Holiday Gift Guide
Books are the perfect gifts to give. They’re usually under $30, easy to wrap, and provide a great way to share stories that touch your heart and mind. Still, sometimes it’s hard to find the right pick for that certain someone on your list. Luckily, 2017 has provided us with many fantastic options for the holiday season. The staff at Washington Square Review compiled a list of our favorite picks, covering everyone from your nostalgic friend to the contemporary classicist.
We recommend using Indie Bound’s amazing independent bookstore finder for your shopping needs.
For the Optimist
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
A migratory narrative set in an unnamed war-torn country, this isn’t your typical happy story. It follows the love story of Saeed and Nadia, their determination to create new futures for themselves, and their refusal to accept dystopia. Interspersed with magical realism, doors that appear and offer passage to cities of refuge, Exit West is an imaginative and rich pick for anyone who might need a little uplifting.
For Your Friend with the Best Banter
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Your friend will tear through this witty, clever and psychologically searing novel about friendship, identity crises, adultery, and coming-of-age in Dublin, Ireland. Immerse yourself in the types of conversation your college friends debated in dorm rooms until 4am—politics, culture, life, and love.
For the Literary-Fantasy Reader
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind begins with a mysterious innkeeper who recounts the tale of Kvothe, a legendary red-haired hero whose humble origins as a child troubadour and street urchin cumulate in his acceptance to study magic at the University. Lovers of Harry Potter will appreciate the University's dark and tomb-like Archives, the villainous classmate Ambrose, and the more advanced concept of magic based in alchemy, chemistry, and medicine. But for any reader of fantasy, (or anyone looking to take their first plunge) The Name of the Wind is a beautifully written and completely magical blend of oral storytelling, myth, adventure, fantasy, and a beautiful coming-of-age tale.
For Your Nostalgic Friend
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is a great blast from the past. If you haven't read it before, it's about 13-year-old Meg and her genius brother Charles Wallace going on a quest to find their missing scientist father. The novel explores different dimensions, time travel, and family relationships. If you have read it before, this is a great time to give it another look before the movie comes out this spring! Any old friend will love that you remembered (probably) one of their favorite books.
For Your Feminist Friend
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
These dark, sensual stories are perfect for your feminist bff. One such standout story, "The Husband Stitch," is a poignant and haunting take on a classic horror tale, guaranteed to make your coupled friends look twice at their partner.
For the Contemporary Classicist
The Odyssey by Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson’s new translation of Homer’s epic is perfect for that uncle who only likes books that are at least a century old. In muscular lines of iambic pentameter, Wilson delivers a revelatory rendering of the classic tale that is both sensitive to the historical context in which the poem was produced and wonderfully accessible for contemporary audiences. The translation also comes with over 80 pages of introductory material, sure to delight even the most scholarly of readers.
For the YA Lover
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Told from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl with obsessive compulsive disorder, Turtles All the Way Down has been received well since its publication. Though the main characters are mostly teenaged, the philosophies, character development, and relationships are flushed and dynamic. John Green, also the author of The Fault in Our Stars, has proven once again young adult novels can appeal to all ages.