The holidays are fast approaching and it’s not just the festive lights that have us excited—it’s the prospect of unwrapping stories that transport us to worlds both known and unknown. Curious about the books topping your holiday wish lists, we reached out to our vibrant community of readers across Facebook and Instagram. You responded with enthusiasm, sharing the titles that have touched your souls and sparked your imaginations throughout the year. Here are the top books that you, our fellow bibliophiles, are hoping to find wrapped and waiting for you this season.
When Oprah recommends it, you just know it’s going to be on gift lists everywhere. And when it’s an Oprah Book Club pick from a two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow, you realize you should probably add it to your list if it isn’t there already!
LET US DESCEND is a poignant tale of American slavery, tracing the agonizing journey of Annis from the rice fields of the Carolinas to a brutal Louisiana sugar plantation. As she endures the march and the loss of her past, Annis finds solace in ancestral spirits and her own resilience, leading readers from the depths of despair to a narrative of rebirth and self-reclamation.
From Jesmyn Ward—the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow—comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War.
“‘Let us descend,’ the poet now began, ‘and enter this blind world.’” —Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.
Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.
From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.
Britney Spears’s memoir comes just two years after millions listened as she spoke about her life under a conservatorship in open court. THE WOMAN IN ME is about the enduring power of music and love, and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms. This is a memoir that’s bound to have an impact on people everywhere, from the millennials who were raised on Britney’s music to anyone who can relate to themes of survival, faith, and hope.
The Woman in Me is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope.
In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. The Woman in Me reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history.
Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.
I WILL FIND YOU centers on a high-stakes, emotionally charged narrative involving an innocent father serving a life sentence for the murder of his son, only to discover that his son might still be alive, pushing him to break out of prison to uncover the truth. This gripping premise and Coben’s penchant for propulsive action and intricate character dynamics will put this book in the gift piles of countless thriller genre fans.
Trending on TikTok, IT ENDS WITH US is an impactful and heartbreaking novel about the reappearance of Lily’s first love, who threatens the new romance she has begun to build with the mysterious, relationship-averse neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid. Any reader deeply entrenched in BookTok (we know we definitely are!) is bound to have some Colleen Hoover gems on their gift wish list this year!
In this “brave and heartbreaking novel that digs its claws into you and doesn’t let go, long after you’ve finished it” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author) from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All Your Perfects, a workaholic with a too-good-to-be-true romance can’t stop thinking about her first love.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life seems too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
An honest, evocative, and tender novel, It Ends with Us is “a glorious and touching read, a forever keeper. The kind of book that gets handed down” (USA TODAY).
We expect COMFORT OF CROWS by Margaret Renkl to be a cherished gift this year for its serene and reflective take on the natural world and the comforts it offers against the chaotic backdrop of modern life. Renkl’s essays, spread across 52 chapters, offer a meditative journey through the seasons in her own backyard, serving as a reminder of the world’s cyclical nature and its subtle, profound changes. The book provides a welcome respite and a sense of balance, particularly resonant in these times when the need to connect with nature and find solace in its rhythms is more acute than ever.
Dahlia Adler’s latest work offers an engaging and diverse reading experience with queer young adult romantic comedy representation that we don’t get to see often enough. The book has been described as a Sliding Doors–style narrative, where the protagonist must choose between spending the summer in New York City with her father and the girl she has a crush on, or in Los Angeles with her estranged mother and a surprising new love interest. With its brilliant execution of a high concept—and Adler’s signature elements of romance, wit, and emotional depth—it’s clear why so many are hoping to unwrap this must-read.
Following the success of THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, it’s no wonder that Ali Hazelwood’s new book CHECK & MATE is anticipated to be a delightful read for those who enjoy a blend of romance, rivalry, and heartfelt storytelling. The book follows rival chess players as they come together in a match that extends beyond the game. It has been lauded as Ali Hazelwood’s best book yet, with snappy banter, clever characters, and a crackling enemies-to-lovers romance.
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