These Books Are Perfect Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List
The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by Emily Nunn
Buy it: $26, amazon.com
North Carolina-based writer and editor Emily Nunn cooks up a moving memoir in this book about heartache, healing, and the recipes that save us. It’s a story to savor that’s at turns hilarious and heartbreaking—plus, it’s filled with mouth-watering recipes so readers can cook along at home.
More Food-Centric Memoirs: My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss, The Reporter’s Kitchen: Essays by Jane Kramer, Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. Liebling, My Life in France by Julia Child, Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi, Tender At The Bone: Growing Up At The Table by Ruth Reichl
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Buy it: $26.95, amazon.com
If you’d like to gift a book this year but aren’t sure where to begin, let alone what to choose, we’d suggest this one. It’s a collection of seventeen short stories by actor (and noted typewriter aficionado) Tom Hanks. These stories are fun to read, satisfying to digest, and—keep your eyes peeled—they all sneak in appearances by Hanks’ favorite object, the typewriter.
More Short Story Collections: The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively, Bark by Lorrie Moore, Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, Five-Carat Soul by James McBride, The Dinner Party: Stories by Joshua Ferris, Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis
Buy it: $26, amazon.com
For readers who appreciate an intricately woven story, a moving coming-of-age tale, a gothic atmosphere, and a set of unforgettable characters, you can’t go wrong with Phillip Lewis’ debut novel, The Barrowfields, which is set in rural North Carolina and unspools a thrilling family saga in which Henry Aster returns home and reckons with his past.
More Southern Novels: Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson, A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, So Much Blue by Percival Everett, Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith, Lucky You by Erika Carter, The Vine That Ate the South by J.D. Wilkes
In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett
Buy it: $28, amazon.com
Anyone who appreciates a good laugh will love this memoir. It’s packed with outrageous moments, laugh-out-loud sketches, and unbelievable anecdotes from behind-the-scenes at The Carol Burnett Show.
More Hilarious Memoirs: I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis
Buy it: $29.95, amazon.com
Any history buffs, beachcombers, or Gulf Coast-dwellers on your holiday shopping list? We thought so. This book dives into the history of the Gulf of Mexico and the people who shaped its past and present, making it a perfect gift for those who enjoy a satisfying (and hefty) nonfiction read.
More Compelling Nonfiction: The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Buy it: $26, amazon.com
The literary-minded on your list will perhaps already have read this National Book Award-winning story, as it was released in September, but it’s so good, no one will complain if they receive a second copy. In it, Southern writer Jesmyn Ward weaves a tale of family, struggle, hope, and a dose of the supernatural set amid the landscape of Mississippi.
More Page-Turning Novels: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, The Golden House by Salman Rushdie, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, The Leavers by Lisa Ko
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by The Library of Congress
Buy it: $35, amazon.com
If you’re shopping for a book lover, look no further. Compiled by The Library of Congress and with a forward by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, this collection celebrates the history of books and shares special materials, photographs, and fun facts from the library’s archives. It’s perfect for teachers, librarians, readers, really anyone who loves books—and who doesn’t love books?
More Books About Books: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris, My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul, Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing by Ben Blatt, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence
All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, edited by Catherine Burns
Buy it: $25, amazon.com
The live storytelling phenomenon The Moth inspired this collection of true tales about courage and taking risks in the midst of the thrill, fear, and surprise of the unknown. It includes stories from new voices as well as well-known ones, including Meg Wolitzer, Tig Notaro, and Hasan Minhaj.
More Heartening Reads: The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey, Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders, Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Princess Bride: Deluxe Edition by William Goldman
Buy it: $35, amazon.com
The thrilling story that inspired the classic film is presented here in a beautifully illustrated edition that will make fans of all ages swoon. Perfect for reading aloud with the whole family, it’s a memory maker, a book gift that keeps on giving.
More Family-Friendly Stories: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up by Elizabeth Heiskell
Buy it: $30, amazon.com
We’ve already sung the praises of this exciting new cookbook, a recipe-packed volume from Elizabeth Heiskell and Southern Living, but we love it so much, we’ll do it again. It’s organized by occasion to ensure you’ll always be prepared with the perfect recipe no matter the event.
More Contemporary Cookbooks: Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks by the Editors of Southern Living, The Southern Baker: Sweet & Savory Treats to Share with Friends and Family by the Editors of Southern Living, The Southern Vegetable Book: A Root-to-Stalk Guide to the South's Favorite Produce by Rebecca Lang