The holidays are upon us! The lions outside the Art Institute have wreaths around their necks, people are iceskating in Millenium Park, kids are lining up to see Santa at Macy’s, and the Daley Plaza Christmas tree has been erected.
Only two weeks til Christmas? You haven’t even started to think about what to get everyone! No worries, the Shy Town Girls are here to help with Meryl’s gift guide of books (all published in 2013). Which novel will Mom love? What book will your sister actually sit down to read? Is Dad impossible to shop for? We have the perfect book for him, too.
For Your Mom: Someone by Alice McDermott
This book has garnered all kinds of distinctions, including a New York Times Notable Book of 2013 and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Fiction of the Year award. But why will your mom love it? Someone tells the story of one woman over her whole lifetime. Dealing with faith, love, marriage, parenthood, and the pervasive struggles of daily life, Alice McDermott has penned something of insight into what it means to be a woman.
For Your Dad: The Son by Phillipp Meyer
Above all this book is just an excellent story, but it involves a lot of the things your dad probably loves. For starters, it’s set in western tropes, so if your dad is going to spend the holiday trying to get your family to watch The Magnificent Seven or True Grit, this is most likely right for him. It’s gripping like a thriller, so he’s not going to complain about being bored. Dad’s a tough one to please, but you’ve definitely got a shot with The Son.
For Your Sister: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
This book has been praised as literary genius, but it also includes human moments that propel a reader through. It starts with six teenagers in a summer and follows their relationships through decades later–just the sort of thing for your sister who needs grounded human interaction to get through a book but also isn’t into something too simple or trashy (she’s not 15 anymore, as she keeps telling you).
For Your Brother: The Sports Gene by David Epstein
Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the question of whether star athletes are simply naturals or if they are so dominant simply by sheer force of will. Maybe your brother doesn’t like to read anything besides sports articles (“I read enough in school”), but if that’s the case, this book is right up his alley. Not only does it deal in athletics, but it was written by someone who already pens all the sports profiles and analysis that your brother eats up when he’s procrastinating. Perfect.
For Your Boyfriend: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Winner of the 2013 National Award for Best Fiction and wildly praised, The Good Lord Bird has been called a book that you can’t put down. Set in the time of the abolition movement, the novel explores the ideas of identity and survival in the midst of a compelling adventure.
For Your Best Friend: A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra
This debut novel of Anthony Marra tells the story of two doctors who risk everything to save a child. Love and compassion are what drives the read, something that your best friend may know a thing or two about. And if you need another reason to pick it up, our President himself recently bought it on a trip to a DC bookstore with his daughters.
Click either book to head to Amazon, where you can get the Shy Town Girls in paperback or on Kindle!