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Whether you’re traveling or lying low, Christmas vacation is a great time to catch up on your reading. Here are a few books you may have missed this year that are worth picking up over the holidays:

The novel: The Lifeboat In the wake of a 1914 ocean-liner explosion, Grace Winter finds herself in an overcrowded lifeboat seeking rescue. As the castaways battle the elements (and each other), Grace recalls the nefarious circumstances that led her there and maps her plan for survival.

The nonfiction tome: Far From the Tree National Book Award winner Andrew Solomon’s newest masterpiece takes on unconventional children (from the profoundly gifted to the severely disabled) and explores how parents must learn not only to deal with difference but also embrace it.

The memoir: Wild Following the death of her mother and a crippling divorce, Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the notoriously difficult Pacific Crest Trail--entirely alone. Read this gripping Eat, Pray, Love-esque travelogue now, before the film adaptation (starring Reese Witherspoon) goes into production.

The movie tie-in: Life of Pi Speaking of movies, chances are, you’ll want to catch Ang Lee’s newest offering. But before you do, snag a copy of the original book, which is by turns mystical, adventure-laden and thoroughly eye-opening. Warning: You’ll need to discuss this one immediately after finishing.

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