Looking for a good book to buy as a last minute gift? I’ve got a few suggestions. My reading list for 2016 is over 100 books again this year and it’s been tough to keep this list short!
Winning the “Best Book to Make You Smile, Laugh, and Become Intrigued by the Storyline” award is Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Set in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, occasionally in New York, it’s a fun book for anybody who loves books, coding, and fantasy.
If nonfiction story telling is more your thing, then the winner of the “Best Book About the American West, Brothers, and Mules” award is The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck. A few years ago two brothers retraced the old Oregon Trail by mule powered wagon. Funny, thoughtful, and well written.
A lot of church friends published books this year, and it was hard to choose from among them. So I’m skipping them all and instead gave the award for “Best Book for Christian Living, Even if You Forget it All After You Finish the Book” to Augustine’s Confessions. Not for the faint of heart, but wow what a classic.
Do you know somebody totally baffled by the election results? Give them Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance, which I award the “Best Book to Capture the Struggling Culture of White Working Class America.” The author tells his personal story and opens a window onto the desperation, hopelessness and frustration of a people we too easily dismiss as hillbillies and rednecks.
Need something a little less serious and disturbing? The winner of the “Best Book of Adventure, Mystery, and Fun” award goes to Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. The true story of two guys who invest everything they’ve got to find one of only two certified pirate ship wrecks in the Caribbean. An absolute blast.
Need a beautiful work of fiction? The winner of the “Best Book of Fiction that Could Pass for Truth” award has to go to the beautifully written and universally acclaimed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I have no idea how anybody could not love this book.
The business person on your gift list, the winner of the “Best Book About Business or Economic or Historical Look at Trade That Doesn’t Suck” award goes to…well, it’s a multi-way tie. Under New Management, From Silk to Silicon Valley, God and Gold, Geography of Genius, and Search for God & Guinness are all worth reading.
Finally, I have to mention two books that might make lousy gifts because they deal with heartbreaking topics. But they are very, very powerful and should be on your personal reading list. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande deal with heartbreaking topics. Just Mercy is a brilliant account of the injustice of the death penalty and Being Mortal looks at the de-personalization of the elderly in the health care system.
Hope this helps. Oh, and whatever book you buy as a gift, be sure to include a copy of Junkyard Wisdom by a little known author from Northern California!