Fodor’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Books

  • FLORIDA by Lauren Groff

    No state is as confounding as Florida: wild yet residential, sprawling yet sparse, catering to the youth and the elderly. Groff’s hilarious story collection unearths the irony, the beauty, and the madness of the Sunshine State.Where to read it: Within a screened-in porch in Key West.

    Riverhead Books

  • THE STORIED CITY by Charlie English

    A place so famous it spurred its own mythology, The Storied City weaves truths of Timbuktu’s past and present into a surprisingly captivating non-fiction work that starts with history and ends with archivists’ and historians’ race to preserve it.Where to read it: On your lunchbreak daydreaming of faraway lands.

    Riverhead Books

  • THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin

    Four siblings scatter across the country after a psychic reveals the exact date on which each of them will die. Follow the Gold children in their quests to tempt fate.Where to read it: Right before you go to a show in Vegas.

    Penguin Random House

  • GRIST MILL ROAD by Christopher J Yates

    A multiple-perspective thriller that will have you wondering who the real villain is until the end, this dark read will take you through the craggy ranges and woodlands of childhood exploration to the glass and steel towers of adult urban living.Where to read it: On a porch swing in upstate New York.

    Circe

  • FLIGHTS by Olga Tokarczuk

    Dive in beyond physical place to the mind of the traveler in this experimental collection of interwoven stories, essays, and musings as delightfully meandering as wanderlust itself.Where to read it: Backpacking through Europe.

    Riverhead Books

  • THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PROVENCE by Juliet Blackwell

    Get swept away in the evocative setting of the south of France during in the time of World War II, in a chateau, no less, with an American reporter exploring the history and demise of a dilapidated carousel and the family who have served as its creators and caretakers. Between the lavender scent and merry-go-round music instilled in your mind, you’ll be booking flights to France.Where to read it: In a hotel room in a robe and slippers.

    Penguin Random House

  • THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

    Allow yourself to inhibit the doubly disenfranchised experience of Jerkins point of view, from street harassment in Harlem to being a black traveler in Russia.Where to read it: On public transportation, in line at stores, anywhere where people might ask you what you’re reading.

    Harper Collins

  • THE IMMEASURABLE WORLD: Journeys in Desert Places by William Atkins

    Deserts are the new beach. From Australia to China to Egypt to Southwest US, William Atkins, in the travel writing stylings of Bruce Chatwin, takes readers through the world’s deserts on a quest to understand our exotic perspective of and often exploitative relationship with the driest places on earth.Where to read it: At a spa in Sedona.

    Penguin Random House

  • SEVERANCE by Ling Ma

    A millennial capitalist cog realizes her job can’t save her after the Shen Fever epidemic wipes out New York City. This cheeky dystopian novel is a whip-smart deadpan.Where to read it: On a couch in the suburbs after holiday shopping.

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • AYITI by Roxane Gay

    A brand-new republishing (plus two new stories) of inimitable Roxane Gay’s debut collection, these short stories will take you to Haiti and across its sons’ and daughters’ diaspora experience.Where to read it: Juxtapose your reading experience from a nice home in the Midwest, not unlike how Gay spent her formative years.

    Grove Atlantic

  • THIS IS (NOT) LA by Jen Bilik with Kate Sullivan

    To people who don’t live there, Los Angeles is endlessly mystifying–yet compelling, too, like the psychic reader who your Angeleno bestie swears by. The mythos surrounding everything from the glamour of Hollywood to the woo-woo vibe is just too grandiose to buy, so Jen Bilik gives you a local’s perspective on what you’ll find under the facelift.Where to read it: Before your New Year’s Trip to Palm Springs.Related: Downtown Los Angeles is on Fodor’s 2019 Go List!

    KNOCK KNOCK.

  • THE FAVORITE SISTER by Jessica Knoll

    From page one, you’ll race to uncover the plot twists and juicy drama that somehow makes this novel on reality television a high-brow ethnography of class, race, and celebrity.Where to read it: Poolside in the Hamptons.

    Simon & Schuster

  • BELLA FIGURA by Kamin Mohammadi

    If you’ve ever thought about quitting your job, moving to Italy, wearing incredible clothes and eating unbelievable food, here’s your bible.Where to read it: By a fire with a glass of wine.

    Penguin Random House

  • WELCOME TO LAGOS by Chibundu Onuzo

    You can practically feel the buzz, hear the traffic, and smell the redolence of Lagos as you follow a band of five runaways making their way through contemporary Nigeria as semi-accidental squatters, kidnappers, and philanthropists.Where to read it: Before heading out to a nightclub in Ikoyi, an island in the city.Related: Lagos is on Fodor’s 2019 Go List! 

    Counterpoint Press

  • REFUGE by Dina Nayeri

    Exile, diaspora, transience, immigration–while the book tackles many heavy themes, unraveling such ideas via a separated father-daughter relationship brings the reader to the places between time and space and resonates deep in the heart.Where to read it: On a train ride through Europe.

    Riverhead Books

  • ELSEY COME HOME by Susan Conley

    The story of an ex-pat in Beijing striving to balance parenthood, marriage, and artistry explored through the lens of womanhood. Conley’s prose exudes purpose and rhythm, an unusually lovely combination, creating a rich mood and atmosphere that will have you craving a trip to China.Where to read it: On a transpacific flight.

    Image courtesy of Knopf

  • HOW TO LOVE A JAMAICAN by Alexia Arthurs

    This story collection brings us the moments of culture, nostalgia, and modern-day life of Jamaicans and their far-flung immigrant diaspora.Where to read it: Lounging on a warm beach.

    Penguin Random House

  • SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE by Ijeoma Oluo

    Are you an American living in 2018? Time to read this insightful and conversational approach to facing the realities of white supremacy in this country, and figuring out how to do better.Where to read it: On a road trip across America.

    Hachette Book Group

  • ONE DAY IN DECEMBER by Josie Silver

    If Love Actually met Sliding Doors and became a novel influenced by Jojo Myers, you’d have One Day in December. There’s just something about Christmas and the UK that’s a recipe for modern rom-coms that will have you running for the mistletoe.Where to read it: On your flight home for the holidays.

    Penguin Random House

  • TINY NEW YORK by Suzi Siegel

    An “undersized coffee table book about the smallest things in the biggest city,” this adorable and surprisingly substantial book may have actually found an undiscovered angle of New York.Where to read it: On the Metro-North.

    Suzi Siegel

  • TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE by Olivia Kiernan

    There are so many good mystery and thriller writers coming out of Ireland, but Kiernan turns a tired trope on its head to deliver a female protagonist detective with brains and bravery.Where to read it: On the grounds of Trinity College.

    Penguin Random House

  • OFF THE RAILS by Beppe Severgnini

    Nostalgic for the glamorous days of Murder on the Orient Express, minus the murder? Severgnini writes part-memoir, part-love letter to travel via rail line.Where to read it: Crossing Canada under the glass dome on the Rocky Mountaineer.

    Penguin Random House

  • CALL ME ZEBRA by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

    Hop on board with anarchist, atheist, and autodidact Zebra as she bounds on her hilarious and frenetic adventure through literature and across the globe, always in search of deeper connection.Where to read it: A long weekend exploring Barcelona.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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