And once again, I feel like the Santa of literature, disseminating delightful reads for all to enjoy this holiday season. I’m a big believer in the personal nature of gifting a good book, thoughtfully chosen for the specific tastes of a friend or family member. So I put together a list of some of the books I’ll be giving (and recommending you to give) this holiday season. From your significant other to your older brother, there’s something here for everyone.
For Mom – Becoming by Michelle Obama
Whether or not the first word that comes to mind when you think of Michelle Obama is “mother,” this powerful memoir takes a look at all aspects of this woman and former First Lady. From her childhood to her motherhood, from her role in the White House to the initiatives that she made her own, she pulls back the curtain and shares a wealth of warmth, knowledge, and life-shaping moments that I’m sure your own mother will enjoy as well.
For Dad – How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Remember that time your Dad alluded to that crazy trip from undergrad while he was in his “hippie phase”? Well, he may have been onto something. Michael Pollan, one of my all-time favorite authors, dives in the world of psychedelics in this incredibly well-researched history of the drugs, both naturally occurring and manmade. It’s also part personal journey, as he finds his research to be so compelling that he ends up trying a few of these psychedelic drugs himself. All of the salacious details from his trips? Your dad will just have to read to find out.
For Your Siblings – From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
Former White House stenographer and Oval Office wallflower, Dorey-Stein chronicles her life as it transitions from recent college grad to flying aboard Air Force One with Obama. We get an insider’s view of the Obama White House alongside the stream of consciousness of a young girl in her twenties who is becoming an adult as this incredible world unfolds around her.
For Your Best Girlfriend – Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger
After watching comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s Netflix special entitled “Elder Milennial” (watch it, you’ll die of laughter), I immediately went down a rabbit hole and watched and read everything that she’s done in the past ten year. This first and only memoir of hers weaves the tale of what she calls “girl logic” – how the female species’ brains work, which at first might seem crazy but on closer inspection, actually makes a lot of sense. Woven in are comedic bits, clever observations, stories from growing up, and how she made it in a very male-dominated industry. Your best friend will laugh, cringe, and laugh some more.
For Your SO – The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell
Economy, gastronomy, and ecology come together… all in the name of the humble oyster? This well-traced history pulls back the curtain (or shall I say, opens the shell?) on the incredible role the oyster has played in the history of our fair New York City, from the Native Americans to their place on New Yorkers tables today.
For Yourself – The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
In this day and age, what defines madness? What makes someone a psychopath, and how do we recognize them? This work of investigative journalism takes us from the psychologist’s office to some of the world’s most high-powered boardrooms, where madness takes many forms and often lies in unexpected places.