Illustration: Emilie Simpson (Background)
One of the best things about book lovers is that we're always willing to share. And for the holidays, that means there's an opportunity to present the readers on your list (and maybe even yourself?) with something unique. With that in mind, we're offering up the books we love to give, and a few we'd like to see under our own Christmas trees.
TO GIVE: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Fiction)
My taste in books is infallible (wink), so I gift my all-time favourite. JSF's words are like caramel, a literary dessert to be savoured line by line, and I want my nearest and dearest to understand the context when I drop quotes like, "My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met" and "You can't love anything more than something you miss." Magic, right?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Mariner Books) by Jonathan Safran Foer, $22.50.
TO RECEIVE: Bibliophile (Nonfiction)
Bibliophile is a coffee table–worthy collector's item that the bookiest of book nerds (me! me! me!) can delight in. Jane Mount, known for her "Ideal Bookshelf" prints, delivers an illustrated peek into famous bookstores, portraits of top authors' pets, best-in-genre bookshelves and famous fictional meals, among many more literary bits and bites I can't wait to dig in to.
Bibliophile (Chronicle Books) by Jane Mount, $35.
TO GIVE: Something for Everyone (Short stories)
Whenever I gift or recommend a book, I try to pick something Canadian. In fact, most of my treasured novels come from authors who call Canada home. This year, I'll be giving this Giller Prize–nominated short-story collection. Much as the title suggests, anyone with a passion for storytelling or reading will find something to love in this imaginative and easy-reading compilation.
Something for Everyone (House of Anansi Press) By Lisa Moore, $23.
TO RECEIVE: The Lost Words (Picture book)
In 2007, the Oxford Junior Dictionary abandoned some 40 nature-inspired words in favour of tech-related ones, demonstrating the divide between modern-day children and the outdoors—bluebell and fern, for example, were replaced with words such as attachment and voicemail. This beautiful book is part reclamation and part appreciation, and a gentle reminder to disconnect from tech and reconnect with dandelions and willows.
The Lost Words (House of Anansi Press) by Robert Macfarlane, $40.
TO GIVE: Passing for Human (Graphic memoir)
One of the best things I read this year is going to my beloved friend. Passing for Human tells a beautifully illustrated story of the author Liana Finck's childhood, relationships and search for her true self, and illuminates the creative process as well as what it means to be a woman and an artist.
Passing for Human (Random House) by Liana Finck, $37.
TO RECEIVE: In Paris (Nonfiction)
I have a not-so-secret affinity for all things French (namely, croissants and Champagne), so I'm not so secretly lusting after In Paris to keep on my nightstand for whenever I need to be transported to the City of Light.
In Paris (Penguin) by Jeanne Damas and Lauren Bastide, $40.
TO GIVE: The Daughter of Time (Fiction)
I defy anyone not to love this book. Voted the greatest mystery novel of all time in 1990 by the U.K. Crime Writers' Association, this 1951 classic involves a Scotland Yard inspector, a portrait of a king and a legendary tale of intrigue. But it's so much more than an ordinary whodunit, and the subtleties within are why I love to gift it. The plot is ingenious, the topic fascinating and Josephine Tey's writing top notch. It's a winner all around.
The Daughter of Time (Arrow) by Josephine Tey, $17.
TO RECEIVE: Lethal White (Fiction)
This year, we had the TV adaptations of the first three excellent Robert Galbraith books come to us from across the pond, and I'm stoked to read the latest book in the series, which features the endearing London PI Cormoran Strike and his adorable partner, Robin Ellacott. Even more so after the cliffhanger of the last book left us with lingering feels about the complicated relationship between the two leads.
Lethal White (Little, Brown & Co.) by Robert Galbraith, $38.
Our Test Kitchen team knows firsthand about making great food for loved ones (including CL readers, of course!), but it turns out they're just as obsessed with trying new recipes from their favourite chefs as we are. Here, the staffers share their picks of the best new cookbooks of the season.
- Feast (HarperCollins) by Anissa Helou, $75.
- Cook Like a Pro (Clarkson Potter) by Ina Garten, $47.
- Cooking in Color (HarperCollins) by Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett, $40
- Jamie Cooks Italy (HarperCollins) by Jamie Oliver, $42.
- Ottolenghi Simple (Appetite) by Yotam Ottolenghi, $42.
OUR STAFF REVIEWERS
Sara Cation has wept her way through a litany of literary heartbreaks, from The Little Princeto A Little Life, but she's buoyed by the likes of Shteyngart and Safran Foer. She reads anything set in North Korea or India but never touches self-help or romances.
Alexandra Donaldson loves reading literary fiction, essay collections, dark humour, Canadian authors and magical realism. This, and the fact that she's one of our resident fashion editors, makes her the closest thing we have to Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Amanda Etty has an affinity for nail-biting thrillers and smart, funny books written by smart, funny women. She's always on the hunt for her next favourite novel, although she's currently working her way through a stack of parenting books (toddlers, right?).
Suzanne Moutis almost always has her nose in a book, be it Golden Age mystery, Second World War history or Hollywood tell-all. She unapologetically loves Regency romances and young adult fiction but flatly refuses to read anything that will make her cry.