The Best Books We’re Getting and Gifting This Holiday Season

From a book about the female body to a novel about a climate catastrophe these books are all, as the kids say, certified bangers.

Gift Guide

For someone who only has time to read the week between Christmas and New Year’s

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For someone who only has time to read the week between Christmas and New Year’s
Photo: Hachette/Grove Atlantic

I’m going for a one-two punch here since these are both so short, they can easily be knocked out in an afternoon — and maybe your lovely recipient has a couple of free days coming up.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan takes place around this time of year, and fits into the category of “bittersweet Christmas story.” But author Claire Keegan isn’t trying to pull your heartstrings or be maudlin; her prose is clean and simple, yet able to deliver an incredible emotional wallop about the effects of the Catholic Church’s Magdalene laundries.

Assembly by Natasha Brown is narrated by a Black woman working in finance, and the book is her inner monologue as she heads to a weekend at her boyfriend’s family’s country estate. The novella lingers on the racism she’s experienced and her reflections on upward mobility, but I couldn’t tell exactly how and where it was going to end. But when I got there, I almost immediately wanted to start it again.

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