We don’t mean to state the obvious, but books are 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 33 tomes to consider for everyone on your list this year.
33 Books to Gift Everyone on Your List This Year
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For the Royally Obsessed
1. The Crown in Vogue by Robin Muir and Josephine Ross
Stumped on what to buy for your aunt who is positively obsessed with this season of The Crown? Look no further. She’ll adore this extensively illustrated tribute to the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II and to the British Royal Family from the pages of British Vogue. With photographs from Vogue's unrivaled archive and contributions from various royal commentators, from Evelyn Waugh to Zadie Smith, The Crown in Vogue is the definitive, authoritative portrait of Queen Elizabeth II's reign—and of royalty in the modern age.
For the Home Chef
2. Go-to Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
Ina Garten is back, baby. In this latest cookbook from our favorite chambray-clad lady, you'll find lots of freeze-ahead, make-ahead, prep-ahead and simply assembled recipes so you, too, can make dinner a breeze. Cooking night after night during the pandemic inspired her to re-think the way she approached dinner, and the result is this collection of comforting and delicious recipes like overnight mac and cheese, roasted vegetables with jammy eggs and bourbon chocolate pecan pie.
For the High Schooler
3. Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt
When Hurricane María destroyed her home in Puerto Rico, high schooler Malena and her mother were forced to flee to Florida. To make matters worse, she’s completely humiliated when, after going to school bra-less after a bad sunburn, the school administration forces her to cover up. When Ruby, the school's outspoken feminist rebel, notices the new girl is being forced to dress a certain way, she’s unwilling to keep quiet. Unexpectedly finding themselves the leaders of the school's dress code rebellion, the girls have to face their own insecurities, biases and privileges if they want to stand up for their ideals and themselves.
For the Elementary-Aged Reader
4. I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Franz Elementary School as a six-year-old in 1960. In this children’s book best for readers ages five to eight, Bridges tells her own story, reflecting on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.
For the Music Nerd
5. The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan
For the Music Nerd
The Philosophy of Modern Song is Dylan’s first book since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, and focuses not on his own music, but on songs by other artists, spanning from Elvis Costello to Nina Simone. In more than 60 essays, he analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song and explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. And though they’re ostensibly about music, these essays are also meditations and reflections on the human condition—perfect not only for Dylan fans, but for music and pop culture lovers in general.
For the Cinephile
6. Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis
In 2020, The New York Times ranked Viola Davis ninth on its list of the greatest actors of the 21st century. In her 2022 memoir, Davis reflects on family, love, motherhood and acting. From her childhood in a crumbling apartment in Rhode Island with an abusive, alcoholic father to her time at Juilliard to the present, she writes in intimate detail about the courageousness, grit and almost unmatched talent that helped her get to where she is today.
For the Sports Fan
7. The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson by Jeff Pearlman
From the mid-‘80s into the early ‘90s, Bo Jackson was widely considered the greatest athlete of all time, the only person in history to be named an All-Star in both football and baseball. He was on televisions, in magazines and plastered across billboards. Then, almost overnight, he was gone. Drawing on 720 original interviews, New York Times bestselling sportswriter Pearlman captures the elusive truth about Jackson and cements his legacy as one of the greats.
For the Baby
8. Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt
Set to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’ this picture book lets the not-yet reader in your life follow along with a whole host of different dinosaurs as they go through an exciting dino day. With bright colors, playful rhymes and plenty of prehistoric creatures, this adventure will be a hit with dinosaur fans both big and small.
For the Fashionista
9. Anna: The Biography by Amy Odell
Has your sister watched The Devil Wears Prada more times than you can count? Treat her to the real story with this meticulously researched biography of Anna Wintour. As a kid in London, Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothing, but by her teenage years she was fashion-obsessed. Her father, an influential newspaper editor, decided she should become editor-in-chief of Vogue, and she never looked back. Based on extensive interviews with her closest friends and collaborators, Anna is the most revealing portrait of Wintour ever published.
For the Preschooler
10. The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! by Mo Willems
Since learning about roller coasters, the Pigeon has been giddy with excitement. But will he really try it? Speaking to the reader in first person, the Pigeon describes his thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. Even if they have no imminent plans to ride a rollercoaster, this cutely illustrated book is sure to delight your favorite 4-year-old.
For the History Buff
11. The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freedland
In April 1944, at just 19 years old, Rudolf Vrba became the first Jewish person to break out of Auschwitz (and one of only four who ever pulled off the near-impossible feat). Against all odds, he and his fellow escapee, Fred Wetzler, climbed mountains, crossed rivers and narrowly missed German bullets until they had smuggled out the first full account of Auschwitz the world had ever seen. Yet too few heeded the warning that Vrba had risked everything to delivered, and though he helped save thousands of Jewish lives, he never stopped believing it could have been so many more. This complex and heart-wrenching work on nonfiction by journalist and broadcaster Freedland is about of a brilliant yet troubled man whose story can help define our understanding of the Holocaust.
For the Self-Help Reader
12. The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
In this inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world. She opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering questions like: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much? Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles.
For the Former Disney Channel Kid
13. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy (iCarly, Sam & Cat) was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother's dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and McCurdy went along with it—even when it meant restricting calories and sharing her diaries, emails and income. As she became more successful, McCurdy was riddled with anxiety, shame and self-loathing, all of which manifested into eating disorders, addiction and a series of unhealthy relationships—issues that only got worse when her mother died of cancer. Having discovered therapy and quit acting, the now-30-year-old embarked on recovery and wrote this inspiring story of resilience and independence.
For the Poetry Lover
14. The World Keeps Ending, and the World Keeps Going on: Poems by Franny Choi
Though we sometimes joke that these feel like the end times, Franny Choi’s latest collection reminds us that apocalypse has already come in various ways for marginalized peoples. Her poems confront the daily griefs of this apocalyptic world while also imagining what togetherness could look like.
For the Art Fiend
15. Botticelli’s Secret by Joseph Luzzi
Perfect for your friend who’s constantly begging you to go to museums, a rich history about not only how the Renaissance came to life, but also how Sandro Botticelli's art helped bring it about. Centering on the Italian painter’s once-forgotten illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy, it dives into his rise to fame, his plunge into poverty and obscurity and his posthumous recognition as a key player in the Renaissance.
For the Science Geek
16. The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee
In Song of the Cell, writer and cancer physician and researcher Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies) tells the story of how scientists discovered cells, began to understand them, and are now using that knowledge to create new humans. From the late 1600s, when Robert Hooke and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek created their handmade microscopes to today, when therapeutic manipulations of cells can aid in treating Alzheimer's, lung cancer COVID and more, it’s a fascinating read for even non-science-y folks.
For the Funny Friend
17. There Are Too Many Milks by Tara Lawall and Ann Marie Wonder
This funny illustrated tome explores the types of annoyances of modern life that any person on your holiday list will relate to. From meditations on the seemingly endless number of nondairy milk options and the ridiculousness of $30 salads to the struggle of picking the perfect email sign-off, There Are Too Many Milks will delight your best friend, your sister-in-law and everyone in between.
For the Activist-in-Training
18. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
It’s 2017 and sibling duo Olga and Pedro Acevedo are boldfaced names in their hometown of New York City. She’s an in-demand wedding planner for Manhattan's power brokers, while he’s a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn. Behind the scenes, things are far less rosy—especially when their mother, who abandoned them when they were children to advance a militant political cause, comes barreling back as hurricane season heads toward her home in Puerto Rico. This best-selling, International Latino Book Award finalist (2022) by Brooklyn-born debut author Gonzalez touches on political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream.
For the Carb Lover
19. The Pain d'Avignon Baking Book: A War, an Unlikely Bakery, and a Master Class in Bread by Uliks Fehmiu and Kathleen Hackett
For 30 years, Pain D'Avignon has been pursuing excellence in the art of the bread making. In this book, which combines delectable, easy-to-follow recipes with the fascinating story of the bakery’s origins, cofounder Uliks Fehmiu shares the lessons he’s learned with home bakers while giving them an accessible, step-by-step primer on mastering the fundamentals. With 60 recipes, including a Cape Cod-inspired cranberry and pecan bread, classic sourdough and plum galette with pistachio paste, The Pain D'Avignon Baking Book is a tried-and-true collection of must-make breads and pastries, with extraordinary and immersive storytelling.
For Your Work Wife
20. The No Club: Putting an End to Women’s Dead-End Work by Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart
Every company has work that no one wants to do: planning the office party, screening interns or simply helping others with their work. These assignments, which inevitably go unrewarded, often go to a woman. That’s why four friends, crushed by endless to-do lists, banded together over $10 bottles of wine to get their work lives under control during meetings of what they deemed The No Club. In this eye-opening book, those women—two economics professors, a communications professor and a management professor—detail the club’s founding and their subsequent years of research that uncovered that women everywhere are unfairly burdened with “non-promotable work,” a problem we can—and need to—solve. With hard data and personal anecdotes, The No Club seeks to change the conversation about how we advance women's careers and achieve equity in the 21st century.
For Your Cousin Who Turned 30 This Year
21. 30 Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani
Thirtieth birthdays are supposed to be about parties and cake and loved ones. Nina's thirtieth birthday has…none of those things. She’s hit rock bottom: Recently broken up with her fiancé, she’s forced to move back into her childhood home to live with her depressed older brother and their uptight, traditional Indian mother. Her career isn't going in the direction she wants, and all her friends are too busy being successful to hang out with her. Then, she discovers a book called How to Fix Your Shitty Life by Loving Yourself and assumes it’s fate. With nothing else to lose, Nina makes a life-changing decision to embark on a self-love journey, promising herself that, by her next birthday, she's going to find thirty things she loves about herself.
For the Thrill Seeker
22. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
In need of a fresh start, Jess asks if she can crash with her half-brother, Ben, who lives in Paris and doesn’t sound thrilled about the arrangement. When she shows up to Ben’s address, Jess find a very nice apartment—one that she’s not sure how Ben can afford—and he’s not there. The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother's situation and the more questions she has. Ben's neighbors are an eclectic bunch, not particularly friendly, and Jess suspects they all know things they’re not sharing. Jess might have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s looking more and more like it's Ben's future that's in question.
For the Person Obsessed with ‘A Little Life’
23. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
From the author of the wildly popular (and almost oppressively sad) A Little Life comes a novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia. The novel begins in an alternate version of 1893, where New York is part of the Free States and people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). We then cut to 1993 Manhattan, which is overwhelmed by the AIDS epidemic, and zero in on a young Hawaiian man who lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And then finally we move to 2093, and a world overrun by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, where a woman tries to solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances. These three sections are linked by similar questions, themes and characters, as well as the (futile) quest to find an earthly paradise.
For Your Unapologetically Kooky Brother-in-Law
24. How to Be Weird by Eric G. Wilson
Between work and family responsibilities, it’s easy to get caught up in the often monotonous nature of our day-to-day. Weirdness, Wilson (Against Happiness) argues, is an easily accessible antidote to these feelings of languishing, reminding us that there's more to life than the everyday. In How to Be Weird, he offers 99 exercises for embracing all the weird in the world around us—taking aimless walks, creating a reverie nook, exploring the underside of bridges, making tombstone rubbings…you get the idea.
For the True Crime Lover
25. All That Is Wicked by Kate Winkler Dawson
Kate Winkler Dawson is an acclaimed crime historian, podcaster and author (Death in the Air). Her latest centers on Edward Rulloff—sometimes called a "Victorian-era Hannibal Lecter"—whose crimes spanned decades. From his humble beginnings in upstate New York to the dazzling social life he established in New York City, Rulloff used his intelligence to evade detection and avoid punishment until his luck ran out toward the end of the 19th century. In All That Is Wicked, Dawson draws on hundreds of source materials and never-before-shared historical documents to present a first glimpse into the mind of a serial killer through the scientists whose work would come to influence criminal justice for decades to come.
For the Kelly Ripa Superfan
26. Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories by Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa’s relatability in her roles as a professional, a wife, a daughter and a mother has earned her millions of fans worldwide. In her first book, she explains how she’s gotten to where she is now, recounting how she and Mark Consuelos really met and more behind-the-scenes details her devoted fans will devour.
For the New Mom
27. Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood by Chelsea Conaboy
Before journalist Chelsea Conaboy gave birth, she anticipated the joy, fatigue and dirty diapers. What she didn't expect was feeling a deep and disorienting shift in self. In this fascinating exploration of the major brain changes new parents—birthing or otherwise—undergo, Conaboy delves into the neuroscience to reveal unexpected upsides, generations of scientific neglect and a powerful new narrative of parenthood.
For Your High School Bestie
28. The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland
It’s 1997 in Bellport, Connecticut, and best friends and high school seniors Melissa, Priya, Tara and Suki are ready to light the world on fire having recently received their yearbook superlatives: Most Likely to Win the White House, Cure Cancer, Open a Michelin-Starred Restaurant and Join the Forbes 400. Cut to 25 years and nothing has gone according to plan. When the women regroup at their dreaded high school reunion, a forgotten classmate emerges with a surprising announcement, inspiring the friends to rethink their younger selves. Fueled by nostalgia and one too many drinks, they form a pact to push through their middle-aged angst and bring their teenage aspirations to fruition, dubbing themselves the “Most Likely Girls.”
For the Person Who Devours Cult Content
29. Cults: Inside the World’s Most Notorious Groups and Understanding the People Who Joined Them by Max Cutler
Calling all cult-obsessed readers: This chilling book by Parcast podcaster Cutler dives deep into ten (mostly) high-profile cults and their leaders from recent decades (think: Charles Manson and David Koresh). Cutler’s fascinating debut provides insight into what attracts people to cults, the psychology of their leaders and what happens when the most vulnerable recesses of the mind are manipulated with malintent.
For the 20-Something
30. Quarterlife: The Search for Self in Early Adulthood by Satya Doyle Byock
The concept of a midlife crisis is well documented, but what about the weird, confusing life changes that happen during quarterlife (between the ages of roughly 16 to 36)? In her fascinating new book, psychotherapist Doyle Byock provides a guide to those quarterlifers on how to navigate and thrive—rather than just survive—these odd years, attempting to answer questions like, Why do I feel stuck? What’s wrong with me? Is this all there is?
For the 50-Something
31. The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
Grunge! O.J.! Pauly Shore! The ‘90s were a confusing time, marked by both economic prosperity and deep angst and unrest. This latest from cultural critic Klosterman delves into what made the era so distinctive, and how we look on back on it through the lens of 21st century modernity. In a series of loosely connected and highly enjoyable chapters, he touches on everything from the Clinton White House to the ascendence of Tarantino to the nascent beginnings of America Online.
For the Single Lady
32. The Single Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken by Aimee Lutkin
Why, when there are more unmarried adults than ever before, is there so much pressure to couple up? Why does everyone treat you as though your real life won't start until you find a partner? Single in her 30s, Lutkin (whose writing has been featured on Jezebel and in Marie Claire) set out to answer these questions, by going on hundreds of dates, reading the sociologists, authors and relationship experts exploring singlehood and loneliness, diving into the wellness industrial complex and probing the capitalist structures that make alternative family arrangements nearly impossible. The result is a fascinating account of one woman's experience of being alone, and reveals the deep biases against the uncoupled in our society. Give it to your pal now, just in time for Valentine’s Day…
For the Rom-Com Fanatic
33. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
In this latest from beach read queen Emily Henry (People We Meet on Vacation), Nora is a high-powered literary agent who, on her pregnant sister’s request, takes a girls’ trip to a picture-perfect North Carolina town, Sunshine Falls. Somehow, Charlie, a handsome book editor who rejected one of Nora’s books years earlier, is also in town. In true rom-com fashion, as Nora and Charlie get to know each other, she learns that there may be more to him than she suspected. At the same time, though, Nora’s concerned about her relationship with her sister—they’ve always been close, but something seems off. Can high-strung Nora get her happily-ever-after and figure out her relationship with her sister?