Giving Books for the Holidays

It’s that time of year again, the dreaded time when I realize I have to buy a gift for someone but I have no idea what to get them because they already have everything. Maybe it’s because I am a librarian, maybe it’s because I like books, but whatever the reason, I tend to go the book route.

Books are the gift that keep on giving long after being received. Hopefully, a book is read by the recipient and enjoyed and then maybe passed on to another person to appreciate. Books can be shared and discussed even from afar. They’re nonperishable and they always fit. Books really are the perfect gift. Except for one thing: you can’t be certain that the person you are giving the book to has not already read it.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of book-giving success – one is even guaranteed. The first is to choose a book that is a new release. To further increase your odds I find it best to select a book from a debut author. If you want guaranteed success, I suggest you preorder a book that will be released at the beginning of the year – there’s no way they’d already have it.

All that said, make sure you get a receipt!

Fall debut authors:

Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin | A ferociously talented writer makes his stunning debut with this richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves. Colvin depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time, and fate.

Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup | A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. If you find one, he’s already found you.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley ReidSuch a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

The Network by L.C. Shaw | A pulse-pounding, page-turning thriller involving corruption, secrets, and lies at the very deepest levels of government.


Animalia by Jean Baptiste Del Amo | The small village of Puy-Larroque, southwest France, 1898. Eleonore is a child living with her father, a pig farmer whose terminal illness leaves him unable to work, and her God-fearing mother, who runs both farm and family with an iron hand.

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz | Jaquira Díaz writes an unflinching account of growing up as a queer biracial girl searching for home as her family splits apart and her mother struggles with mental illness and addiction.

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones | Haunted and haunting, Jones’s memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself—within his family, within his country and within his own hopes, desires, and fears.

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters | Evie must convince her film agency’s biggest client, Ezra Chester, to write the romantic-comedy screenplay he owes producers, or her career will be over. The catch? He thinks rom-coms are unrealistic—and he’ll only put pen to paper if Evie shows him that it’s possible to meet a man in real life the way it happens on the big screen.


Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha | A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime.

Cold Storage by David Koepp | When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction.

2020 release:

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (December 31 release) | A big hearted story about race and privilege set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins | Forced to flee the United States after 16 family members are killed by a cartel, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence in Mexico.


Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun | When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too?

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell | Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, this is a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness by David PerimutterBrain Wash builds from a simple premise: Our brains are being gravely manipulated, resulting in behaviors that leave us lonelier, as well as more anxious, depressed, distrustful, illness-prone, and overweight than ever before.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart | Hugh “Shuggie” Bain is a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.

– Aimee, WFPL Reference Librarian

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