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Last Minute Gift Recommendations Based On What You Gave Them Last Year

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Valerie Michael

Staff Writer

Valerie Michael is a book-ish, outdoors-y, burger-eating, beer-drinking scientist from Pittsburgh, PA. She is obsessed with books and hiking in equal measure and she’d be happy to show you pictures on her iPhone of her two dogs. Follow her on Twitter @valeriexcm.

I give out a lot of books as gifts. A lot. Pretty much, if I’m getting you a gift, expect it to be a book. If you are like me, that means that you gave out a lot of books last year and you are going to do the same this holiday.

Here are some quick 2015 book recommendations based on the 2014 books you gave to people. Assuming, of course, that they liked the book you gave them last year!

all the light we cannot seeIf last year you got them:The Nightingale

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This year get them:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Quick reason: Both hugely popular World War Two novels featuring tales of children.


bad feministIf last year you got them:You Don't Have to Like Me

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

This year get them:

You Don’t Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent

Quick reason: Excellent, accessible, fun essays about feminism.


Liar Temptress Soldier Spy- Four Women Undercover in the Civil WarIf last year you got them:The Witches

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

This year get them:

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

Quick reason: Hard-to-put down, thorough alternative histories of women in America.


sixth extinctionIf last year you got them:rain

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

This year get them:

Rain: A Cultural and Natural History by Cynthia Barnett

Quick reason: Great science writing that is concerned with the environment.


station-elevenIf last year you got them:The Heart Goes Last

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This year get them:

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Quick reason: Imaginative speculative fiction about what happens when society as we know it collapses.


euphoria-lily-kingIf last year you got them:fates and furies

Euphoria by Lily King

This year get them:

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Quick reason: Both novels feature close, unflinching views of marriage and relationships.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NgIf last year you got them:In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This year get them:

In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib

Quick reason: Both novels examine what happens in a family after the loss of a child and deal with issues of race.


RedeploymentIf last year you got them:THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO- STORIES by Anthony Marra

Redeployment by Phil Klay

This year get them:

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Quick reason: Masterful short stories that deal with the impact of war.



Being Mortal by Atul GawandeIf last year you got them:Smoke Gets In Your Eyes- Lessons from the Crematory

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This year get them:

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Quick reason: Thoughtful writing on death and dying in our current medical system and our modern cultural approach to death.

yes pleaseIf last year you got them:Dear Mr You Mary-Louise Parker

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This year get them:

Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise Parker

Quick reason: The best female celebrity memoirs of each year, in my professional opinion. Both are just excellent and reflect the women’s personalities.

the unamericansIf last year you got them:in the country

The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

This year get them:

In The Country by Mia Alvar

Quick reasons: Beautiful short stories from diverse perspectives.