For either the bookworm or the rare reader, discover doorways to new worlds with this list of pageturners
During the holidays, one of the most truly relaxing things you can do is curl up with a book—either snuggled by the Christmas tree with a warm mug of something—or on holiday, lying by the beach.
As you buff up your Christmas gift list, change it up and mix some literary gems in. We’ve put together a list for every family member or friend you can think of—from your religious aunt to your gamer boyfriend.
Read on to discover a list of unputdownable reads, with a title for every taste.
1. For the fashion girlie:
Shocking: The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli by Emmanuelle De L’Ecotais
Between World War I and II, couturière Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) revolutionalized the world of Paris fashion. She began making waves with her first collection of knitwear in 1927, adorned with optical illusion motifs. All the way till the opening of Maison Schiaparelli in the Place Vendôme.
The designer went against the grain with themes that ranged from circuses to astrology. She also worked with artists like Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí (they collaborated on a lobster dress).
In a volume filled with vintage photographs and recent write-ups, this book was released along with the August 2022 major exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, perfect for the admirers of couture, and that imaginative “Schiap” style.
2. For the romantic:
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
If you’re on Apple TV+, you’ve likely seen a preview of Brie Larson strutting through a 1950s kitchen, as both a chemist and television host. Since the novel was published last April 2022, it soared to dizzying success. In just a year, it has been adapted to a full miniseries.
Keep in mind, this is after author Bonnie Garmus was rejected for publishing nearly 100 times.
Set in 1960s Southern California, the story explores the life of a female chemist, navigating discrimination, love, loss, and the many twists and turns of life.
3. For the science fiction fanatic:
The Dimensions of a Cave by Greg Jackson
This book earned its place on the New York Times list of the best books of 2023. Granted, this list of modern literature is slightly more sophisticated than your average book list.
The first novel of one of Granta’s awarded Best of Young American Novelists, Jackson weaves a metaphysical thriller that references Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness.
Following the adventure of an investigative reporter, what makes this novel relevant are the themes that relate so much to our world today: those intertwining networks of power, the new technologies of artificial intelligence, corruption – and all the dangers these entail.
4. For the religious aunt:
Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour by Michael P. Foley
Brace yourself for an unconventional book of recipes. Within a framework of Christianity, author Michael P. Foley guides on how to imbibe alcohol in a godly way. In tune with both the revelry and holy essence of the holiday season—the pages list suggestions for beer, cocktails, and wines, aligned with the feast days of the Catholic church. You’ll also find a briefer on how religion has intertwined with alcohol through the ages, such as the story of the Trappist monks, known for brewing righteous beer.
The scholar has written humorous yet reverent books such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Christianity, as well as a four-volume work on St. Augustine’s early dialogues.
5. For the gamer:
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
I must espouse this as my personal favorite. I can read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow again, and again, and again.
What exactly goes behind the making of a video game? Besides the involved tech of coding and the painstaking job of art-making, there are humans behind each mod.
Since her breakout book Elsewhere, Gabrielle Zevin has been known for writing novels that deeply strike the soul. In this New York Times and Amazon Bestseller, follow the lives of Sam and Sadie, creative partners immersed in the world of video game design.
The book reads with the same kind of excitement as playing a game, and even for those who have never touched a console, the details of life and its relationships are something we all come across in a way that one can relate to.
6. For the K-drama fan
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
You might have seen the TV version of this drama on your screen. Based on the wildly successful 2017 novel by Min Jin Lee, this epic saga sweeps through four generations of a Korean Family. The pages travel with the characters from the Korean countryside, all the way to a new life in Japan. With each chapter comes getting to know each character in fuller depth.
Touching on issues of displacement, racism, and war, as well as experiences of faith, family, and time—the book translates a universal experience of life. With simple, elegant prose, and a riveting narrative, the book is a deserving recipient of its accolades as a National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Besteller.
7. For the Culture Vulture
Claudio Bravo: Sojourn in Manila by Cid Reyes, Liliane Rejante Manahan
When Chilean painter Claudio Bravo came to the Philippines in the early 1970s, he shook up a storm. As society women sat for their portrait, Bravo was steadily carving a new niche for hyperrealist paintings in the Philippines. This changed the landscape of art in the country.
In this catalog documenting the 2012 exhibition of the painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the pages document striking images done by the painter, as well as fascinating anecdotes of his sojourn through Philippine shores.