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Staff Picks: 15 Books We Can’t Wait to Give as Holiday Gifts

November 16 2023
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The holiday season always provides a special opportunity to show appreciation for loved ones by presenting them with the perfect gift—which, obviously, means gifting the perfect book! This year, us at Off the Shelf thought long and hard about the loved ones in our lives and which books could potentially impact them the most, whether they’re navigating a new chapter in life, persevering through obstacles, or simply looking for an escape over the holidays. So, settle in, sip some cocoa, and read on about how we landed on the perfect books we know our friends and family will treasure.

For more gift ideas, check out Simon & Schuster’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Let Us Descend
by Jesmyn Ward

Heather’s Pick #1: For my fellow book club member and friend who always votes for the emotional reads, I’m wrapping up a copy of LET US DESCEND by Jesmyn Ward. An Oprah Book Club pick, it’s the heartbreaking story of an enslaved woman named Arese (though she usually goes by her nickname Annis) who’s torn away from her mother and then forced to march to another plantation in the years before the Civil War. During the arduous journey, she finds comfort and strength in visions of her mother and their ancestors. This beautifully written novel brims with love, grief, and hope, which can bloom in even the darkest of times.

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Let Us Descend
Jesmyn Ward

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.

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Tasting History
by Max Miller

Heather’s Pick #2: This year, I’m shopping for a few loved ones who enjoy cooking almost as much as they enjoy historical fun facts or traveling to far-off places. So I know I cannot go wrong with gifting them TASTING HISTORY by Max Miller. An offshoot of the hugely popular YouTube series Tasting History with Max Miller, this collection of sixty plus recipes promise a trip around the world . . . and back in time. Readers can learn how to make everything from a 1740 BC red beet stew to a 1570ish pumpkin tourte, because why simply read about the past when you can experience some of it for yourself?

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Tasting History
Max Miller

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Begin your very own food journey through the centuries and around the world with the first cookbook from the beloved YouTube channel Tasting History with Max Millera perfect gift for Father’s Day!

What began as a passion project when Max Miller was furloughed during Covid-19 has become a viral YouTube sensation. The Tasting History with Max Miller channel has thrilled food enthusiasts and history buffs alike as Miller recreates a dish from the past, often using historical recipes from vintage texts, but updated for modern kitchens as he tells stories behind the cuisine and culture. From ancient Rome to Ming China to medieval Europe and beyond, Miller has collected the best-loved recipes from around the world and has shared them with his fans. Now, with beautiful photographs portraying the dishes and historical artwork throughout, Tasting History compiles over sixty dishes such as:
-Tuh’u: a red beet stew with leeks dating back to 1740 BC
-Globi: deep-fried cheese balls with honey and poppy seeds
-Soul Cakes: yeasted buns with currants from circa 1600
-Pumpkin Tourte: a crustless pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon and sugar on top from 1570
-And much more.

Including the original recipe and Miller’s modern recreation, this cookbook is a must-have for any avid cook or history fan looking to experience delicious recipes from the past.

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The Woman in Me
by Britney Spears

Molly’s Pick: I’m giving every Millennial and Gen X woman in my life Britney’s memoir, THE WOMAN IN ME. It’s the book I had been anticipating most all year and it still exceeded my expectations. You’d think there wouldn’t be many revelations to hear from someone I’ve been low-key obsessed with since I was a tween, but I was not only surprised by the content of her memoir but by her prose. Her voice is clear and strong as she recounts her childhood and meteoric rise to fame, followed by her harrowing conservatorship and the battle she fought to free herself from it. The strength she exudes is something to behold and I think every woman can learn something from Britney, forever the Princess of Pop.

 

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The Woman in Me
Britney Spears

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.

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A Psalm for the Wild-Built
by Becky Chambers

Sara’s Pick: When you pick up a copy of Becky Chambers’s A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT, the first in the Monk and Robot duology, you might be confused. It’s a slim book, under two hundred pages, and yet, when I tell you that this novella-length book is life-changing, I do mean it sincerely. Dex is a monk living in a world where robots have decided to flee into the wild, leaving humanity to its own devices for centuries. But when Dex goes off in search of meaning, they meet Splendid Speckled Mosscap, a robot who is interested in reconnecting with humans. What follows is an exploration of life, meaning, and finding wonder in a world you think you know. And that is why I will be giving this book to many people this holiday season—in a time of ever-shifting tides, when strife seems to find us at every turn, this story is a reminder that life contains beauty in the same way it contains sorrow, and that you are enough by just being here to take it all in.

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A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Becky Chambers

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The Paris Daughter
by Kristin Harmel

Sharon’s Pick #1: My grandma is Kristin Harmel’s biggest fan. She adored THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES and THE FOREST OF VANSIHING STARS (and consistently asks me when I am going to read them), so it only made sense for me to grab her a copy of Kristin Harmel’s newest book, THE PARIS DAUGHTER, for the holidays.

Set in Paris at the onset of World War II, young mothers Elise and Juliette, along with their daughters, become fast friends. However, when Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with her daughter. At the war’s close, Elise returns to Paris to find Juliette’s bookshop reduced to rubble and Juliette vanished without a trace. Can Elise find Juliette and her daughter?

 

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The Paris Daughter
Kristin Harmel

From the bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names comes a gripping historical novel about two mothers who must make unthinkable choices in the face of the Nazi occupation.

Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe, neither woman suspects that their lives are about to irrevocably change.

When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des Rêves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.

More than a year later, with the war finally ending, Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble. Surviving neighbors tell her that Juliette and a little girl survived. But which little girl—and what happened in the bookstore’s final moments? Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her. Elise’s desperate quest to find out what happened to her daughter ultimately leads her to New York—and to Juliette—one final, fateful time.

An “exquisite and gut-wrenching novel” (Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author) you won’t soon forget, The Paris Daughter is also a sweeping celebration of resilience, motherhood, and love.

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Strange Sally Diamond
by Liz Nugent

Sharon’s Pick #2: What book do you gift to a person who will read anything? The answer is not as straightforward as you may think. My mom is a remarkably not picky reader and will enjoy any book in any genre as long as it grabs her attention from the start. However, this does not help narrow down the options for gift-giving.

I ultimately decided to pick STRANGE SALLY DIAMOND by Liz Nugent; the book begins with the main character attempting to incinerate her dead father, and you can’t grab someone’s attention faster than that! From there, my mom will certainly be hooked as she reads about how the protagonist attempts to discover memories from her repressed past and learns that people don’t always mean what they say.

 

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Strange Sally Diamond
Liz Nugent

The internationally bestselling author of the “dark, captivating psychological thriller” (People) Lying in Wait returns with a wickedly dark, twisted, and brilliantly observed new novel about an enigmatic woman confronting her unknown past.

Reclusive Sally Diamond causes outrage by trying to incinerate her dead father. Now she’s the center of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she does not remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her early childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends, big decisions, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say.

But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world, and why does he call her Mary? And why does her new neighbor seem to be obsessed with her? Sally’s trust issues are about to be severely challenged…

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The Cloisters
by Katy Hays

Sharon’s Pick #3: My best friend fell in love with the Met Cloisters when he visited it this year, and they have recently taken a particular interest in the art and artistry of tarot cards. Therefore, there was no better book to gift him this holiday season than Katy Hays’s thrilling debut novel, THE CLOISTERS. 

When Ann Stilwell is assigned to work at the Met Cloisters for her summer curatorial associate role, she finds herself working among a group of eccentric researchers who study the history of divination for a living. However, what begins as scholarly curiosity turns to a dangerous obsession as Ann uncovers a deck of fifteenth-century tarot cards that may hold the secret to predicting the future.

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The Cloisters
Katy Hays

A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick

This instant New York Times bestseller that is “captivating in every sense of the word” (Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author) follows a group of researchers uncovering a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York’s famed Met Cloisters.

When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when she discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a “masterwork of literary suspense that surges to an otherworldly conclusion” (Mark Prins, author of The Latinist).

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Juliet’s Pick #1: THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO is the perfect gift for just about anyone. Why? Because it’s incredible . . . and because I need more people to talk about this book with more people! In case you’re unfamiliar, this novel tells the story of reclusive former starlet Evelyn Hugo as she chooses unknown reporter Monique Grant to pen her scandalous life story, sparking an unexpected bond and career-defining opportunity for Monique. As Evelyn recounts her rise to fame, fierce ambition, and tumultuous personal life, Monique discovers their lives are poignantly connected.

It’s funny. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s surprising. It’s just beautiful. And if you yourself haven’t read it, hey—there’s nothing wrong with getting yourself a little gift this holiday season either! 

 

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Making It So
by Patrick Stewart

Juliet’s Pick #2: If you have a Sir Patrick Stewart fan in your life, I can’t think of a better gift than that of his long-awaited memoir, MAKING IT SO. And don’t let the title fool you, because while Trekkies will love it, this book is so much more than a recounting of his time as Jean-Luc Picard.

From his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim, the memoir paints a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life proves to be a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself.

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Making It So
Patrick Stewart

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER

The long-awaited memoir from iconic, beloved actor and living legend Sir Patrick Stewart!

From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendary onscreen work in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Sir Patrick Stewart has captivated audiences around the world and across multiple generations with his indelible command of stage and screen. Now, he presents his long-awaited memoir, Making It So, a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life—from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim—proves a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself.

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Heirloom Rooms
by Erin Napier

Juliet’s Pick #3: For the friend who has recently moved, is preparing for a big move, or just really loves the “Open Door” series from Architectural Digest, Erin Napier's book is a wonderful guide through the soul of a home. Her eloquent essays and intimate photographs celebrate not just the structure but the spirit of the spaces we inhabit. This book is a testament to the idea that a house is a living, breathing storybook, constantly accruing the rich text of our lives, and feels like walking through the front door of loved-in houses.

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Heirloom Rooms
Erin Napier

Erin Napier, designer, host of HGTV’s Home Town, and author of Make Something Good Today, returns with a gorgeously illustrated and one-of-a-kind celebration of the homes we live in and love.

Our homes are more than an assemblage of bricks and glass, wood and nails.

They are the keepers of our childhood memories, our milestones, and heartaches. They evolve as we do. As a family grows and eventually retracts, a home can change hands and begin again. We are the chapters in the book of a house. They carry on after we are gone, setting the stage for another story, a new life, new memories.

From Erin Napier, coauthor with her husband, Ben, of their memoir Make Something Good Today, comes a collection of essays walking us through every room in her home, telling the story of a family’s life, of the days that made their home the place she longs for when she’s away.

We learn about when they became the new owners of Erin’s dream house from childhood in downtown Laurel, Mississippi, and explore the beautiful homes of family, friends, and projects past in photographs.

With essays that evoke her Southern home, photos of the beautifully imperfect, lived-in spaces of her family and friends, and prompts for us to document our own homemade memories, Heirloom Rooms feels like walking through the front door of the collected and loved-in houses Erin and Ben are known for revitalizing in HGTV’s #1 hit series, Home Town.

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In the Form of a Question
by Amy Schneider

Emily’s Pick #1: It’s my family’s tradition to watch Jeopardy! every night after dinner. We all became Amy Schneider fans when she was crushing it, so of course I’ll be gifting her memoir to every member of my family. But I also think it’ll be a great gift for non-Jeopardy! fans, since this book contains so much more than just behind-the-scenes Jeopardy! facts. Schneider provides so many insightful tidbits about life in general, like how to live fearlessly and with endless curiosity. It’s an easy-to-read memoir that could also serve as an inspiring self-help book in that it discusses how to love and accept yourself and live life with kindness.

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In the Form of a Question
Amy Schneider

An inspirational and bold memoir from the most successful woman ever to compete on Jeopardy!—and an exploration of what it means to ask questions of the world and of yourself.

In eighth grade, Amy was voted “Most likely to appear on Jeopardy!” by her classmates. Decades later, this trailblazer finally got her chance. Not only did she walk away with $1.3 million while captivating the world with her impressive forty-game winning streak, but she made history and won an even greater prize—the joy of being herself on national television and blazing a trail for openly queer and transgender people around the world. Now, she shares her singular journey that led to becoming an unlikely icon and hero to millions. Her super power: Boundless curiosity and fearless questioning.

In the Form of a Question explores some of the innumerable topics that have fascinated Amy throughout her life—books and music, Tarot and astrology, popular culture and computers, sex and relationships—but they all share the same purpose: to illustrate, and celebrate, the results of a lifetime spent asking, why?

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Colleen Hoover Hopeless Boxed Set
by Colleen Hoover

Emily’s Pick #2: Many of my friends have read IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover and then ask me for ideas on what to read next, so I inevitably give them more recs from her extensive list of books. For the holidays I especially love to gift a book bundle, so I’m giving all Hoover fans in my life the Hopeless Boxed Set. It’s the perfect next read for a Colleen Hoover fan or for any readers who loves a compelling romantic storyline paired with a good cry. As we start the series, Sky, having been homeschooled her whole life, decides to shake things up her senior year and go to public school. Her reputation leads to bullying, but she’s more concerned with trying to fight the numb sensation that’s been accompanying her recently.

Something changes when she meets Holder, who has built up a reputation himself as a bad boy. Over the school year, their undeniable chemistry brings them together as their dark secrets test the strength of their connection. With four books in the series, the boxed set is the perfect gift around the holidays when loved ones have time to just read the days away.

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Colleen Hoover Hopeless Boxed Set
Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover, the #1 New York Times bestselling author “known for her deeply emotional sagas” (Woman’s World), presents a beautifully designed, collectable boxed set of the Hopeless series—a passionate love story between two young people who must decide if they can move on from their painful pasts and enjoy a future together.

In Hopeless, Sky and Holder are instantly attracted to one another, but both are hiding dark and troubled pasts. When Holder’s secrets are revealed, Sky is forever changed and must decide if she can ever trust again.

Holder is haunted by the girl he couldn’t save in Losing Hope. But perhaps it is only through allowing himself to love Sky that he can begin to heal.

Finding Cinderella follows Daniel as he meets the perfect woman, only for her to disappear from his life. A year later, he meets the mysterious Six, and it seems like true love. But will Daniel actually get his happily ever after?

In the “emotionally wrenching and utterly original” (Sara Shepard, New York Times bestselling author) All Your Perfects, Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage, and the one thing that could save them might be the very thing that pushes their relationship beyond the point of repair.

Finally, in Finding Perfect, the friends are planning a Friendsgiving dinner, but secrets threaten their happiness. Can they all finally move on from their pasts or is it too late?

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Holly
by Stephen King

Aimee’s Pick: I’m gifting every Constant Reader (and every other reader) in my life a copy of Stephen King’s latest novel, HOLLY. Not only because it’s an amazing read, but because it allows the perfect opportunity to use the pun “Happy Hollydays” as I watch them unwrap it. In this unputdownable thriller, fan-favorite detective Holly Gibney is investigating a missing person case. And I like to tell people that when Holly is in a story, be prepared to stay up late reading an edge-of-your-seat, race-against-time thriller. While Holly has been featured in other Stephen King books, this is the perfect introduction to a character who will steal any reader’s heart. But be warned: Evil hides in plain sight, as Holly learns, and this read may have you steering clear of your neighbors. . . .

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Holly
Stephen King

Holly Gibney, one of Stephen King’s most compelling and ingeniously resourceful characters, returns in this thrilling novel to solve the gruesome truth behind multiple disappearances in a midwestern town.

“Sometimes the universe throws you a rope.”BILL HODGES

Stephen King’s Holly marks the triumphant return of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly’s gradual transformation from a shy (but also brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider. In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.

When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.

Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless.

Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.

“I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in Mr. Mercedes and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. Holly is all her.” STEPHEN KING

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We Are the Light
by Matthew Quick

Katya's Pick #1: As soon as I began to read Matthew Quick's latest novel, I knew I had to give a copy of it to my aunt. In recent years, my aunt has fallen in love with all words related to love, healing, community, and spirituality. She's never been one to shy away from characters that encounter tragic experiences, especially if they rise above their circumstances. I often recommend WE ARE THE LIGHT to people who want to have their faith in humanity revived, and I know my aunt will find it to be the bright, encouraging, heartwarming novel she needs to accompany her this winter.

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We Are the Light
Matthew Quick

*“A treasure of a novel…read it and be healed.” —Justin Cronin * “Beautifully written and emotion-packed.” —Harlan Coben *

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook—made into the Academy Award–winning movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—a poignant and hopeful novel about a widower who takes in a grieving teenager and inspires a magical revival in their small town.

Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most importantly, themselves.

From Matthew Quick, whose work has been described by the Boston Herald as “like going to your favorite restaurant. You just know it is going to be good,” We Are the Light is “a testament to the broken and the rebuilt” (Booklist, starred review). The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this unforgettable and optimistic tale, Quick reminds us that life is full of guardian angels.

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All the Beauty in the World
by Patrick Bringley

Katya's Pick #2: My dad is a librarian, so you can probably imagine that many of our conversations revolve around the books, old and new, that catch our attention. At the beginning of the year, when I asked my father what books he was most excited about, he flourished a print copy of The Washington Post that he had saved and flipped to the review of Patrick Bringley's ALL THE BEAUTY IN THE WORLD. A cataloger of rare books, my dad has a great appreciation for archives, museums, and collections of all sorts. So, it's not surprising that a book about the Metropolitan Museum of Art as archive, refuge, and friend, would appeal to him. I'll be giving my dad a copy of Bringley's eye-opening memoir and keeping it in mind for other friends and family who like to prowl the dark, dusty corners of the human intellect. 

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All the Beauty in the World
Patrick Bringley

A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.

Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They’re the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he’d be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.

To his surprise and the reader’s delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley’s home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards—a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.

In the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff, All The Beauty in the World is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observers.

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Photo credit: iStock / Evgenia Glinskaia

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