'Tis the season for gift giving! Maybe some of our favorites this month will be a good fit for the book lover in your lives, including the exciting conclusion of Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series, a captivating biography of Henry Adams for history buffs, a thriller on par with Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, a magical story for adults and children from Jane Smiley, and much more.
Learn about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.
Long Time Coming by Michael Eric Dyson
Dr. Dyson’s words about the pain and injustice forced upon Black Americans will not just rock you back on your heels but will seep into your heart and your bones. A sonorous, inexorable argument for why wrestling with the reality of prejudice and anti-Blackness is the most direct route toward breaking the racist system. —Adrian Liang
Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen
Big Girl, Small Town is a fiercely funny coming of age story set in a border town in Northern Ireland, right after the Troubles. Majella O’Neill is a hilarious commentator on her mundane life, and the setting has drawn comparisons to Derry Girls, but this novel is a different beast: smarter, sadder, deeper, but even more charming and wildly funny. —Vannessa Cronin
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
In A Sky Beyond the Storm, Sabaa Tahir so expertly draws the reader into the lives and thoughts of her characters that their every emotion—anger, pain, love, longing—races through your heart with each turn of the page. A breathtaking conclusion to this incredibly rich and rewarding fantasy series. —Seira Wilson
Germania by Harald Gilbers
Hunting a serial killer audacious enough to murder and mutilate women with connections to the Nazi party in 1944 Berlin is terrifying enough. But being a Jewish former detective strong-armed into the hunt by the Gestapo? That adds another layer of tension to an atmospheric, intricately-plotted thriller that crackles with danger, betrayal, and death. —Vannessa Cronin
Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother's Letter to Her Son by Homeira Qaderi
A memoir that will pull at your heartstrings and fill your eyes with tears as a mother shares with her son why she left him and Afghanistan for California. It's a heartbreaker, but also a story of one woman's bravery, audacity, and strength—and just how far she'll go for those she loves. —Al Woodworth
The Last Aristocrat by David S. Brown
It’s not being glib to suggest that, during his time, Henry Adams was a candidate for most interesting man in the world. Born into one of America’s most famous and successful families, he set out to understand, experience, and describe the era when his country was transitioning from a colonial outpost to a modern nation. —Chris Schluep
The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate
If the mark of a good thriller is finishing the book and immediately turning back to page one, then The Last to See Her has got it. While this suspenseful novel falls into the popular thriller category of "nothing is as perfect as it seems," the unreliability of these characters rivals those in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. —Sarah Gelman
Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley is best known for her novel A Thousand Acres, the Pulitzer Prize-winning retelling of King Lear. And she's a big fan of horses, which is evident in the decidedly whimsical turn she takes in Perestroika in Paris. This story about an orphan and a coterie of animals who look out for each other is just the tonic we need for 2020. It’ll make you smile-y. —Erin Kodicek
This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson
While you might not agree with her every point about climate change and capitalism, you will be hooked by Wilson’s almost stream-of-consciousness thoughts on how to make our shared planet a healthier home. Best savored in small bites rather than raced through, Wilson’s fierce opinions and impassioned journey will spark soul searching, activism, and contemplative hikes through the woods. —Adrian Liang
Shed No Tears by Caz Frear
Daughter of man with ties to organized crime in London opts for a career with the Metropolitan Police. What could go wrong? Superb character studies (Cat’s acerbic boss, DCI Kate Steele, deserves her own series), tight plotting, and dry, English humor make this series compulsory reading, even if British police procedurals are not your usual cup of Earl Grey. —Vannessa Cronin
'Tis the season for gift giving! Maybe some of our favorites this month will be a good fit for the book lover in your lives.