Strong came out punching last year to teach kids African American folklore, West African mythology, the power of stories, how to deal with grief, and how to stand up and fight for what needs to be fought for. The sequel just came out this month, so they’ll make a perfect two-pack for any 7th-grader looking for an escape into a magical land that feels a little more modern than Narnia.

We’ll be doing more of these holiday gift guide/idea posts in the future, so keep an eye out here on the blog and on all our social media. Again, we urge, we plead, we beg for you to order early, order early, order early so we can get your books to you on time!

Don’t forget, books are the easiest shape to wrap, and they stack neatly under a tree or by a menorah! Also, we’re happy to deliver them right to your door so you don’t even have to leave the house! Get started on your holiday shopping and make the rest of 2020 a little bit easier on yourself–one less thing to worry about!

Happy reading!

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