Around the World with the Ingreedies: A Taste Adventure

Zoe Bather and Joe Sharpe, illus. by Chris Dickason. Laurence King. ISBN 978-1-78067-830-6

“The best book yet for all-around foodie family fun, in my opinion. We’ve done phenomenally well with Maps in our past two holiday seasons, and The Ingreedies is kind of a foodie take on world geography, presenting the taste preferences, customs, and eating practices of different regions of the world through fun, cartoony graphics, with recipes for some of the most iconic dishes. Like Maps, it’s a book kids and grownups can enjoy together and over time, and I can’t imagine any family where it wouldn’t be a welcome gift.”—Nina Barrett, owner of Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston, Ill.

News of the World

Paulette Jiles. Morrow. ISBN 978-0-06-240920-1

“This is a highly enjoyable read, a great, escapist yarn set in Reconstruction-era Texas, which was only slightly more lawless than present-day Texas. I simply loved the memorable, quirky main characters—an older man who’s lost his ‘day job’ for political reasons and is forced to travel town-to-town literally reading the news of the day to people for a fee, and a young white girl freshly ransomed from the Kiowa who had kidnapped her years before. They are thrown together under highly challenging circumstances, and the tale hits all the notes: action, adventure, Twainesque irony, pathos, human interest, subtle social commentary. It’s a historical tale more about the people history is done to rather than about those who wind up in text books.”—Kris Kleindienst, co-owner, Left Bank Books, St. Louis

Still Life with Tornado

A.S. King. Dutton. ISBN 978-1-101-99488-7

“Of course I’m going to really look forward to selling A.S. King’s new book this holiday season. It’s got crossover appeal. When we sell a customer one of her books, they come back for the others.” —Rob Dougherty, manager, Clinton Bookshop, Clinton, N.J.

Bottom’s Dream

Arno Schmidt. Dalkey Archive. ISBN 978-1-62897-159-0

“This will be very unusual. Obscure is not the right word. It’s an unusual literary work. It’s humongous. Big in size and big in stature. That will be a staff pick in December.” —Dale Szczeblowski, general manager, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.


Teddy Wayne. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-5011-0789-4

“I just finished reading this [novel], and it is awesome. Readers are introduced to a dorky, but kind of endearing main character, David, as he begins his first year at Harvard. As the book goes on, David becomes obsessed with a classmate, sort of innocently at first, but things get very dark very fast. What makes this book so awesome is that David is the narrator, so as all of these things are happening, you hear what is going on inside of his head—all of the crazy rationalizations and creepy thoughts. This makes for an uncomfortable (but in a good way) read, especially during the intense climax of the book. I could not put this down!” —Carson Evans, events coordinator, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Mont.

My Private Property

Mary Ruefle. Wave. ISBN 978-1-940-69638-6

“Ruefle is a poet-essayist of the highest order, and her newest collection (she’s been on a roll for a few years now) pulls you in with its beguiling short pieces and keeps you pinned to the page with the slightly longer ones. Her work is so smart and unafraid that it’s refreshing. I’ll be recommending this to a lot of readers, and I don’t see how anyone won’t be delighted by her unassuming magic.” —Kevin Sampsell, small press specialist and events coordinator, Powell’s Books, Portland, Ore.

Cruel Beautiful World

Caroline Leavitt. Algonquin. ISBN 978-1-61620-363-4

“Leavitt’s prose is absolutely spellbinding. I had to read the novel in one sitting. This is a book that will appeal to a lot of book clubs, as well as older teen girls, and would make a great mother/daughter discussion selection for holiday gift giving.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, sales and outreach coordinator, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

“That book’s special. When you read it, you’re almost transported back to the period when it takes place, the 1970s. You’re not just reading it, you’re in it. It’s just wonderful.” —Dale Szczeblowski, general manager, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

Spare and Found Parts

Sarah Maria Griffin. Greenwillow. ISBN 978-0-06-240888-4

“Spare and Found Parts is a Frankenstein-inspired tale about Nell, a genius girl with a mechanical heart living in a post-technology world, who attempts to build a boy out of mannequin hands and tea kettles. She wants someone to hold hands with. As her fantasies meet reality, secrets are revealed, and the darkness of her world threatens to break her. It’s brave, feminist, and utterly gorgeous, and I want everyone to read it. Bonus: Nell has a pet stoat, and you will also want to have a pet stoat.” —Amy Stephenson, events director, Booksmith, San Francisco

Suite for Barbara Loden

Nathalie Léger. Dorothy Project. ISBN 978-0-9973666-0-0

“It’s a combination of fiction and nonfiction that is based on a real person who was married to Elia Kazan. She directed and starred in a movie, Wanda, and died in her 40s. It’s a great little book, awesome design, and translated from the French. I’ll read anything the Dorothy Project puts out. This is a perfect little hand-sell.” —Fernando Flores, bookseller, Malvern Books, Austin, Tex.

The Mothers

Brit Bennett. Riverhead. ISBN 978-0-399-18451-2

“The thing I love most about debut fiction is discovering unique new voices that I haven’t heard before. Brit Bennett easily wins that award for this year. The Mothers is a bold confident novel with absolutely unforgettable characters.” —Robert Sindelar, managing partner, Third Place Books, Seattle

Return to the main feature.

Correction: A previous version of the article switched Rob Dougherty’s recommendation with Dale Szczeblowski’s; the article has been changed to reflect that Dougherty recommended Still Life with Tornado and Szczeblowski recommended Bottom’s Dream.