The Ultimate 2016 Book Gift Guide
One-stop shopping, right this way
Books make the best gifts, because there’s truly something for everyone. (Yes, even your crotchety uncle who hates everything.) Here are some of our favorite new reads for the hardest-to-shop-for people in your life.
Your Music-Loving Dad: “Born to Run”
Turns out Bruce Springsteen is a bit of an overachiever. Not only is he the ultimate rock star and hero of the working class, he’s also an irritatingly excellent writer. He emerges in this book as he does in his songs—honest, thoughtful and a consummate storyteller.
Your Newlywed Cousin: “Cooking for Jeffrey”
Fans of the Barefoot Contessa already know all about Ina’s sweet husband, Jeffrey, who likes nothing more than coming home to a roast chicken on a Friday night. Her latest cookbook is full of foolproof recipes (skillet-roasted lemon chicken; kale with pancetta and pecorino; vanilla rum panna cotta with salted caramel), but this one has a little more of a personal touch. Stories of her nearly 50-year marriage prove, once again, that Ina is just a little better at life than the rest of us.
Your Super-Feminist Sister: “Sex Object”
The founder of the website Jezebel, Jessica Valenti has often been called one of the most important feminist voices of her generation. With women’s issues at the forefront of the political landscape, her bold memoir is timely and significant, especially for the younger set.
Your Amateur Bartender Boyfriend/Husband: “Amaro”
A whole book on bittersweet herbal Italian liquors? Really? In the capable hands of Brad Thomas Parsons, who also wrote the James Beard Award-winning guide to cocktail bitters, it all makes sense. With gorgeous photos and 100 original recipes, it will seriously amp up your man’s esoteric cocktail game.
Your Book Club Friend Who Actually Reads the Book: “The Underground Railroad”
Great for lovers of serious fiction, the 2016 National Book Award winner reimagines the Underground Railroad as an actual train, thundering under the slave-dominated Deep South. Colson Whitehead’s book is at once a thrilling, surreal adventure story and a thoughtful meditation on our country’s deep shame.
Your Book Club Friend Who Just Drinks Wine: “Truly, Madly, Guilty”
We get it: Not all book clubs can be bastions of intellectual discussion. That’s where Liane Moriarty comes in. She magically manages to write fun, fast-paced beach reads with smart plotting and thoughtful meditations on marriage and friendship. Her latest is about a group of friends at an afternoon barbecue where everything goes life-alteringly wrong.
Your Genealogy-Obsessed Mom: “The Gene”
When the Pulitzer Prize-winning doctor and author Siddhartha Mukherjee noticed a pattern of mental illness in his family, he set out to find out everything he could about the science behind it. The result is an ambitious and fascinating history of genetics. (We promise, it’s not as boring it sounds.)
Your Favorite Foodie: “Small Victories”
Julia Turshen is the genius ghostwriter behind everyone from Mario Batali to Gwyneth Paltrow, but this is her first cookbook under her own name. There’s nothing fussy about this ode to home cooking (her go-tos are things like Caesar salad, spaghetti with clams and decadent chocolate cake), but the recipes are perfect and oh so beautiful (think another Smitten Kitchen).
Your Mystery-Loving Aunt: “The Trespasser”
For anyone who needs a little page-turning escapism, Tana French is the answer. She’s built a cult following with her intricate detective stories. We swear these are some plot twists that no one could see coming.
Your Armchair-Traveling Uncle: “Atlas Obscura”
The world is full of weird, weird places: caves populated by sparkling glowworms in New Zealand, a South African tree that’s so big it holds a full bar with seats for 15. And that’s just the beginning. The website Atlas Obscura’s first book takes you to some of the most curious corners of the earth, with plenty of maps and charts to satisfy the most discerning armchair traveler.