Here are her suggestions:
Oh, I just heart books to death, and I’ve felt especially lucky this year, because so many awesome books have come out. Here’s my gift suggestion list -- and make sure to click on the links to read my book reviews for all but one of these suggestions from earlier in the year:
For the young woman, feminist or literate sci-fi nerd on your list: WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okorafor was not only my favorite book of the year, but also my favorite main character of the year. This book has it all: an intriguing future landscape, a powerful and fierce lead, and an epic love story. If it were up to me, this book would be added to the high school canon. But sadly, more girls will be encouraged to read LORD OF THE FLIES than this book which actually portrays young black women in a complex and powerful way. So if you know any teenagers whose parents won’t freak out about them reading a book with sex in it, please do them the favor of gifting them with this stunning novel.
For the academic on your list: I’ve been telling everybody that WENCH by Dolen Perkins-Valdez needs to be on college syllabi across the nation. It’s a amazing feat of historical fiction: well-written, suspenseful, and a page-turner. Seriously, when was the last time you just couldn’t put down a piece of historical fiction?
For the person who’s always complaining that books about Africa are too heavy:Actually that person would be me, so how pleased was I to find AYA by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie, a graphic novel, about three young girls living, learning, and loving in a 1970s-era Ivory Coast town? Along with BAYOU by Jeremy Love and INCONEGRO by Mat Johnson, I think this forms a triumvirate of black graphic novel must-haves.
For the mom or dad on your list: I found that the non-fiction COME TO WIN by Venus Williams and Kelly E. Carter, inspired me to be both a better person and a better parent. This book is basically a collection of essays in which successful people (Jack Welch, Bill Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Vera Wang, Phil Knight, and Denzel Washington are just a few of the “names” in this book) talk about how playing sports shaped their future career wins. It’s a fascinating collection and best read slowly in my opinion.
For your BFF mom friend: I’ve been suggesting that no working mom read SUBSTITUTE ME by Lori Tharps alone as it will only frustrate you if you don't have someone to talk with about it immediately after finish it. This is a compelling read for working moms and a real conversation-starter. So do yourself a favor. Get a copy for you and your BFF mom friend, read it at the same time, then book a lunch date to discuss it.
So those are my book recs for the holiday season. Let me know which books you’re giving away as gifts this year
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!