Holiday Gift Guide 2020

November is the new December! The holiday season this year is going to be weird (just like…literally everything this year), and we’re hoping you’ve spared a thought or two for those other holidays that are coming up real quick after it. Have you started making your lists? Maybe not quite at the point of checking them twice, yet. We understand. So we're here to help you with a list of books that will make fantastic gifts for anyone on your list this year!

Why now? Usually you can order books up through mid-December and know they’ll get to you in time. But this year, things are slower. And it’s going to make stocking your…er, stockings, a little more difficult. There are only two printers still working at capacity, which means they are overwhelmed with print orders and behind on making books. These delays are only going to get more and more drastic as we advance through the holiday season and more books come out. And then, of course, the books have to be shipped, and, as you know, the USPS is under siege right now and other fulfillment centers are overwhelmed and will become moreso as more packages get ordered for the holidays.

Basically, there’s kind of a pandemic/printing/postal service perfect storm that is going to make getting books this Christmas very slow.

So order now. Order early. Order as early as you possibly can. And we'll do our very best to get your gifts out on time. We can't guarantee anything this year, but we will certainly try our hardest. We're putting on our Santa hats and lighting up our candles to brighten the way. Let's do this!

 

A Promised Land Cover Image
$45.00
ISBN: 9781524763169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - November 17th, 2020

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Remember 2018, when Becoming was so hard to find we posted our Christmas Miracle of 10 of them showing up on Christmas Eve? This is going to be just as wild. But if you get your order in before the rush, we’re much more likely to have enough copies to cover as many as you need.


The Lying Life of Adults Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
$26.00
ISBN: 9781609455910
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2020

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

Already on the shelves, this literary, coming-of-age novel is going to be a huge book club pick next year. Get the book club ladies in your life started early!


Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525658184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

This literary family story about the powerful pull between science and religion is a must-read for anyone who read Gyasi’s Homegoing and needed more.


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Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781534437678
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - October 13th, 2020

Elliot's Holiday Staff Pick:

Looking for an epic fantasy? This one has it all. After reading countless epic fantasy novels with strong European influences Black Sun brings a refreshing take to the genre with a story influenced by indigenous cultures of the Americas. It is a world filled with subtle magic, cities in cliffs, oceanic canoes, giant crows, intriguing politics, and vengeful gods. The only thing I didn't love is that now I have to wait for more.

Another staff favorite; Allison, Elliot, Megan, and Teresa all could not put this book down and were not satisfied until they could all scream about it with each other. Rebecca Roanhorse is an auto-buy for some of us, but this opening novel of a new trilogy just proves how utterly genius this fantastic author is. Gift this book to anyone on your list looking for fresh, new fantasy, dark magic, diverse characters, and a story that digs in and doesn’t let go.


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Louis Cover Image
By Tom Lichtenheld, Julie Rowan-Zoch (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781328498069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 6th, 2020

Susie's Holiday Staff Pick:

A beloved teddy can bear it no longer and plots his escape from his owner’s suffocating affections in this laugh-out-loud picture book from New York Times best-selling creator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Steam Train Dream Train fame, Tom Lichtenheld.

Illustrated by our very own bookseller and story-time guru, Julie, Louis is an adorable story for any kiddo with a teddy bear they love–so, you know, every kiddo. It’s endearing and (even though we’re a little biased) the illustrations are simply gorgeous.


Mexican Gothic Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525620785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - June 30th, 2020

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

A staff favorite this year, Mexican Gothic is a haunted-house horror novel that might be more suited to Spooky Season than Holiday Season, but it will make the perfect gift for those readers on your list looking for a good spine-tingle. Allison, Tara, Elliot, and Teresa all can’t say enough good things about this book, from the unsettling setting and the intriguing characters to the gorgeous prose.


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Legendborn Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534441606
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 15th, 2020

Revati's Holiday Staff Pick:

I know this was already a pick of mine a month ago, but I don’t care! I love this fresh fantasy that will be a great gift for a teen or just someone that is looking for a great story. There is prefect mix of magic, Arthurian legend and the reality of a Black teen in a Southern college.


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Bonds of Brass: Book One of The Bloodright Trilogy Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593128893
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - April 7th, 2020

Megan's Holiday Staff Pick:

A high-octane, adrenaline-rush adventure feature queer rep, dastardly piloting, the best girl ever to wield a rainbow umbrella, and the minivan of spaceships, Bonds of Brass is a little bit of everything I love stuffed between two covers. If you like hotshot pilots, slow-burn romance, roommates, galactic empires, revolution, and oh-so-many feelings, you will love this book, too. It's a perfect escape from this year.


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Ring Shout Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250767028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - October 13th, 2020

Allison's Holiday Staff Pick:

For that friend who loved Ballad of Black Tom or Lovecraft Country and somehow really enjoys both gun-slinging ladies and body horror.

Another Spookier Season read, but trust us on this one: it’s damn good. For anyone on your list who is streaming Lovecraft Country and can’t get enough, anyone who loves twisted tales, or anyone who’s reading time is short (this book is slim, infinitely readable, and fast-paced). Ring Shout is a gorgeously, gruesomely crafted tale that is poised to take up residence in your mind and keep you thinking about it for days after you close the covers. Do not miss out.


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Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780374261177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - November 18th, 2014

Kelvin's Holiday Staff PIck:

Another example of beautiful book design, Area X collects Vandermeer's three Southern Reach Trilogy novels Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, first published as paperback originals, together in an artful, moderately priced hardcover edition. The honest truth is I decided to buy this book primarily because of its cover, but also because I was hooked by the first novel's first sentence. I have not been disappointed since.


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The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250238900
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - February 11th, 2020

Allison's Holiday Staf Pick:

For your friend or family member who really needs to branch out beyond Rothfuss and Sanderson and who always feeds you that "can't find any good new epic fantasy" line. Alternately, for your fantasy-loving friends with dank senses of humor.


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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780765387561
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - October 6th, 2020

Tara's Holiday Staff Pick:

Sometimes I get scared to start a book. Usually this is due to the length of the book and the reviews that the book is getting (nothing is worse than being let down by a book that you think you will love). I had both of these fears and more when I started Addie but I am so glad that I read it. This book is a beautiful look at life and love and what it means to be human.


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Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593083338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - March 10th, 2020

Elliot's Holiday Staff Pick:

Rebecca Solnit has long been a treasure of the essay world, with books like Men Explain Things To Me and Hope in the Dark propelling her to the forefront of the current cultural dialogue. In her long awaited memoir she chronicles her life in San Fransisco and her ascension as a writer. Deeply vulnerable, unflinchingly honest, and fiercely feminist this memoir has the raw and astute writing Solnit has become known for in her essays mixed with the revealing and sometimes raw story of how she has hop-scotched her way from there to here.


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The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780812998528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - December 3rd, 2019

Kelvin's Holiday Staff Pick:

Ellison traces his life as a young man through his years as a literary celebrity and beyond. Collected together, Ellison's elegant, deeply personal, and illustrative letters make one of the best such collections published in 2020. Quite simply a beautiful book, inside and out.


Solutions and Other Problems Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982156947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - September 22nd, 2020

For the first time in seven years, Allie Brosh—beloved author and artist of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller Hyperbole and a Half—returns with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays. Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

Worth the wait, Solutions and Other Problems is another highly relatable, deeply insightful, extremely funny, truly poignant set of visual essays from the ever-amazing Allie Brosh. For the people on your list who love a funny memoir but aren’t afraid to possibly cry while reading.


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Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery: A Home Cookbook Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781419747489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 29th, 2020

Revati's Holiday Staff Pick:

Yeooow!!! It’s Matty Matheson! If you’ve seen any of Matty’s amazing cooking videos, I highly recommend them to get re-energized to start cooking. Yes, he is BIG butter believer, but his food is worth it. This book has so many good recipes to choose from, especially since we’re headed into some cold weather.


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Simply Delicious Vegan: 100 Plant-Based Recipes by the creator of From My Bowl Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9781419747571
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Abrams - December 8th, 2020

Tara's Holiday Staff Pick:

I’ve used Caitlin’s recipes for years now and absolutely love them! These recipes are all vegan and easy. No obscure ingredients and no ingredients that will break the bank. If you have a vegan friend, are interested in changing up your kitchen routine, or are interested in going vegan yourself, this book is for you!


Humans Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781250114297
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 6th, 2020

Traveling to more than forty countries, Brandon Stanton conducted interviews across continents, borders, and language barriers. Humans is the definitive catalogue of these travels. The faces and locations will vary from page to page, but the stories will feel deeply familiar. Told with candor and intimacy, Humans will resonate with readers across the globe—providing a portrait of our shared experience.

From the creator of HONY, this gorgeous book is full of stories not just about the human of New York, but instead about people everywhere. An insightful glance into what humanity really means, these stories will settle in your soul remind you that we are all connected. This is the perfect gift book for literally anyone.


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Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316449823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - October 20th, 2020

Teresa's Holiday Staff Pick:

Prepare to laugh out loud as you re-live all the nostalgic movies you grew up watching & loving as West comments on everything from characters to setting to plot holes. Each movie must compete with her favorite movie of all time, THE FUGITIVE, which ironically I have never seen. Each essay had me cackling out loud and interrupting my husband with snippets I just had to read out loud.


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Not a Thing to Comfort You (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609386818
Availability: Available to Order (3-7 business days)
Published: University Of Iowa Press - October 15th, 2019

Julie's Holiday Staff Pick:

I don't regularly read much fiction, but I have much praise for this collection of creative and funny short stories. Each piece draws the reader in with the first paragraph. I would recommend this as a gift for any of your friends who appreciate the natural world and darn good writing!


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The Midnight Bargain Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781645660071
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Erewhon - October 13th, 2020

Megan's Holiday Staff Pick:

CL Polk's historical-ish fantasy books never cease to delight me--and THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN is no exception. The echoes of our own world's history ripple across a new society and a new story full of romance, friendship, and magic. Fierce, independent women--and the lengths they'll go to to preserve that independence--take center stage in a tale with all the wit and charm of an Austen novel. I could not put the book down.


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The Arrest: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062938787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - November 10th, 2020

Kelvin's Holiday Staff Pick:

In a year when it was hard to make sense of everything, I read almost no books written ostensibly to help me do so. Thankfully, Lethem's imagination has always seemed at home in such times. His latest novel, while not exactly comforting, can be read not only for pleasure but perhaps as a strange, speculative lesson on how to live in and cope with a sudden new normal.


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The Roommate Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593101605
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - September 15th, 2020

Teresa's Holiday Staff Pick:

When Clara Wheaton upends her picture perfect WASPy life on the east coast to follow the love of her life she shocks everyone, herself included. When the love of her life leaves her to hit the road for his band, hours after she has landed in LA, Clara decides to tuck tail and run home. Her new, gorgeous, perceptive roommate, Josh, convinces Clara to stay and figure out who she is without anyone telling her what to do. As it happens, Clara and Josh spend lots of time together that leads to longing glances and extreme sexual tension....one of the best romance books I have read that focuses on partner pleasure and female sexuality!


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You Had Me at Hola: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062959928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - August 4th, 2020

Teresa's Holiday Staff Pick:

When Jasmine Rodriguez is able to secure the role of leading lady in a new rom-com coming out she is thrilled to get distance herself from tabloid fodder thanks to her break-up. Enter Ashton Suarez, a gorgeous telenovela actor who is terrified his career is dead, as the leading male in the rom-com. A disastrous first meeting has both Jasmine and Ashton regretting their decision to join the movie BUT like always late night readings begin to make them re-think how they feel about (not to mention the super hot chemistry)...perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory!


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The Guest List: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020

Tara's Holiday Staff Pick:

For fans of And Then There Were None, this closed room murder mystery is the perfect gift! A murder happens on a secluded island while a wedding is taking place, quickly turning it from a celebration to a terrifying murder scene.  Every guest is a suspect.  Told from multiple perspectives, this is a thrilling and fast read.


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Barbarella  Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781643378831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Humanoids, Inc. - October 20th, 2020

Allison's Holiday Staff Pick:

New English translation of a zany classic from Kelly Sue DeConnick. For that sci-fi-loving family member who won't shut up about how High Life and Valerian are good movies, actually.

Jean-Claude Forest’s timeless Erotic Sci-Fi series recounting the spatial adventures of the the firece warrior Barbarella now collected in a brand new English-language adaptation by Kelly-Sue DeConnick. Barbarella’s spaceship breaks down, she finds herself trapped on the planet Lythion. There, she has a series of adventurous, and bawdy, encounters with a variety of strange beings, from robots to angels.
 


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Race to the Sun Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781368024662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - January 14th, 2020

Megan's Holiday Staff Pick:

Roanhorse crafts a stunning, epic tale of adventure and family that brings the history and stories of the Navajo people to a contemporary setting, with characters who feel real, a warm wit that had me laughing out loud, and a beautiful message about learning who you are--so long as you're brave enough to be that person.


The Princess in Black Cover Image
By Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780763678883
Availability: Available to Order (3-7 business days)
Published: Candlewick - April 14th, 2015

Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

With the stamp of approval from Teresa’s 5-year-old (and Teresa and Megan!), the Princess in Black is the perfect gift for any kid just starting to read on their own. Great for reading out loud with them and for them to reread and practice on their own, this whole series is a charming adventure for kids of all genders looking for a new superhero to love.


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The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol Cover Image
By Arthur A. Levine, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780763697419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - September 8th, 2020

Julie's Holiday Staff Pick:

Beautifully illustrated in rich, bright acrylics, Nate Godol appears as a grand new character just when we are desperate to embrace the joy of tradition and celebration. The story is one of community and connection, perfect to lift spirits and to underscore the importance and magic of giving, not just gifts.


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If You Come to Earth Cover Image
By Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781452137797
Availability: Available to Order (3-7 business days)
Published: Chronicle Books - September 15th, 2020

Julie's Holiday Staff Pick:

A book about a kid writing a letter to a kid from outer space explaining "what you need to know" about the planet we share. It's beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully constructed. It's a picture book for all ages, and it's long - with so much detail to pour over for hours and hours.


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Unicorns Are the Worst! Cover Image
By Alex Willan, Alex Willan (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534453838
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 29th, 2020

Teresa's Holiday Staff Pick:

Meet a grumpy goblin who thinks unicorns are the worst, especially when all he wants to do is be invited to hang with said unicorns. When a different creature enters the scene the goblin realizes that maybe unicorns aren't that bad.


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The Couch Potato Cover Image
By Jory John, Pete Oswald (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062954534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - November 3rd, 2020

Revati's Holiday Staff Pick:

Finally, a book that speaks to me.  Jory’s newest picture books has his classic humor and Pete Oswald once again delights with quirky illustrations. During this time when many of us don’t want to leave the comfort of our couch, sharing this book with a little one will be an excellent idea.


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Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (D&D Rules Expansion) (Dungeons & Dragons) Cover Image
$49.95
ISBN: 9780786967025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wizards of the Coast - November 17th, 2020

Elliot's Holiday Staff Pick:

The perfect gift for the D&D gamer in your life, or maybe yourself if you want something to make your game nights even more merry and bright. This compendium is chock full of goodies for newcomers and seasoned travelers alike. Expanded subclasses and character building options, including feats and traits, to help you customize to your heart’s content. Patrons, puzzles, and monsters to expand your world. Artifacts, spells, and enchanted tattoos to add more magic to the mix. This book has it all.