I’m back with more books that may be perfect for the reader on your Christmas list. In a year when traveling was less of an option a little armchair jaunt may be more welcome than ever!
For the HISTORY LOVER on your list:
LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
Pulling from her decades of research, Goodwin presents an exploration of leadership and how it develops. She does this by pulling from the lives of four presidents – Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Leadership has been a dominant topic over the past year and a review of leaders from our past may be a welcome exercise.
By Ben Macintyre
Who doesn’t love a good spy story? While Macintyre usually focuses on British spies of World War II, here he tells the story of Ursula Burton, aka Agent Sonya, a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer who helped plunge the world into a decades-long Cold War. A wonderful page-turning history.
For the SCIENTIST on your list:
By Matt Parker
This book makes a brilliant gift because if the recipient is a math nerd, they will enjoy hearing and understanding these stories of mathematical mayhem. And if they are not a math nerd, they will find comfort in knowing they are not alone and everyone makes mistakes. I am not a math nerd and I loved the funny stories and the delightful voice of the author as he explores a topic he obviously loves.
HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD
By Robert Kolker
This is technically a book about the Galvins and their 12 children. But the Galvins’ story illuminates much deeper themes and social issues. Half of the children born to Don and Mimi would eventually be diagnosed as schizophrenic. Their journeys tell of the frightening world of institutionalization and lobotomies and shed light on the genetics and nature of schizophrenia itself. A fascinating scientific family biography.
For the INSPIRATION SEEKER on your list:
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU PEARS
By Jeannie Gaffigan
This past year has left many of us looking for a little peace and healing and you may be able to gift a little bit of that with this heartfelt memoir. Subtitled ‘The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People” this book tells of just that. Jeannie survived a pear-sized brain tumor and lived to tell the tale. She is honest, encouraging and filled with timely wisdom.
HOLD ON, BUT DON’T HOLD STILL
By Kristina Kuzmic
Kuzmic shares “Hope and Humor from My Seriously Flawed Life” in this funny and hope-filled memoir. Sometimes we need someone to remind us that no one is perfect, most of us doubt our abilities to adult, and we need to be way less hard on ourselves. Kuzmic’s message may be just what is needed as we start a new year.
For the DEEP THINKER on your list:
By Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson’s recent book argues that there is a powerful caste system in the United States and that this system shapes national behavior toward race and class differences. Her exploration takes readers back to the founding of our nation and on through to the present day. This would be a wonderful gift for someone wanting to delve deeper into some of the social issues that filled the news throughout 2020.
THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION
By John Moe
Based on a podcast of the same name, this book discusses what it is like to suffer from depression. Moe tells of his own mental illness and shares stories of friends and guests who have also struggled in a society that is often reluctant to understand them. Both funny and sincere, THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION is a look inside a fight that is very real, very common, and very inspiring.
For the CELEBRITY STALKER on your list:
THE ANSWER IS…
By Alex Trebek
Published just before his recent death, THE ANSWER IS… was written by Trebek in part to thank his many fans for their support throughout his career and especially during his fatal battle with cancer. He shares some great stories as he travels through his career along with a lot of wisdom and insight. If your list contains any fans of Jeopardy and the late, great, Alex Trebek, this would be a wonderful gift to wrap up.
NO TIME LIKE THE FUTURE
By Michael J. Fox
This memoir focuses mainly on the last decade of the actor’s life and it is honest and sad and joyful all at the same time. He discusses illness and aging and the great power that supportive friends and family have to lift us when things get hard.