Gift Guide 2016 – Book Suggestions from the Readers

Hey, guys. I’ve been proof reading Jonah’s college applications, and I’m too tired to do a gift guide tonight. How about you all help me out? Give me your book suggestions and I’ll hyperlink them to Amazon.


(Thanks, all!!)



32 thoughts on “Gift Guide 2016 – Book Suggestions from the Readers

  1. Well, of the books I read this year, the one that (i) is in print, (ii) told me things I didn’t know, (iii) is big enough to make a suitable present, and (iv) is pretty, with lots of pictures (though it can still be hard slogging, through the different types of bronze swords or whatever) was Brian Cunliffe, Britain Begins. Also, the issues from the period he covers have pretty much faded from current discourse, so it won’t stir any contention at Christmas dinner. (I know that many people would pour contempt on my fondness for Trevelyan or Burke.)

    1. That should be BARRY Cunliffe. I don’t know why I’m having so much trouble with first names. And the other day, I said “paleography” when I meant “paleology.” I must be losing it.

  2. block copied from her web page:

    Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World. Vol. 3 of the trilogy “The Bourgeois Era,” University of Chicago Press, 768 pp., published April 2016.
    The book explores the reputational rise of the bourgeoisie, that is, a Bourgeois Revaluation overtaking Holland and then Britain from Shakespeare’s time to Adam Smith. It made the modern world, by giving a reason for ordinary people to innovate. The material changes—empire, trade—were shown in Bourgeois Dignity (2010) to be wholly inadequate to explain the explosion of incomes 1800 to the present. What pushed the world into frenetic innovation were the slowly changing ideas 1600–1848 about the urban middle class and about their material and institutional innovations. A class long scorned by barons and bishops, and regulated into stagnation by its very own guilds and city councils and state-sponsored monopolies, came to be treasured—at least by the standard of earlier, implacable scorn—from 1600 to the present, first in Holland and then in Britain and then the wider world. And when the Amsterdamers after 1600 or so, and the Londoners and Bostonians after 1700 or so, commenced innovating, more people commenced admiring them. The new valuation of the bourgeoisie, a new dignity and liberty for ordinary people was a change peculiar to northwestern Europe in how people applied to economic behavior the seven old words of virtue—prudence, justice, courage, temperance, faith, hope, and love. With more or less good grace the people around the North Sea began to accept the outcome of trade-tested betterment. Then people did so in Europe generally and its offshoots, and finally in our own day in China and India. Most came for the first time to regard creative destruction as just, and were courageous about responding to it, and hopeful in promoting it. Most people, with the exception of the angry clerisy of artists and intellectuals (and even them only after 1848), stopped hating the bourgeoisie as much as their ancestors had for so very long before. Many started loving it. In consequence during a century or two the northwest Europeans became shockingly richer in goods and in spirit. That is, not economics but “humanomics” explains our riches.
    University of Chicago Press page for the book | Order from Amazon

    Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World. Vol. 2 of 3 of the trilogy “The Bourgeois Era,” 2010, University of Chicago Press, 571 + xvi pp., as a trade book [reviewed widely, as for example in Books and Culture, Oct 2010; National Review; New Statesman]. Chinese translation forthcoming, May 2016. Russian translation Novoe Izdatelstvo forthcoming c. 2017. Winner of Business and Economic category at the Sharjah International Book Fair, 2011. جائزة اتصالات لكتاب الطفل تشارك في معرض بوك إكسبو أميركا
    What made us modern, and rich, was a change in ideology, or “rhetoric.” First in little Holland and then in Britain a new dignity and liberty for the middle class freed innovation. A unique wave of gadgets, and then a tsunami, raised incomes from $3 a day to $30 a day … more
    The Bourgeois Era page | Encapsulated version

    The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce. Vol. 1 of 3 of the trilogy “The Bourgeois Era,” 2006, University of Chicago Press, as a trade book, 616 + xviii pp. (reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2006; New York Times Sunday Book Review, July 30; Times Literary Supplement, November; New York Review of Books, Dec. 21). Honorable Mention in Finance and Economics, Professional & Scholarly Publishers Division of the Assn. of American Publishers, 2006. The volume 3 (Vol. 2 is Bourgeois Dignity mentioned above) is also under contract to the Press. Spanish translation Las virtudes burguesas forthcoming (2016?) by Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE, Fondo), Mexico City. Chinese translation licensed to Zhejiang University Press in 2013, still being translated in 2015, by Liang Zhou, expected publication alleged 2016?. Chapters 8 and 9 are reprinted with minor revisions as “Kärleken och bourgeoisie,” pp. 113-154 in Niclas Berggren, ed., Mrknad och moral (Stockholm: Ratio Förlag, 2008).
    The story of “The Bourgeois Era” (the three-book series of which this is the first volume) is of the rise of a prudential rhetoric in the Netherlands and England in the 17th century, its triumph in the Scottish Enlightenment and American colonial thought in the 18th… more
    The Bourgeois Era page | About | Excerpt | List of reviews & comments | Related | Streaming Media

  3. I’m a huge book hound and here are some of my faves (from this year and previous years). Some are more literary and some are more holiday reads.

    Commonwealth by Anne Patchett
    The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
    Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
    The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
    Wangs vs the World by Jade Chan
    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
    Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard
    Rich & Pretty by Rumaan Alam
    Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel
    Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
    Every Breath by Ellie Marney (YA Sherlock Holmes-ish that takes place in Australia)
    Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

    If you are into podcasts, Book Riot has three great ones. One is about the book biz, one is book recommendations based on reader’s questions and the third is new releases.

  4. Wendy, here, with the “lowbrow” part of your book rec thread.

    I’ve already hit my 52-book goal for the year (a book a week), but I went on a real reading jag in late October early November to distract myself from you know what.

    Books I read that I liked a lot:

    * Jenny Holiday’s New Wave Newsroom series. Set in the 1980s, the characters work on a college newspaper. Book #2, The Gossip, was terrific. But I also liked Book #3, The Pacifist.
    * Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. DO NOT LAUGH. The male characters are basically the Duck Dynasty brothers without the racism and sexism. Or ducks. The third book, “Beard Science,” was so good I read it twice.
    * I got into sci-fi romance this past year thanks to Michelle Diener’s “Class 5” series. Another good series is Jess Anastasi’s “Atrophy” series. I liked the second book, Quantum a little more than the first because the heroine was more badass.
    * Tracy Livesay has written two books in a series she calls “Shades of Love.” Contemporary. The heroine of each is black, and the hero of each is white.
    * Ainslie Paton’s “Sidelined” series has been hit or miss, but I liked Sold Short a lot. Also a contemporary.

    Planning to read:
    * Kate Noble, The Dare and the Doctor (Kate Noble is the pen name of one of the writers of the Lizzie Bennett Diaries, fwiw)
    * The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology
    * M. O’Keefe (Molly O’Keefe), The Heart of It
    * Sherry Thomas, A Study in Scarlet Women
    * Ben Winters, Underground Airlines

    I’m re-reading The Cuckoo’s Calling because they started filming a TV show based on it. I also just re-read Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, again because I’m teaching it this term.

    1. My lowbrow contribution: I’ll read any Elizabeth George (Inspector Lynley series) or Philippa Gregory historical fiction. I also snoop through the Richard & Judy Bookclub picks (UK) and read many of their choices.

      :::taking notes on your series recommendations:::

  5. I read and loved Sherry Thomas, A Study in Scarlet Women. C.J. Archer’s Ministry of Curiosities series is a great paranormal historical adventure/romance. Another magical historical? Zen Cho’s amazing Sorcerer to the Crown.

    I can’t say enough good things about the contemporary romance, Act Like It by Lucy Parker. I also enjoyed the initial book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series: Sleepless in Manhattan.

    In YA, I’ve adored Erin Bow’s Prisoners of Peace series – the second volume, The Swan Riders, just debuted. Next week we’ll see the release of the sequel to A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – Spindle.

    Nonfiction? I recommend Ann M. Little’s The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright as a great piece of colonial history that will knock your socks off.

  6. I am asking for Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (which I know has been out for a while, but I just saw her speak and she was phenomenal). Someone recommended The Mandibles upon hearing that I liked Station Eleven, so I’m trying that too. Other upcoming book group books include Let the Great World Spin and Last Man in Tower.

    1. The Mandibles is buried underneath my “to be read” pile (I need to pull it out). Loved the Underground Railroad and Let the Great World Spin.

      Station Eleven is great in itself and even more so for me knowing the Toronto references.

  7. And furthermore: I’m I the middle of The Secret of Our Success:
    How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
    Joseph Henrich
    and finding it fascinating

  8. In looking at the authorized Sherlock Holmes fanfic above, I saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Mycroft Holmes in the suggestions from Amazon. I meant to read that when it come out, but forgot about it.

  9. Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (Ari Berman)
    and, an Atlantic article: “”

  10. “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do” (Nicholas Christakis)

    (What’s up with the really really long book titles)

    and, the Nature editorial article: “”

  11. “The Good House” (fiction, Ann Leary)
    “What Good Cooks Know: 20 Years of Test Kitchen” (America’s Test Kitchen)
    “The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club” (travel/food/stories, Marlena de Blasi)
    “This I Believe” (a web site, but I like the printed essays, too)

    And, Maeve Binchy (especially to read in order) and Marion Keyes

  12. The books are not new, but I just love Scarlett Thomas. “PopCo”, “Our Tragic Universe”, “The End of Mr. Y” They are all just wonderful. i/

  13. I discovered Kathleen Ernst’s old world mystery series in the summer and loved them (Old World Murder is the 1st). Also found and loved Julia Keller’s mystery series this fall (A Killer in the Hills is the 1st).
    Other good reads this fall:
    Ann Hood, The Book that Matters Most
    Dominic Smith, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
    Marion Coutts, The Iceberg

  14. Both Underground Railroad and Underground Airlines are on my t-b-r shelf. I picked them up on the recommendation of a post that also led me to Judenstaat, which addresses the question of what might have happened if the post-WWII Jewish state had been located in Saxony rather than Palestine.

      1. That’s Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. I really liked it, in part due to the cool concept, but most of the rest of my book group did not. Chabon has a new book out, too, Moonglow, that has been getting some good press.

  15. Money: A Memoir, by Liz Perle
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    The End of Average, Todd Rose
    The Opposite of Loneliness, Marina Keegan
    Oranges, John McPhee
    Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman
    Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang
    When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays, Marilynne Robinson

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