12 books on everyone's list this year

Last Updated June 2019

Do you have a friend who’s always on the hunt for a good read or a family member who loves cozying up by the fire with a noteworthy book? This year, impress them with your gift-giving skills by finding a book they won’t be able to put down. These 12 books make the perfect holiday gifts for teens and adults. From thrillers to cultural commentary to reimagined mythology, there’s a new literary favorite for everyone on this exciting list.

This book isn’t new — it was published in 2006 — but fans of the HBO series have made it one of the must-reads of the season. The psychological thriller centers around Camille Preaker, fresh from a psychiatric hospital, who returns home to investigate the murder of two young girls. As the mystery unfolds, Preaker begins to identify strongly with the victims, bringing readers along for a gripping and emotional ride.

The #MeToo movement has gained fast momentum lately, and The Female Persuasion is the perfect gift for any woman or feminist on your list. The book addresses many questions regarding consent and the tragic effects of sexual assault, and it explains second-wave feminism in an easily digestible manner. Most importantly, it’s flawlessly written and beyond timely.

Memoirs are always a great gift choice. There’s something funny, relatable, and entertaining about uncovering the secret lives of celebrities, television personalities, and political figures. Anyone who is a fan of Michelle Obama will deeply enjoy this engrossing read that dives into the former First Lady’s childhood, life in Chicago, career highlights, marriage, motherhood, and time spent in the White House. This is also a fantastic gift for anyone who loves audiobooks, since Obama narrates the memoir herself.

This giftable treasure will delight readers young and old and is ideal for anyone who loves fantasy, adventure stories, and of course, Harry Potter. Follow Newt Scamander as he joins forces with Dumbledore and unknowingly steps directly into the middle of a dangerous war: to battle the infamous dark wizard, Grindelwald.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the ideal gift for aspiring writers, lovers of literature, or anyone who appreciates witty, poignant writing. Join Arthur Less as he tries to avoid heartache by running away from any situation that gets too serious. When forced to deal with his past and examine himself, Less inadvertently examines the meaning of love during a round-the-world trip.

This long-awaited fantasy novel is geared toward young adults but is a fascinating read for adults, too. With a refreshing all-black ensemble of characters, this West African tale creates a rich and vibrant fantasy world that feels oddly timely and is extremely important for teens to identify with.

Fans of the timeless cult classic The Golden Girls will relish the sight of this collectible holiday book. Littered with references and plot points true fans will instantly recognize and chock full of humor, this collectible book is a great coffee table adornment for just about anyone on your Christmas list.

Lovers of essays and stream-of-consciousness writing will fall head over heels for Zadie Smith’s newest collection of essays. With brilliant pieces on relevant cultural issues, such as social media and global warming, and subtly woven commentary on culture, race, and humanity, this insightful book is ideal for deep thinkers and lovers of beautiful writing.

Avid readers are familiar with the classic tale The Odyssey and the character Circe, a sorceress goddess who turned Odysseus’s shipmates into swine. Miller’s tale reveals the backstory of this goddess, offering a brilliant character study that provides another important perspective to the famous epic tale of Odysseus. Anyone who loves greek mythology and fantasy will be bewitched by Miller’s charming rendition.

This book of short stories will impress any reader on your holiday list, from the sentimental parent to the jaded cousin. Van Booy retells stories he’s heard over the years, expertly balancing grief and joy while revealing the universal truths of what makes us all human.

Anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller knows Stephen King is untouchable. In his latest endeavor, follow King’s newest character as he returns to the iconic town of Castle Rock. Here, the protagonist realizes he is becoming slightly lighter every day, and his worry for his life helps bring the residents of this strange town together.

Busy Phillips is an actress, Instagram sensation, and late night talk show host. Her energetic memoir is the perfect escape for the female friends in your life and reads like a best friend dishing out humorous anecdotes and savory advice that will have you laughing, crying, and relating to this down-to-earth celebrity in unexpected ways.

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