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From biographies through Nobel Prize winners, to signed editions, to brilliant thrillers, you will find on this list the perfect gift for everyone.
Now that 2019 is nearing the end and Christmas is coming, it is the perfect time to recap all the brilliant books published this year.
And there have been a lot – among well-written biographies of some of the most iconic performers of all time (one of them being a 19-pound visual one), there’s also a couple of thought-stimulating Man Book Prize winner books and a mouth-watering cookbook. Some of them even come with an autograph – a perfect gift for a fan.
This handy list comprises all the most anticipated, fresh titles; ones most beloved by readers; and some that would make a highly original gift. Make sure to also check out our list of the best audiobooks to gift this year for some more inspiration.
Our personal favorite from the list is the beautifully photographed cookbook by Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski, which is guaranteed to make your mouth watery and your tummy full. A perfect mix between easy, quick recipes, and more fancy ones, it is the perfect gift for an ardent foodie.
14 most interesting books to gift in 2019
In the past two years, world literature has been conquered by the up-and-coming, one-of-a-kind Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Literary critics can’t stop swooning over her – she won the Man Booker International Prize, she became a finalist of the National Book Award for Translated Literature, and now, she was awarded the most prestigious title of all – the Nobel Prize laureate in Literature.
Chopin’s heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear.
Flights, one of Tokarczuk’s best-known books, tackles the problems of travel, migration, and man’s longing for permanence. Its incomparably original fragmentary structure (the novel is split into 116 shorter pieces), combined with an in-depth exploration of themes such as death and mobility, is a literary revelation.
What it’s like: An intellectually stimulating, complex, and unique read.
Length: 416 pages
Average rating: 4.1/5 out of 47 customer reviews
2. The Rihanna Book
Published on October 24th this year, this massive coffee table book contains never-before-seen footage of Rihanna’s rise to worldwide success as a musician, designer, and entrepreneur.
With over a 1,000 photographs, The Rihanna Book reveals intimate photographs of the Barbadian singer’s whirlwind life. Along iconic fashion moments (such as the show-stopping Met Gala ochre yellow dress), there are also many more private and personal photographs that show a much different side of RiRi, making it a perfect gift for her devoted fans.
And it is heavy – the large-format edition weighs a whopping 19 pounds (ca. 9 kg) and measures 17 × 4.3 × 22 inches (0.56 m).
What it’s like: The stunningly visual gift for a Rihanna fan.
Length: 504 pages
Average rating: 5/5 out of 11 customer reviews
3. City of Girls
New York City, 1940s. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of college because of her rather lackluster freshman-year performance and is sent by her parents to live with her Aunt Peg in Manhattan. There, Vivian stumbles upon the Lily Playhouse theater – and encounters an entirely different world of flamboyance and eccentricity.
But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in a professional scandal, her whole new world is turned upside down in ways that will take her years to fully understand.
Told from the perspective of an older woman as she reflects on her youth with both pleasure and regret, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
What it’s like: Juicy, delicious, and witty.
Length: 480 pages
Average rating: 4.3/5 out of 1,004 customer reviews
4. Me: Elton John Official Autobiography
In this beautifully raw first official autobiography, Elton John unveils the details of his extraordinary life – all narrated with his trademark raw, British humor.
From trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool, to his friendships with Gianni Versace, John Lennon, and Freddie Mercury, this book shows a side of Elton John we’ve never seen before.
Me will make you laugh out loud, it will make you cry, and you won’t be able to put it down.
What it’s like: Elton John at his finest, personified into a brilliant book.
Length: 384 pages
Average rating: 4.6/5 out of 151 customer reviews
5. Where the Crawdads Sing
For years, rumors of the Marsh Girl have echoed the quiet Barkley Cove. So when in 1969 a man is found dead, the locals are quick to suspect that Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl, might be responsible.
But Kya is nothing like the gossip – sensitive and yearning for acceptance, she finally gains the courage to open herself up to a new life… Until the unthinkable happens.
This beautiful but painful coming-of-age story teaches us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were.
What it’s like: An incredibly tender coming-of-age story.
Length: 384 pages
Average rating: 4.8/5 out of 24,563 customer reviews
6. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
In this brilliantly meticulous work of investigative journalism, Ronan Farrow is determined to unveil the dark truths behind the world of wealth, connections, and abuse of power. No matter the consequences.
Catch and Kill shows the never-before-told story of an elaborate intrigue of intimidation meant to threaten journalists and silence the victims of abuse.
This half excellent spy thriller, half journalist tour de force, is guaranteed to leave you slack-jawed.
What it’s like: An eye-opening account of the lengths powerful individuals will go to cover up the truth.
Length: 384 pages
Average rating: 4.6/5 out of 281 customer reviews
7. Antoni in the Kitchen: Signed Edition
Antoni Porowski, Mindy Fox
The chef that stole everyone’s hearts on Netflix’s new sensation reality TV show Queer Eye, Antoni Porowski, has finally released his long-awaited cookbook – and it’s as creative (and visually stunning) as Porowski himself.
Filled with both weeknight healthy-ish meals (often composed of fewer than five ingredients) and some more complex, fancy recipes, Antoni in the Kitchen makes you feel patiently guided by the food and wine expert from the first to the very last recipe.
What it’s like: A cookbook filled with enthusiasm and warmth, signed by America’s favorite Canadian.
Length: 272 pages
Average rating: 4.5/5 out of 106 customer reviews
8. Nothing to See Here
At boarding school, Lillian and Madison used to be roommates and best friends. But ever since Lillian left unexpectedly, they barely even speak.
So when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for help, she is surprised, to say the least. And she’s even more taken aback when Madison tells her that her twins light up on fire when agitated.
Centered around family, parental love, and acceptance, Nothing to See Here is an incredibly original book of a fresh voice who has stimulating reflections to share.
What it’s like: A laugh-out-loud funny read that teaches essential lessons.
Length: 272 pages
Average rating: 4.3/5 out of 16 customer reviews
9. Blue Moon: Signed First Edition
Jack Reacher is on a Greyhound bus when he notices a young man who seems a little too interested in an envelope an old man is carrying in front of him.
As he soon finds out, the elderly couple is in big trouble, and now they owe money to some very bad people. Soon after, Reacher finds himself in the midst of a clash between two rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.
Blue Moon is the epitome of Lee Child’s exceptional style: riveting and unputdownable, this book is the perfect gift for a friend who digs good thrillers.
The best part? It comes signed by Lee Child himself.
What it’s like: Gripping from the very beginning to the very end.
Length: 368 pages
Average rating: 4/5 out of 257 customer reviews
10. The Starless Sea
Zachary Ezra Rawlins, a graduate student in Vermont, is making his way through the university library when he stumbles across an old book hidden in the stacks.
As he starts flipping the pages, he encounters a story in which he recognizes his own childhood, and his magical adventure begins.
Exciting, weird, mysterious, funny, dreamy, whimsical, at times confusing, masterfully written – The Starless Sea is all that.
What it’s like: The Starless Sea will make you feel like you’re lost in a breathtakingly bizarre dream.
Length: 488 pages
Average rating: 4.6/5 out of 3 ratings
11. The Institute
Stephen King returns with yet another brilliantly gripping thriller. This time, a quiet night in suburban Minneapolis is disrupted when a child with unique abilities, Luke Ellis, is kidnapped in a black SUV.
When he wakes up, he finds himself at The Institute – a mysterious establishment focused on extracting the force of the children’s telepathic and telekinetic abilities. One by one, kids begin to disappear in the Back Half, and Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out. But no one has ever managed to escape from the Institute.
Gut-wrenchingly terrifying, The Institute is one big tour de force.
What it’s like: Once you start reading The Institute, you won’t be able to put it down.
Length: 577 pages
Average rating: 4.6/5 out of 1,922 customer reviews
Sam DuChamp, a mediocre writer of spy novels, creates Quichotte – a polite but addled salesman obsessed with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) teenage son, he sets off on a quest to pursue his beloved Salma R’s hand – and it will change the lives of both.
Salman Rushdie provides an exceptionally clever commentary in which fantasy and raw honest depictions of America come together. Masterfully written (and shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize!), Quichotte is exuberant, at times silly, but above all – incredibly witty.
What it’s like: A brilliant satire of today’s spiritual and moral collapse inspired by the Cervantes classic.
Length: 416 pages
Average rating: 4.1/5 out of 72 customer reviews
13. The Testaments
After Margaret Atwood announced a sequel to her iconic 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, many wondered if it could ever live up to the original.
But, as it turns out, The Testaments does its predecessor justice. Set fifteen years after, the story is driven and described by Aunt Lydia. The theocratic regime of Gilead is still in power, but there are signs it is starting to crumble from within.
What it’s like: A riveting sequel to a dystopian classic.
Length: 432 pages
Average rating: 4.6/5 out of 1,038 customer reviews
Best known for the groundbreaking invention of electric light, Thomas Alva Edison remains one of the most famous Americans of all time.
But Edison left a much bigger impact on the world than most people know: apart from patenting almost 2,000 machines, systems, and electrical phenomena, he also invented 250 sonic devices – despite being wholly deaf in one ear, and half deaf in the other.
What’s so unique about this biography is that it is written in reverse order: starting with the picture of a man that we know today, Morris slowly begins to unravel how he came to become the person he is now.
What it’s like: This brilliant Thomas Alva Edison biography is guaranteed to enlighten you.
Length: 800 pages
Average rating: 4.4/5 out of 31 customer reviews
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