We don’t mean to state the obvious, but books make for an awesome holiday gift. They’re thoughtful, compact and cover just about every obsession, fascination or hobby. Whether you’re shopping for your cool younger cousin or your baking-obsessed work wife, here are 42 tomes to consider for everyone on your list this year, including a cocktail compendium that will turn your bestie into a mixologist, a self-help book co-written by Oprah and Michael Lewis’s profile of failed crypto genius Sam Bankman-Fried.
42 Books to Gift Everyone on Your List This Year
There’s something for every kind of reader
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For the art fiend
Georgia O’Keefe once said, “Men put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.” O’Keefe likely would’ve loved art historian and curator Katy Hessel’s 500-page tome about this history of art with an exclusive focus on women. Discover the glittering work of Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola, the radical folk art of Harriet Powers in the 19th century United States and more, and along the way reconsider what you’ve always thought (or been told) about art history.
For the music nerd
Jesse Rifkin is a pop music historian and owner and operator of Walk on the Wild Side Tours, a music history walking tour company in New York City. His first book is a fascinating exploration of how real estate, gentrification, community and the highs and lows of New York City itself shaped the city’s music scenes. Drawing from more than a hundred interviews with musicians—including members of Peter, Paul and Mary, White Zombie and Sonic Youth—Rifkin explains how the ‘60s folk scene would have never existed without access to Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park, how if the city hadn’t gone bankrupt in 1975, there would have been no punk rock and more tidbits that music lovers can bust out at dinner parties.
For the high schooler
Billed as The Mummy meets Death on the Nile, the first book in Isabel Ibañez’s ‘Secrets of the Nile’ series centers on Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera, who belongs to the glittering upper society of 19th century Buenos Aires. Inez has everything a girl could want, except for her globetrotting parents, who frequently leave her behind. When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, where, upon her arrival, she soon discovers there’s more to her parents’ disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe. YA readers will tear through What the River Knows and wait with bated breath for the series’ next installment.
For the home chef
Inspire your mom to step outside her culinary box with this delectable cookbook from two James Beard Award winners. Food writers and editors Mowbray and Pittman teach readers how to elevate their cooking using 65 common pantry items from around the world, from giving chicken wings an irresistible kick with gochujang to using Mexican chorizo to add depth to a quick skillet chili. Featuring more than 120 recipes, The Global Pantry Cookbook promises to make dinner way more exciting—just make sure you score an invite.
For the preschooler
This year, Presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman teamed up with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson for this story about how a young child finds a way to make a big impact on the community. When the protagonist notices that something is wrong, the child is told it’s not a problem, but is determined to try to make things better. Gorman, in sparse, second person text, assures the reader that they’re not alone in their longings for a better world, eventually showing that, with work and help from friends, even the youngest members of society can make a difference in the world.
For the socially conscious
Combining health care policy with gripping, real-life stories, writer, teacher and practicing doctor Ricardo Nuila, M.D., explores the question: Where does an uninsured person go when turned away by hospitals, clinics and doctors? In The People’s Hospital, he follows the lives of five uninsured Houstonians as they eventually find a hospital that prioritizes people over profit. From a young mother whose high-risk pregnancy endangers her life to a woman who’s lived in the community without a visa for more than two decades and suffers from complications related to her cancer treatment, Dr. Nuila dives into the experiences of his patients, weaving their stories into a narrative that rejects the idea that the only way to receive good health care is with good insurance, along the way highlighting how broken the existing U.S. healthcare system is.
For the Anglophile
You might assume a history of England’s monarchs would be a snoozy endeavor, but in the hands of British actor and comedian David Mitchell, it’s a delight. In Unruly, Mitchell shows that Britain’s kings and queens might’ve acted as tough rulers, but were in fact bloodthirsty failures who benefitted greatly from luck and were mostly as silly and weird in real life as they appear today in their portraits. (“Apart from seizing the throne and having his nephews murdered,” Mitchell writes, “Richard seems comparatively nice.”)
For the toddler
The littlest reader (er, picture book enthusiast) in your life will adore this cute taco-shaped book about—what else—dragons and tacos. From the team behind the best-selling Dragons Love Tacos series comes an introduction to foods and mythological creatures that will delight any dragon enthusiast—and maybe even expand their palate. (Fingers crossed.)
For your way-cool friend
Literary It Girl Emma Cline has a penchant for writing about troubled young women who just can’t seem to elude disaster and destruction. First there was 2016’s smash-hit, The Girls. Her latest, The Guest, centers on yet another woman barreling toward rock bottom, Alex, a 22-year-old escort whose client list is all but dried up and who’s stuck in the Hamptons with money, no place to stay and whole lot of hutzpah.. At turns languid, funny and tense, her week-long odyssey—much like her life—is a trainwreck: hard to watch but impossible to look away from.
For the history buff
In every country that fell to the Third Reich during WWI, a resistance movement against Nazi domination emerged, with every country that endured occupation creating its own account of the role homegrown resistance played in its eventual liberation. In this deeply researched account, British historian Halik Kochanski traces the underground opposition across Europe, uniting the disparate national histories into a definitive chronicle that highlights the powerful and often little-known stories of acts of resistance big and small, from the clandestine press to the more violent manifestations of resistance through sabotage and armed insurrection.
For anyone with a big family
National Book Award-winning author Acevedo’s (The Poet X) first novel for adults tells the story of one Dominican-American family through the voices of its women. Flor can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants a party to celebrate the long life she’s led, her sisters are surprised. But Flor isn’t the only person with secrets: her sisters, and the next generation, are hiding things, too. Spanning the three days prior to the party, Family Lore traces the lives of each of the family’s women, weaving together past and present, Santo Domingo and New York City.
For the reformed crypto bro
Does your brother devour every word Michael Lewis (The Big Short, Flash Boys) writes? Gift him Lewis’s latest, which centers on Sam Bankman-Fried, the beleaguered founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. When Lewis first met him, Bankman-Fried was the world’s youngest billionaire. But who was this rumpled guy in cargo shorts who played video games while in Zoom meetings? In Going Infinite Lewis sets out to answer this question, exploring Bankman-Fried’s rise and fall, along the way offering an education in high-frequency trading, cryptocurrencies, philanthropy, bankruptcy and the justice system.
For the person whose closet is full of J.Crew
For a time, it seemed like J.Crew could do no wrong. The brand changed the way we dress, the way we shop and who we aspire to be. Then came financial disaster. Through extensive interviews with more than 100 J.Crew insiders and top industry experts, journalist Bullock charts J.Crew's origin story, its Obama-era heyday and its brush-with-death decline through the stories of the mercurial characters who helmed the company, all the while tracing the trajectory of American style and weaving together the threads of style, finance and culture.
For the Mixologist
Is your brother-in-law obsessed with finding the latest and greatest cocktail bars and recreate the recipes at home (to varying degrees of success)? Gift him Amanda Schuster’s guide to 200 iconic drinks, from classics like the Bellini to the rum-forward Mary Pickford. Each cocktail is accompanied by a chic illustration, plus the name of the creator, place and date of invention, an easy-to-follow recipe and a fascinating insight into its unique story.
For the thriller enthusiast
Amber Glass has spent her entire adult life putting as much distance as possible between her and her hometown of Baltimore, where she fears she’ll forever be known as ‘Prom Mom,’ the girl who allegedly killed her baby on the night of the prom after her date, Joe, abandoned her for another girl. But when she returns to the city, she realizes she can have a second chance—as long as she stays away from Joe, now a successful commercial real estate developer. The problem is, Amber can’t stay away from Joe, and Joe finds that it’s increasingly hard for him to ignore Amber. Set against the surreal backdrop of 2020 and early 2021, Lippman’s (Dream Girl, Sunburn) latest explores what happens when the two are eventually drawn to each other, crossing the line they’ve been trying not to cross.
For the outdoorsy fiction-lover
Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies, Florida) is back with the story of an unnamed young servant girl who flees a settlement in colonial America and sets out across the wilderness as she encounters, along with the beauty of nature, wild animals and an unruly man who also lives in the wild. Groff’s seventh book is described as being “at once a thrilling adventure story and a penetrating fable about trying to find a new way of living in a world succumbing to the churn of colonialism.” The Vaster Wilds asks how—and if—we can adapt to save ourselves.
For the design aficionado
Before your pal books their next vacation, they’ll want to pick up this gorgeous coffee table book for inspiration. Margaret and Corey Bienert are the creators of A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour, which highlights unique hotels around the world. Their first book, Hotel Kitsch, celebrates dozens of one-of-a-kind hotels across the United States to Mexico, Spain and the UK. From Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, where the rooms are reached by scuba diving, to a jungle room in Iowa with fake trees and foliage that looks like something out of Where the Wild Things Are, Hotel Kitsch is a celebration of some of the world’s most creative, nostalgic and one-of-a-kind properties.
For the mystery lover
“Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once.” That’s how narrator Ernie Cunningham opens this compelling mystery set at an Australian ski resort. Pitched as Knives Out and Clue meet Agatha Christie, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone seeks to keep the reader guessing until the very last page—and maybe even after that. (And yes, it’s already slated to be turned into a limited series for HBO.)
For the news hound
Whether they consider the Style section their personal fashion bible, they’re always quoting Nicholas Kristof’s latest opinion piece or they love doing the daily Wordle, they’ll love this sweeping history of the paper of record. In The Times, Adam Nagourney, who has worked at the paper since 1996, examines four decades of the its history, from the final years of Arthur Sulzberger’s reign as publisher to the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. From its triumphs (including coverage of the explosion of the U.S. Challenger and the scandal of a New York governor snared in a prostitution case) to its failures (like Jayson Blair’s plagiarism scandal), the almost 600-page book draws on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents and letters to provide an inside look at the essential years that shaped the newspaper.
For elementary-aged readers
It's book 18 of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series and middle school hasn’t exactly been a joyride for Greg Heffley. So when the town threatens to close the building, he’s not too upset. But everything changes when Greg realizes the closure means he’s going to be sent to a different school than his best friend, Rowley. Can Greg and his classmates save their school before it’s shut down for good? Or is this the start of a whole new chapter for Greg?
for the fashionista
Hal Rubenstein is a longtime fashion director, consultant, media personality and author. His latest book is a gorgeously illustrated guide to the most influential fashion on television from the 1950s to today. Covering everything from Mary Tyler Moore's capri pants on The Dick van Dyke Show to Olivia Pope's trademark white trench on Scandal, this compendium highlights the ways TV’s most stylish shows have affected and often inspired ordinary Americans’ wardrobes. Illustrated with more than 175, full-color photographs, Dressing the Part shines spotlight on how we imitate and then adapt what we enjoy seeing on others.
For the curious Kindergartner
You likely know naturalist Charles Darwin, broadly, for his work on evolution. But did you know he was particularly passionate about worms? In this illustrated book, kids can learn about the fascinating true story of how Darwin came to discover that the earthworm is the most important species on our planet—particularly, how without worms’ life-sustaining, nutrient-rich poop, there would be no plants and no animals on earth. It’s an intersection of science and silliness that will keep young readers engaged.
For the cinephile
The bestselling author of Capote’s Women turns his focus to Alfred Hitchcock in his latest. The director of North by Northwest, Rear Window and other classic films was fixated on the blonde actresses who started in his movies, but the women themselves have rarely been at the center of the story. In Hitchcock’s Blondes, Leamer offers an intimate look into the lives of eight legendary actresses—including Ingrid Bergman and Tippi Hedren—whose stories helped propel the troubled, talented director’s career forward, from Janet Leigh’s first marriage (when she was 14 years old) to forcing The 39 Steps star Madeline Carroll to rehearse while handcuffed and soaking wet.
For your most uninhibited friend
Fancy Feast is a burlesque performer, sex educator and social worker, whose debut collection of essays is about sex, communication and power. In “Doing Yourself,” she tackles fatphobia and dating, self-love and fantasies, while “Yes/No/Maybe,” brings the reader from sex parties to polyamorous relationships, contrasting the sexiness of enthusiastic consent with the devastating effects of miscommunication and entitlement. Part backstage pass, part long-form literary striptease, Naked is a powerful punch-back at a culture that wants fat people to be self-hating or sexless.
For the Heath Nut
Wouldn’t you want to live longer? And better? In this manual for longevity, Dr. Peter Attia draws on his experience as a “longevity doctor” to present innovative interventions, techniques and tools for addressing emotional and mental health. Outlive seeks to teach the reader why the cholesterol test at your annual physical doesn’t tell you enough about your actual risk of dying from a heart attack, why you should forget about diets (and focus instead on nutritional biochemistry) and more—including why striving for physical health and longevity, but ignoring emotional health, is a big mistake.
For the funny friend
Aparna Nancherla is a popular comedian with stand-up specials, headlining sets and late-night appearances. If you ask her, though, she’s a total fraud. In her debut essay collection, Nancherla writes about her interior life, one constantly bossed around by her depression, laced with anxiety and plagued by a love-hate relationship with her career as a painfully shy standup comedian. Her essays are hilarious and insightful meditations on body image, productivity culture, the ultra-meme-ability of mental health language and more.
For the stressed millennial
Lauren Cook is a licensed clinical psychologist and career coach. Her first book focuses on the many nuanced reasons why these millennials and Gen Z are struggling, mental health-wise, in different ways than their predecessors. Using a feminist and intersectional lens, Cook shares her own struggles with anxiety and provides easy, actionable steps to help readers ride the waves of anxiety rather than swimming against them, while also incorporating evidence-backed psychological research and diverse client experiences to help readers gain insight into their own stressors and combat them.
For the sports fan
In 1950, the all-white U.S. Lawn Tennis Association opened its door to Althea Gibson, a Black woman from Harlem. Soon, her astonishing performance eclipsed the negative feelings being cast her way, and she eventually became one of the greatest American tennis champions. In former Boston Globe reporter Sally H. Jacobs’s biography of the tennis superstar, we learn about her fascinating journey, from being raised in New York and trained by a pair of tennis-playing doctors in the South, to winning top prizes at Wimbledon and Forest Hills and even shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II. Althea is the story of a pioneer, trailblazer and champion.
For the self-help reader
In this inspirational title, professor and social scientist Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah (no introduction necessary) encourage readers to begin a journey toward greater happiness no matter how challenging their circumstances. Their blueprint for a better life draws on cutting-edge science and their years of experience to reveal how emotional self-management can change your life―quickly—through practical, research-based practices.
For the one obsessed with Jane Austen
This charming debut novel is a contemporary reimagining of Pride and Prejudice set in NYC’s Chinatown. When Elizabeth Chen’s realtor mother finally sells the beloved community center down the block, the new owners don’t look like her typical customers—Brendan and Darcy are good Chinese boys with Hong Kong money, and to Elizabeth, that only means one thing: They’re looking to give the center an uptown makeover. Elizabeth is determined to fight for community over profit, but where cynical Elizabeth sees lemons, her mother sees lemonade. So Elizabeth sets out to stop Darcy, even while her mother plays matchmaker between the two. But once Elizabeth starts to see the real Darcy, she’s forced to balance her desire to protect her community with their undeniable romantic tension.
For the Didion superfan
Evelyn McDonnell is a journalist, essayist, critic, feminist and university professor who regularly teaches the work of Joan Didion. Inspired by the iconic late writer’s own words and informed by the people who knew Didion and those whose lives she shaped, The World According to Joan Didion is an illustrated journey through her life, from Sacramento and Malibu to Manhattan and Hawaii. Published a few years after the revered writer’s death in 2021, it aims to help readers answer the question as they sit in a café, or on a plane or train, pondering the future: What would Joan Didion have seen?
For the mall rat
People from very different walks of life are connected by a mall in Albany, NY, that's preparing to close for good in Greenberg's debut novel (after the story collections Faulty Predictions and Vanished). There's a hairstylist yearning to be a children's book illustrator and her young son, who's covertly perfecting his magic act while he keeps his mom company at the salon; a high school student who dreams of stardom while working in the food court; and more compelling characters reckoning with their pasts, presents and futures.
For the indie lover
Described as The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project, this debut novel is a coming-of-age story set in Falls Landing, Florida, a town that’s home to theme parks, swampy lakes and something sinister. It’s where a group of 13-year-old girls obsessively orbit around Sammy, the daughter of the local preacher. When Sammy goes missing, the girls edge ever closer to discovering a dark secret about their town and the cruel cost of a ticket out.
For the overtired
Anyone who’s ever had a hard time sleeping knows how frustrating and anxiety-inducing the experience is. Jade Wu, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist and researcher, understands. Her first book, Hello Sleep, is a guide for people with insomnia to help them shift their relationship with sleep, so that it stops being a battle and starts being enjoyable and natural again. She provides in-depth but understandable scientific explanations of how sleep and insomnia work; anecdotes about real patients’ experiences with overcoming insomnia; tips for how to problem-solve common pitfalls and more.
For the murder mystery solver
Described as Crazy Rich Asians meets The Help, Now You See Us is an entertaining murder mystery from the author of a previous Reese’s Book Club pick (Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows). It follows three domestic workers in Singapore whose lives are upended when a Filipina maid is arrested for murdering her employer. The three protagonists decide to piece together the mystery of what really happened, and what they come to uncover truly shocks them. After all, no one knows the secrets of these ultra-wealthy families like the women who work in their homes…
For the rom-com lover
In this latest from Curtis Sittenfeld (Rodham, Prep), we meet Sally Milz, a late-night sketch comedy writer who’s long abandoned the search for love. Then, Sally meets Noah, a pop star signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. The two hit it off, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, Sally begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying in a story that makes for the ultimate smart-girl beach read.
For the runner
In 2018, Des Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years. The Olympian’s career has always been defined by tenacity and an independent spirit, and her debut memoir centers on how she trains, how she thinks, her relationships with other great runners of her generation and how much she values her family and friends. Plus, of course, what makes her get up and run every day.
For the first-year analyst
When Jess gets a job as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, she's less than thrilled to learn she'll be on the same team as Josh, her preppy, white, conservative sparring partner from college. But when Jess finds herself the sole Black woman on the floor, it's Josh who shows up for her in surprising, though not always perfect, ways. Before long, an unlikely friendship forms between the two—a friendship that gradually, and then suddenly, turns into an electrifying romance that shocks them both. But then it's 2016, and the cultural and political landscape shifts underneath them as Jess is forced to ask herself what she's willing to compromise for love and whether, in fact, everything is fine.
For the activist-in-training
In 1912, women's rights activists, led by a teenage Chinese immigrant named Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, organized a massive march in support of women's suffrage. Half a century before the better-known movements for workers' rights began, more than 1,500 girls—some as young as ten—walked out of factories in Lowell, Massachusetts, demanding safer working conditions and higher wages in one of the nation's first-ever labor strikes. Young women have been disenfranchised and discounted throughout history, but the true retelling of major social movements in America reveals that they have ignited almost every single one. In Young and Restless, writer and editor Mattie Kahn (The New York Times, Glamour) uncovers how girls have leveraged their unique strengths, from fandom to intimate friendships, to organize and lay serious political groundwork for movements that often sidelined them.
For the pop culture obsessive
Aisha Harris is a cohost and reporter for the hit NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. In Wannabe, she mines the benchmarks of her ‘90s childhood and beyond to analyze the trends that are shaping all of us, and our ability to shape them right back. From tracing the evolution of the "Black Friend" trope to examining the overlap of taste and identity in this era, her book feels like hanging out with your smart, hilarious, pop culture-obsessed friend.
for family matriarchs
Fans of Ann Patchett's literary fiction will delight in the author's latest. It's the spring of 2020 and Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While there, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor whom she worked with at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew in this meditation on new and old love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born.
For the wanderluster
At 26, life looked a certain way for travel writer Nikki Vargas. She’d settled in New York City, had landed in a promising advertising career and was newly engaged to her college sweetheart. Still, she couldn’t shake a deep underlying sense of imposter syndrome, so she bought a plane ticket. What starts out as a freelance travel writing assignment escalates into a whirlwind journey. Along the way, Vargas uncovers surprising truths about her family, comes face to face with a new love interest and more. Vargas’s candid memoir turns the familiar story of a woman going abroad to find herself into an exhilarating career path.