Hi, my name is Katie and I’m a readaholic with no plans to recover. This year I’ve read 120 books (so far) for fun. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you (in which case I’m sure you have some great recommendations of your own), but for most people, it takes years to read that many. With the holiday season coming up, I’m here to suggest some books that came out recently or will be released over break for the readers in your life.
For the fairy-tale lover
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Alice grew up on the move, daydreaming of being contacted by her elusive grandmother who invites Alice to live at her rich estate house. Instead, after her mom is kidnapped, she begins to unravel some of the mystery surrounding her grandmother and the famous fairy-tale story collection her grandmother wrote. These tales describe the Hinterland — a place not full of beautiful princesses who live happily ever after, but of a woman who carries around a bird that eats people’s souls so she can stay young, or of doors that appear through a blood sacrifice. The fairy tales are creepy and intriguing, but also as beautifully written as The Hazel Wood itself. The tales are woven into Alice’s story seamlessly. While this book won’t be released until January 28, 2018, it has already received many rave reviews and is stacking up to be an impressive debut from Melissa Albert.
For the little one in your life
What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom
When it’s too early to start the little ones on the Harry Potter series, try Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom’s New York Times award-winning What Do You Do With…? series. Since these are picture books, they don’t need to be read in a particular order. What Do You Do With a Chance? encourages children to be brave and take chances when they are offered to them. Plus, the illustrations include a cute fox!
For your romance-crazy sibling
Meet Cute is an anthology by 14 well-known young adult authors. Each short story is based on the first time couples meet and grapples with concepts of love — love at first sight, pre-destined soul mates and even, on a less cheery note, heartbreak. One of the things that made this book stand out to me was its range of diverse characters. There are characters of different races, same-sex relationships, a transgender character and people from locations of varying sizes. Instead of ringing in the New Year with cheesy Hallmark movies, pick up this book when it comes out January 2, 2018. Reading an anthology also gives you a glimpse of each author’s writing style.
For the graphic novel addict
This graphic novel is a Pied Piper retelling by the author of 13 Reasons Why. Maggie lives away from her village after being shunned for being deaf. Isolated, she often invents imaginative stories that are illustrated throughout the novel. When she meets Piper it seems she has finally found someone to be with, but as she gets to know him, she realizes he may not be what she had hoped for. While there is a bit of romance, it is mainly a dark fantasy and the illustrations lend to it perfectly. The edges are in black and blue with the old German setting being depicted in duller hues. Piper’s vengefulness is visually shown in a way that adds to the book’s mood as well. Whether you are already a fan of graphic novels or a skeptic, this would be a worthy, fast read.
For the photography lover or world traveler
The Atlas of Beauty by Mihela Noroc
I first discovered Mihela Noroc on Facebook from her photography page, The Atlas of Beauty. She travels all around the world capturing images of women in their everyday lives. These features, along with ones not posted on social media, were bound together in this book. Over 500 photos show a diverse range of women of all different races, sizes, class, age or occupation. Reading their stories and seeing the differences between them is inspiring, beautiful and something worth talking about. Seeing their different cultures motivated me to want to travel and see the world beyond the brief glimpse into their lives.
For those seeking a haunting memoir
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien
This memoir is not for the faint of heart. Maude’s father “adopted” her mother when she was around six years old and raised her mother until an age he felt it was time to create a “superhuman child” which would be Maude. From there, Maude’s isolated childhood was not pleasant. Her father experimented with turning her into the perfect child by educating her and ultimately controlling her life. His rules to raise her even included not smiling because he claimed only fools smile. This is the story of Maude’s experience and how she was able to escape such a traumatic childhood. If you read A Child Called ‘It’ and want another heartbreaking memoir, there is a spot on your shelf for this book. Since Maude is French, it was translated by Adriana Hunter and will be out December 12.
For the history buff
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy
If you were a fan of Hidden Figures, this is the book for you. As the title implies, this nonfiction book tells the forgotten story of women who stepped up during WWII to become code-breakers while the men were off to war. The book mainly follows two women’s stories — Ruth and Dot. This job was very empowering, but also emotionally tolling. They could not always tell their families what they were doing and sometimes the codes they broke would imply the places where their family members were stationed were in danger, but they could not do anything. The book switches between talking about Army codes and Navy codes, providing a wide variety of experiences. This is mainly because of the large amount of sources Mundy used. She studied government documents and old news reports, videos, books and most importantly interviews with women who did those jobs. For those looking to learn more about WWII, not the battles, this book gives a detailed education about one of the home front jobs that is often forgotten.
There are so many other books out there that would make for a great read over break. If none of these appeal to you, I recommend searching online for book release articles in a genre you prefer. Lists of books are always being put together such as ones by the New York Times, Bustle Books and the Guardian. Whether you’re browsing as a gift-giver or for yourself, I guarantee there are new books you’ll love to give or get for the holidays.
Thank you to NetGalley and their partnering publishing houses for providing me with advanced reader copies in exchange for honest reviews.
Cover photo by Katie Boni
Leave a Reply