Hot book picks for the holiday season

By David Enyeart

Books make great gifts, providing hours of entertainment. They’re easy to wrap. And you can borrow them and read them yourself in January if you play your cards right.

Next Chapter Booksellers is full of great ideas for everyone on your list. Here are a few picks:

For the reader who’s read everything: This fall sees new novels from Louise Erdrich, Colson Whitehead, Anthony Doerr and Elizabeth Strout. And don’t miss “The Island of Missing Trees” by Elif Shafak. Her new novel begins with two teenaged lovers on Cyprus, torn apart when the island is plunged into civil war, and continues through the decades in a moving saga of family, nature and home.

For teen readers: “Iron Widow” is a thrilling space opera blended with Chinese mythology. It’s packed with enough revenge and adventure to keep even the most connected teen off their phone for a few hours.

For young readers: Oliver Jeffers’ new picture book “There’s A Ghost in This House” brings his amazing art to kids with a taste for the spooky (but not scary). And “Gender-Swapped Fairy Tales” is an heirloom collection of all the stories you know in freshly retold style to make readers young and old look at these tales anew.

For music lovers: Paul McCart­ney’s epic “Lyrics” collects the words to every song he’s written, plus the stories and sometimes even the art behind the music. It’s a must-have for any fan.

For a broader picture, check out Kalefa Sanneh’s “Major Labels: A History of Music in Seven Genres.” The New Yorker critic looks at rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance music and pop, showing how they have influenced each other over the years.

For nature lovers: “Diary of a Young Naturalist” is a close look at a year in Northern Ireland written by Dara McAnulty, a 16-year-old climate activist with autism. Whether he’s writing about family and school or birds and fish, he shows us the wonder in the world.

For food lovers: Molly Baz has taken the skills she learned at Bon Appetit and distilled them into her gorgeous cookbook “Cook This Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes to Repeat” will inspire cooks through the long winter nights. And “Shelf-Love” from Noor Murad and the crew at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen teaches you how to combine pantry staples into epic meals.

Want some more ideas tailored to your shopping list?

Our shelves are packed with great new books. Come in today while the selection is most plentiful and at its largest, and our friendly staff will help you find a great book for every­one this holiday season. 

David Enyeart has worked in the book industry for more than 25 years and is currently the manager of Next Chapter Booksellers in St. Paul.

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