The Christmas season in New York City begins with the big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Santa stopping in front of the Macy’s department store is the kick off to the Christmas season in the Big Apple. There are many things to do and see in New York City during the Christmas season like ice skating in Central Park and viewing window displays along 5th Avenue. I spent a week in New York City a few years ago and I would love to go back at Christmas and enjoy some of these famous New York Christmas traditions. If you have plans to visit New York in the future here is a list of books to read that will help you get prepared for your next visit.
A comprehensive travel guide to New York City, with maps and information on hotels, restaurants, shopping, and other interesting sites.
The intertwining fates of characters rich and poor, black and white, native born and immigrant, brings to life the momentous events that shaped New York city and America. This book tells the history of NYC from 1664 to 2009 through generations of families and their participation in real historical events.
Here are over 100 wise, witty, short pieces and essays by E.B.White written for the New Yorker over a span of forty-nine years. White loves New York and he happily conjures his version in all its imperfection in this collection as he comments about not only NYC but also the world with humor, compassion, and honesty.
It’s New York in the 1940’s where a woman named Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s. The fabulous city is captured through the point of view of a young society girl who spends her early mornings at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue.
A 400-year history of New York City’s culture, politics, and geography. A time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and web resources for further study as well as 21 hands-on activities to better understand the Big Apple.
It’s no secret that book make great gifts! What if you’re shopping for a reluctant reader, an art fiend, or a bookworm who seems to have already read everything? Graphic novels are the way to go! Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a graphic novel for any age and every taste. Here are some of this year’s stand-out titles:
Pea takes a dare to roll off his farm, but finds himself in a bigger jam than expected when a thunderstorm carries him away! With the help of a precocious bee named Bee, and a bird who still can’t fly named Jay, can Pea find his way back to the farm?
Pizza and Taco are best friends, but wonder which one of them is the best. It’s hard to tell by themselves, so they turn to their friends and organize a big vote to declare which of them is best. But can their friendship last through the competition?
Classmates Piper and Sloane think they’ve got nothing in common, but they both have surprising secrets. Piper, with her super-human strength, is dying to prove herself as a superhero, while Sloane uses her extraordinary smarts to help her villainous grandfather. After going head to head over a mysterious device, the two girls swap bodies. Their secret identities revealed, Piper and Sloane must work together to change back.
From humankind’s earliest days to now, we’ve created machines to help us do all kinds of things. Learn what we’ve built through the ages, from the abacus to our smart phones, and the people whose inventions have changed the world.
Living in a refugee camp, life has been hard for Omar and his little brother Hassan. When Omar gets an opportunity to be able to go to school again, he knows it’s his best chance to make life better for him and his brother. But Hassan is nonverbal and needs a lot of care, and Omar is the only family he has left. Will he have to choose between taking care of Hassan now and working on a better future for them both?
“Alas poor Yorick!” Hamlet’s old friend, alone so long and buried underground. Now a skeleton, Yorick wakes and is dug up by a hungry dog. If the dog will ever stop trying to nibble his bones, perhaps he can help Yorick find the one thing he longs for – a friend.
It’s been years since Pan last saw her best friend Tara. A princess, Tara was a prize to the winner of the Cosmoknight tournament, but Pan helped her escape. But then a pair of fighters show up on Tara’s doorstep, fighters who devoted to saving princesses. Ready for adventure, Pan joins them and their fight, and finds more than she bargained for.
Lately, Mona sometimes feels a little strange. The world suddenly seems scary, and making friends is hard. She calls it the Matter, a dark feeling that makes her feel like she’s unwanted. After a really bad bout of the Matter, Mona finds the courage to ask her parents for help. With their support, therapy, good friends, and art, Mona learns what the Matter is and how to tame it.
Even though Gene isn’t into sports, he can see that the boys basketball team at the high school where he teaches is on to something great. Their journey to the California State Championships is a story much like the comic books Gene loves, with lots of action, drama, and heroes too, and he can’t help but be sucked in to the excitement buzzing around him.
Stunning artwork compliments the powerful story of Will, a boy heading out to avenge his brother’s death. The loaded gun heavy in his waistband, Will’s resolve is set. But as the elevator carries him down, stopping at each floor, he is joined by different ghosts of people he knew who reveal truths of a much larger story than Will’s loss, a story that might change Will’s mind.
Katarina has a startling realization: she was once a 17-year-old girl, now reincarnated into the world of her favorite dating video game. Even more alarming, she’s the game’s villain! All possible endings of the game end with Katarina’s exile or death, but she’s got some ideas to try to change things before her fate is sealed – if that’s even possible.
World War II, European Theater: Three African-American soldiers embark on a mission across a war-torn continent in search of a legendary piece of American history: the black cotton star secretly sewn onto the first American flag by Angela Brown, a housemaid to Betsy Ross.
In three hundred years, Vamp has yet to meet her match, until the night she meets him: a werewolf. Despite their differences and the challenges of a vampire-werewolf romance, this unlikely couple find that they are eerily and delightfully well-suited for each other.
Before their iconic novels, the Bronte sisters invented a world all their own. After their oldest sisters’ deaths, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and their brother Branwell find solace in creating a new world they call Glass Town. There, they escape harsh reality and find friendship, adventure, and freedom. Though as the siblings grow up, what will happen to their dear Glass Town?
As a 10-year-old boy, author Derf remembers the Ohio National Guard arriving in his hometown to stamp out a trucker’s strike. Just days later, those same Guardsmen were sent to Kent State University, ultimately opening fire on unarmed students who were protesting the Vietnam War. This book dives deep into the events of those tragic four days and the four young lives that were lost in a shocking turn of events.
Heck yes! Things are great for Napoleon and his friends; he and Deb are dating, his best friend Pedro is the new student body president. But when someone accuses Pedro of cheating in the election, Napoleon and Deb know they have to use every special skill they have to clear his name. Gosh! How the heck are they gonna do that?
He was once the infamous “Immortal Dragon,” a legendary and feared yakuza boss. These days though, Tatsu lives a quieter life after leaving behind his life of crime to become an ordinary househusband. Running a household proves tougher than it appears, but if Tatsu could rule the underworld, he can conquer househusbanding too!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, it’s been a year. 2020 has given us a lot. It hasn’t all been bad, but it has definitely been a ride. The good news is the year is almost over and it is Christmas Time! Everything is better with carols playing in the background. One potentially stressful holiday activity is the selection of thoughtful gifts. It shouldn’t surprise you that I’m in favor of giving books to all the people you love most. Finding just the right book can be a tricky, but I’m here to help. Here are some suggestions for the fiction readers in your life. I’ll follow it up later with a list of nonfiction.
Regency romance is very popular right now and if you are looking for a new title to gift, Sarah Eden’s new book may fit the bill. The plot can be summed up as two childhood friends who have grown apart marry thanks to an arrangement by their parents. But true love can only be won through the rebuilding of their relationship and the establishment of a new foundation of trust. This is book one in a series though it ties in as a prequel series to Eden’s popular Jonquil series.
I love introducing people to Sophie Kinsella’s charming brand of romcom novels. I OWE YOU ONE is now available in paperback and tells the story of Fixie Farr whose good deed earns her an IOU from a (single and handsome) stranger. You will never guess what happens. Just kidding. You will totally guess what is going to happen, but getting there is so much fun.
If you are looking for a more literary book, try Yaa Gyasi’s TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM or her previous novel HOMEGOING (both are wonderful). Gifty, a PhD student studying neuroscience narrates this novel which tells of her family’s move to the United States from Ghana and her drive to do the research she has dedicated her life to. Gyasi write beautifully and I loved Gifty’s voice and story. This novel provides plenty for the reader to ponder while enjoying storytelling at its best.
First of all, Choo’s novel has a simply beautiful cover. Fortunately, the cover is not deceptive and the story within is perfectly matched. Here, a young woman living in 1930s Malaysia accidentally acquires a detached finger with unknown origin. At the same time an orphaned houseboy embarks on a mission to fulfill his master’s dying wish that the finger he lost years earlier be located and buried with him. It sounds a bit gruesome but the story is lyrical, moves quickly, and is entirely entertaining.
I already knew I liked Naomi Novik as an author. Her SPINNING SILVER and UPROOTED are two previous examples of her amazing talent. But I absolutely loved DEADLY EDUCATION. El is a student at the Scholomance, a school designed to educate witches and wizards to be. But this is no Hogwarts. There are no teachers, no supervision, no escape before graduation. Requirements to graduate are simple: survive. I can’t praise this book enough!
How did I not know Earnest Cline was working on a sequel to READY PLAYER ONE? The truth is that I am only about one quarter the way through this novel as I type and I am loving it. I can’t make any guarantees, but it appears Wade Watts’ next adventure will be as fun as his first and just as filled with delightful 80’s pop culture.
Nora Seed finds herself in a magical library that exists in the moments between life and death. Here she has access to books that contain all the possibilities her life contained and she is free to explore the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ that haunt her. Her story is fairly simple but Haig’s storytelling makes the reader ask what they would do with endless opportunities to make different choices and undo any regrets. What life would you choose if all paths were open?
Ruth Ware is my new favorite mystery writer. Think a wonderful collaboration of Liane Moriarty and Agatha Christie. This release from last year is now available in paperback and is the suspenseful story of Rowan, who is writing a request to a lawyer hoping to convince him to represent her in court because “I did not kill that child.” THE TURN OF THE KEY is creepy, mysterious and keeps the read on the edge of his or her seat until the very last page!
If you need to find something that goes a little beyond creepy and edges on the horrific, try MEXICAN GOTHIC. Noem’ has been sent by her father to check in on her cousin who lives in an isolated mansion with her new husband’s mysterious family. It takes very little time for her visit to turn from strange to deadly and Noem’ must fight unseen forces to keep herself and her cousin from a fate worse than death. A really wonderfully terrifying novel.
Evangeline, a governess in early nineteenth century London, is falsely accused of theft and sent to prison and is eventually place on a boat headed to a penal colony in Australia. If you know someone that loves historical fiction, Evangeline’s story is sure to be a hit. This is a lesser known period and place and Kline has a gift for telling the story of women fighting to survive in a world overwhelmingly designed to destroy them.
The author of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY recently released this new novel that follows the story of Margery Benson, a spinster schoolteacher. At the end of a particularly trying day at school, Miss Benson snaps to such a degree that she abandons her job and decides to pursue her childhood dream of finding the golden beetle of New Caledonia. As you would expect, her life is never the same and her adventures are many. A heartwarming quest by two endearing heroines.