Not Just For the Holiday Season: Book Recommendations

Can you believe it is that time of the year again? The Christmas lights are out, trees are being hoisted onto car tops and taken home, suddenly hot chocolate and apple cider are all I want to drink and pine is all I want to smell.  It’s incredible how quickly time flies, but alas, December is upon us, and with that – the holiday season. So, below are a few quick book recommendations for people in your lives (though none of these are holiday specific, they’re just books that should be read!).*


For the adults

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Also just released Wenjack which will be an upcoming purchase I am sure)

This book is probably one of the best books I have ever read…ever, in my life.  I could not believe how incredible the story telling was.  Boyden’s other works are excellent, but something about The Orenda was just so incredibly compelling.  The emotion it evokes, the attachment you feel to characters, everything about it –  the writing is remarkable –  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Undermajordomo Minor & The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

DeWitt has a very unique way of telling a story, or he just has unique stories to tell.  Both are just quirkly easy stories to read, they’re fun but they’re still really interesting.  I would say I preferred The Sisters Brothers but Undermajordomo Minor is just such a one of a kind story that you have to appreciate it.

Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith

So far there are three books in this series which follows private investigator Cormoran Strike.  I definitely got pulled in originally because of my love for J.K. Rowling, but I stuck around because of how much I genuinely enjoyed the books.  They’re fun mysteries, no obscene gore, no creepy paranormal stuff, just good old solve a murder mysteries.  Read it before the TV series comes out!

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

In 2013 this book was super hyped, but for good reason.  I think the author at the time was 28? Anyhow, I was intrigued by that and was not disappointed.  Her writing style is really unique and the way she labels each chapter.  It’s NOT an easy read, it’s long and not one I was able to read for hours on end, but definitely felt a sense of accomplishment at the end.  So, if you have a reader that just devours everything, this may be the right book for them.

Anchorboy by Jay Onrait

OK, this book again isn’t new, in fact Onrait has released a second book since Anchorboy’s release but this book is just plain old freakin’ hilarious.  Maybe more relevant to the sports lover in your life, but I think anyone could appreciate its humour.  I read this while working at a bookstore and it was one of those books that got me laughing out loud…a lot, I probably looked/sounded a little nuts but I sold so many copies of this book.  Just, so fun to read.

Paris by Edward Rutherford

For the history buff, Rutherford presents historical fiction so well (as does Ken Follett if that’s the genre you’re looking for).  I love how real history can meld into these epic stories as cities progress from inception to modern day.  There are several books written by Rutherford, I haven’t read them all – but based on the ones I have read I would say they’re definitely worth a gift to someone who likes a slightly more in depth read and history.

For the young adult

(you know what though, really, for anyone YA is such a funny category, let’s be real, it appeals to more than just the high teen young twenty crew)

The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

It has magic, friendship, ghosts, adventure, and a tiny bit of romance- for a young adults marketed book I think it offers a lot to storytelling.  All four books of the series have been released, if your book lover hasn’t discovered this series yet – please get them started! Authors who can come up with these elaborate stories always amaze me, where the imagination can take a person is just remarkable and Stiefvater takes you into her world so well.  They’re easy reads, 4 books in the series, good for the reader who wants a little bit of everything.

The Universe Versus Alex Wood by Gavin Extense

I’ve seen this book marketed as both just fiction and YA, I’m not sure which one I think is more “appropriate” but it’s an easy fun read that isn’t your (what would maybe today be considered typical YA dystopian) YA book.  Alex Wood gets hit in the head by a piece of a meteorite and this changes the trajectory of his life in some pretty amusing ways.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Again, not (I don’t think anyhow) a typical YA novel, super easy read but good story none the less.  Definitely good for a reader looking to get away from a strictly romance novel, it has a little bit of mystery, it’s a good read.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sticking with the maybe not a traditional YA novel theme.  Not because it’s an easy read, but the story is something I would have enjoyed as a teen. The story is told through a girl living during WW2 and a journalist living in Paris in 2002. Very intriguing, I think as a book it offers a lot of substance.

For the kids

Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series

There isn’t too much to say here, except that if you’re buying for someone who has yet to experience either of these series – just GET ON IT ALREADY.

The Sky is Falling by Kit Pearson

Book one of a trilogy following siblings Norah and Gavin as they are sent to Toronto during WW2.  It’s just a unique series, it offers history of a dark time but in an appropriate way for a younger reader.

To Dance at the Palais Royale by Janet McNaughton

I still remember this book, it was given to me as a child, so it’s not a new release by any means, but it was fan-flipping-tastic.  Definitely geared towards female readers, but who am I to establish socially constructed norms on books.  If you can find it, get it, and possibly read it with the kid you bought it for if you haven’t read it yourself.


*Can I just make a disclaimer that a lot of the books mentioned above are interchangeable.  For instance, if you have an adult in your life who has yet to read Harry Potter – get it for them! The kid recs are definitely books you could read with a child and thoroughly enjoy.  It’s just all based on reading level, interest, and my personal opinions.




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