Thursday, December 5, 2019

12 Days of Giving: Books for the Adults in Your Life

Although I specialize in kidlit here on the blog, I read books for adults, too. If you've got a reader on your gift list this year, remember that you can never go wrong with a gift subscription to Book of the Month (link goes to my referral code so you get a special deal and I get a free book credit). OR treat yourself (nothing wrong with that!). Book of the Month lets you choose a book each month from a selection of five titles. It is super easy to skip a month, so you are never stuck choosing something you're not super excited about. 

Or if you prefer to give a physical book, might I suggest one of these: 

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball (Scribner, 2010). This delightful memoir is a love story between two people and also a love story between a former city girl and her new farm home. When city girl Kristin Kimball fell in love with farmer Mark, she plunged headlong into starting a farm and creating a new kind of CSA model from scratch. They aimed to provide a complete pantry to their members, not just vegetables but beef, chicken, pork, eggs, sweetener, cheese, milk, and more. This is a memoir as romantic as it is realist - Kimball's not shy about the amount of work that went into creating their dream farm. This is a book that's entertaining, informative, and surprisingly moving. 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper, 2019). I am a huge fan of Ann Patchett and I loved her latest novel. Narrated by Danny, a baby when his mother left and a small child when his father remarried a woman who never really accepted him and his sister, the tale follows Danny and his biological sister Maeve as they grow up and experience Circumstances. It's a multigenerational tale about not only their family but the huge house that Danny's father bought for them to grow up in - a mansion they call The Dutch House. It's the kind of book that you can curl up with and sink your teeth into, perfect for winter reading under a blanket by the fireplace (or the Netflix fireplace if you're like me and don't have a real one) and a great gift for readers of literary fiction. 

Educated by Tara Westover (Random House, 2018). I absolutely could not put this memoir down and I read it in almost one sitting (which I very seldom do). It's the true story of Westover's childhood growing up in off-the-grid Idaho with her conservative, end-of-days prepper parents. She never saw a doctor, never went to school (not even homeschool), and suffered physical and mental abuse until she decided that her only way out was to go to college. So she taught herself and took the ACT and ended up going on to earn a PhD from Cambridge. It's a difficult read sometimes - Westover went through a lot of terrible stuff - but absolutely awe-inspiring and unputdownable. 

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (Ballantine Books, 2019). Recently widowed Evvie Drake rarely leaves her house. While everyone in town thinks that she's riddled with grief, she's actually riddled with guilt. On the afternoon her husband, the beloved town doctor, died, Evvie had been getting into a car to leave him. When Dean Tenney, major league baseball star, shows up looking for a place to lay low while he deals with "the yips", Evvie offers to rent him her guest house. They make one rule: no talking about Evvie's husband, no talking about baseball. But as they start to get to know each other and grow closer, that rule becomes harder and harder to keep. This is a heartwarming, charming story set in small-town Maine. It has a love story, but I wouldn't call it a romance novel. It's a great choice for readers of "chick lit". 

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Random House, 2019). Part true crime, part biography, this book tells the story of a book Harper Lee researched but never published. Reverend Willie Maxwell was accused of killing five family members for insurance money in the 1970s, but his savvy lawyer got him off. Harper Lee was there, sitting in on his trial and planning her own In Cold Blood, but she never published the book. This is a great read for true crime readers and/or anyone who loves Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Avon, 2019). After a near death experience (and a depressingly spare life flashing before her eyes), chronically-ill Chloe Brown decides to get a life and makes a list of experiences she wants to have, including enjoying a drunken night out, going camping, have meaningless (but enjoyable) sex, and doing something bad. Her building superintendent, sexy artist Redford, becomes entangled in helping her with her list and as they get to know each other, sparks start to fly. Fans of steamy romance novels (like The Kiss Quotient) will eat this one up.

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham (Simon & Schuster, 2019). This compelling nonfiction book tells the story of the horrific Chernobyl nuclear disaster. From the history of nuclear power in Russia to the events of that fateful night to the aftermath and ramifications of the explosion (some of which we're still figuring out), this book covers it all and tells it in a very readable way. Highly recommended for fans of readable nonfiction, particularly disaster stories. 

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl (Random House, 2019). Ruth Reichl, chef, food critic, and magazine editor here shares what she learned over her years of running Gourmet magazine. From knowing absolutely nothing about magazines to revolutionizing a publication that she had loved since childhood, Ruth shares what she learned as she took on this massive project. This is a wonderful read for readers who enjoy food memoirs.