It is that time of year again when you sit and make your Christmas list. As an avid reader, my go-to gifts are generally books. You might think this would make my life easier - it doesn’t! I have to figure out which book to get for each person that they will absolutely enjoy and love. I consider it a personal affront if I give you a book as a gift and you don’t read it, or you read it but didn’t enjoy it. It is because of this personal pressure, that putting together a Christmas list gives me all types of anxiety. I consider books the best kind of gift to give, outside of money (which I will use to buy books) and plane tickets. If you are still putting together your Christmas list, here are some amazing books and the suggested person in your life to get it for:
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
This book is for the reader in the family who loves a great family drama. In The Dutch House, Ann Patchett writes of a family who came into great wealth. Through this newfound wealth, the father, Cyril, was able to purchase The Dutch House which was previously owned by a Dutch family who came to ruin. Cyril purchased this sprawling mansion in the countryside of Philadelphia as a surprise for his wife - thus beginning the downfall of the Conroy family. The book is told from the perspective of Cyril’s youngest son, Danny.
Danny gives us an in-depth look into his relationship with his older sister Maeve and what becomes of The Dutch House and those who lived and worked in it. This five-decade long narration will keep you utterly enthralled the entire way.
Get this for: Your favourite sibling or Aunt
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
We met Olive Kitteridge 11 years ago when Elizabeth Strout introduced her to the world and won a Pulitzer Prize for the creation of an unforgettable character. In Olive, Again, we get a second dose of Olive and all the characters who reside in Crosby, Maine.
What I loved most about this book is how human all the characters are - you feel for them in a genuine way, and I think that is linked to how great a writer Strout is. I loved that Strout explored the theme of ageing and ageism and how older persons sometimes feel overlooked. This theme spoke to me on such a deep level because of how raw the characters were about their fears of dying, how lonely being old is, all their regrets, how they are treated by society and their children. I cannot remember reading a book that explores the theme of ageing as beautifully as this one.
Get this for: your grandparents, grand aunt or favourite older relative.
Modern Love, Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption by Daniel Jones
The book Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption is a collection of some of the best essays that appeared in the New York Times column over the last 10 years. This is an insanely cohesive collection of essays that explores modern love in the most hilarious, deeply personal, moving, vulnerable, and heartfelt way. I could not get enough of this collection - I found myself crying at the end of some of these essays and it was beautiful.
Modern Love... what does that even mean? Well, in this collection we are privy to all the various types of love. We see love explored in all its various forms, from young love, parental love, sibling love, redemptive love et cetera. These essays are profound and deeply moving.
Get this for: Your single cousin or sibling or recently engaged or divorced family member.
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
“According to studies, 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail. But though 100 percent start, only 8% finish. Statistically you’ve got the same shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina as you do at finishing your goals. Their acceptance rate is about 8 percent…”
In FINISH Jon Acuff gets to the heart of WHY we don’t finish what we start. Why we don’t finish can be summed up in one-word - Perfection. According to Jon Acuff developing tolerance for imperfection is the key factor in turning chronic starters into consistent finishers.
Get this for: The Perfectionist in your family and the family member who cannot seem to finish anything they start.
There you have it, four books to satisfy the readers on your Christmas list. I do hope you give the gift of reading and knowledge this Christmas. Have a happy and safe Christmas and all the best for the New Year!
Cindy Allman is a Caribbean Girl Reading the World and Bookstagrammer. A Jamaican living in Trinidad and Tobago, she is a top Goodreads reviewer and hopes to inspire you with her passion for books. Follow her at www.bookofcinz.com or @bookofcinz on Twitter and Instagram.