Christmas is coming so quickly and if you are like me then there are at least a couple of gifts you still have to buy. So, I grab my list and head to the bookstore. Books make a great gift, (light weight and easy to wrap), and with such variety, they cover everyone on your list – from your oldest friend, to that kind neighbour who you barely know but always plows your driveway following a snowstorm. Of course, while wandering the shelves of the bookstore looking for just the right gift, I might accidently buy one or two for myself, and jot down another dozen titles to request once I head back to the library.
To make your last-minute shopping a bit easier, I created a quick guide to some of the best new books and must reads of 2020. These recommendations would make great gifts for anyone on your list. Some of the titles were bestsellers this past year, while others were under-the-radar gems that you may not have noticed. All the titles are available at the library, so if you are looking for a few holidays reads then go online or give any branch a call and we will happily place a hold for you.
The old cliché, “everyone loves a mystery” still holds true. Nearly one half of all books sold are mysteries, crime fiction or thrillers. Some of the most well-known authors hail from this genre. For the friend who is a mystery buff, skip past the latest Patterson or Baldacci, and grab something more unusual. Author Sara Paretsky’s 20th V.I. Warshawski novel Dead Land, mixes elements of mystery, thriller, and political intrigue to create a unique page turner. Ruth Ware is back with the Agatha Christie inspired novel One by One. Like her other novels it is a great read for a dark night. Three Hours in Paris by Cara Black is a World War II thriller, in which a female agent is trying to make it back across the English Channel. Goodreads best mystery of the year, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, features a destination wedding at a remote island off the Irish coast, where the members of the guest list keep turning up dead.
Despite 2020 being a challenging year, it did produce some great fiction – both from established names and new, diverse voices. Kiley Reid’s debut novel, Such a Fun Age, features a young black babysitter who is falsely accused of kidnapping the white child in her charge, with the incident being manipulated by the participants and the media. The novel made it to the New York Times Bestseller list and was long-listed for the Booker Prize. Another debut novel, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, explores the role of women, beauty, and social standing. It is powerful, beautifully written and is a fascinating introduction to life in contemporary Korea. In a lighter vein, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, is a blend of speculative and literary fiction. The library contains books which illustrate the different paths your life might have taken and asks the question “would you change your life for a new one?” Finally, in case you missed it, Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, was the most talked about fiction book of the year.
For non-fiction readers, biographies are always a good choice. Erik Larson is back with The Splendid and the Vile, a riveting saga about Winston Churchill, his family, and the horror of the Blitz. Actor Matthew McConaughey’s new autobiography Greenlights is full of both wisdom and laughter. The most awaited book of the year was A Promised Land by Barack Obama, a reminder of honesty, grace, and civility.
All library locations will be closed for the holidays, starting at 1 pm on December 24. All library locations will re-open on Tuesday, January 5 at noon. Even though our physical locations will be closed, you can still access eBooks and other great resources on our website, 24/7 at http://www.tbpl.ca. Happy holidays, keep reading and may 2021 bring brighter days.
Lori Kauzlarick- www.tbpl.ca If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.