I can’t believe I am saying this but… the Holidays are right around the corner!! With that being said I am already starting to think about gifts for family/friends. And, If I haven’t shared with you guys yet – I am a MAJOR book lover. I love historical fiction books, a dramatic novel with a female lead, and will never say no to a thriller with a plot twist! Because I love to read so much I always try to include books in my gift-giving. So, I wanted to share with you guys my top 10 that you can’t go wrong with adding into a gift rotation. These are perfect for a Yankee Swap, White Elephant, or Secret Santa situation.
I hope that I can save you some time and energy in searching for that perfect book to read or gift.
Top 10 Books To Gift This Year
- The Nightingale– A lot of you may have already read this book, and if you have – you know that it is sooo good! It is the story of two French sisters resisting the German occupation of France during World War II. Hiding Jewish children so they are not taken to concentration camps, finding love, and being betrayed. The sisters’ story is immediately captivating you, and you will NOT be able to put the book down. Gosh, I can not say enough, it is such an amazing story – I’ve read it more than once.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns- Another nail biter. The story is set in Herat, Afghanistan from around 1970 to the early 2000s. It is the heart-wrenching story of two Afghan women married to the same abusive man. The author gives you an intimate view of the violence and oppression the two women had to endure, and what it looked like to exist as a woman in this Afgan society. The story is fascinating, and beyond devastating at times. It will without a doubt keep you on your toes… and might make you cry.
- And The Mountains Echoed– Another Family drama by Khaled Hosseini. But, this one is so much different than the other two on the list. It is set in a fictional village in Afghanistan, in the early 1950s. It tells the story of a poor family who is struggling with the idea that they may need to sell one of their children to survive and have any chance at a better life. Oh my gosh – this story is so gripping. It is also written interestingly – through the lens of each character, one at a time.
- All The Light We Cannot See- I love this one! A perfect World War II love story that primarily takes place in Nazi-occupied France. A blind girl, using her uncle’s old radio to send messages to aid the resistance, inadvertently saves the life of the German military boy tasked with tracking her down to stop the broadcasts. He aborts this assigned mission and his only goal now is the save her from another German soldier whose only goal is to kill her.
- Orphan Train– This book was so moving. Molly is a 17-year-old orphan in the present day who is about to turn 18 and will soon be removed from her foster care home. She takes a position helping an elderly woman clean out her home to keep herself off the streets and out of jail. The elderly woman is Vivian – who has a dark story is not so different than Molly’s. An Irish immigrant child who was put on an Orphan Train from NYC when her parents passed away. If nothing else it is crazy to think that this kind of thing happened – these orphan trains were totally real. I can not lie – the book is heartbreaking. But, the writing and story just bring you in and instantly hook you on all the characters’ stories.
- The Great Alone- Is there anyone who doesn’t love Kristin Hanna? Doubtful. I just finished this one and before I even started, I knew it was going to be good. Another complicated family drama that takes place shortly after the Vietnam War. Leni is the teenage daughter of Cora and Ernt Allbright. Ernt was a POW and has come home a changed and violent man. Cora will do anything to try and save the man she loves. For her this including moving the whole family, including Leni, to the middle of nowhere – Alaska. It has a beautiful love story, infused with more heartache than anyone should have to endure.
- The Book of M- Futuristic, surprising, sad, happy, aghh so many emotions. This one was a different genre for me, I don’t typically go down the dystopian rabbit hole – but I loved it. The question that the author uses to summarize this book: “What would you give up to remember?” – perfectly encapsulates the conflicting emotions you will have as you read through this book.
- Little Fires Everywhere– I think I read this in like, three days, not even kidding! As the mother of twins – that is NEARLY impossible. Laundry was NOT folded in a timely fashion in those three days, ha. This book is witty, heartbreaking, and the character devolvement is just BEYOND amazing. BONUS: It is being adapted into a mini-series, produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington – set to come out in 2020!
- Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine- Oh my gosh this book made me LOL, like, for real. This book is set around the main character, Eleanor. She is a nearly 30-year-old woman who hasn’t cut her hair in over 15 years, could not be less interested in how she looks, has no desire to make friends, or to be societally compelling what so ever. Her only real interest lies in the vodka fueled weekend waiting at the end of every week. She is a hot mess, most hilarious way ever. It is so entertaining and well written. I am pretty sure they are also making a movie from this one!
- Little Bee- I can’t even explain this one, just read it – and gift it! It is such a good read – but impossible to explain without giving it away! It’s shocking and exciting all at the same time.
What about you guys, thoughts on these if you have read them? Any other must-reads you would add? I’ve got a ton of gifts to buy – so I’d love the recommendations!