Amazon’s Top 10 Books to Gift in 2016
Luckily, the Amazon experts have thought of everything this year. Not only did they release their top 10 books of 2016 (AKA our definitive to-read list for the new year), but they’ve made it super simple to order them for delivery before Christmas. Along with picking your books up at one of Amazon’s cool IRL bookstores, same-day delivery is one of the awesome Amazon Prime freebies in most large US cities. We sat down with Amazon Books Senior Editor Chris Schluep to get the deets on the top 10.
1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead ($15): Beating out a number of great contenders for the top spot, Whitehead’s remarkable and beautifully written new novel demands a place on your bookshelf. “It’s both literary and readable, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off,” notes Chris. “The book stuck with us long after we’d read it (and after we’d gone on to read many other books).”
Perfect for: The thoughtful reader.
2. The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis ($17): Part literary thriller, part Western, this is a “well-written, well-plotted and fun read that delivers you to another place,” says Chris. Plus, you’ll totally fall in love with Lewis’s amazing tomboy protagonist.
Perfect for: The adventurous reader.
3. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance ($17): While the struggle of white working-class America may not be the easiest topic to tackle in long-form writing, Vance handles this tough issue with due care. An “earnest, profound, clear-eyed view of rural white people, from someone who grew up there” per Chris, this novel is unsurprisingly well regarded by many.
Perfect for: The person who wants to know more about the world we live in.
4. The Nix by Nathan Hill ($17): Chris remarks that Hill truly is “an author who could establish himself as one of the greats of his time.” In this smart debut novel, Hill tackles topics like politics and family with poise and intelligence.
Perfect for: The smartest person you know.
5. Mischling by Affinity Konar ($16): This touching novel about twin sisters who survive Auschwitz will leave you reaching for both the tissues and the phone (to call your sister, duh). It was chosen for its “exquisite language and empathic writing,” explains Chris.
Perfect for: A sensitive soul.
6. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren ($17): You probably wouldn’t have thought a plant scientist could write a bestseller, but Hope Jahren is here to prove you wrong. Entertaining and life-affirming, this book will make you “learn something and feel good, all with great writing,” Chris says.
Perfect for: The nature lover.
7. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson ($14): This poetic and breathtaking novel tackles growing up female and black in the 1970s. “Woodson draws more emotion out of a single sentence than most,” Chris tells us.
Perfect for: Poets, Brooklyn lovers and children of the ‘70s.
8. Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman ($17): “War on the ground is a mess,” says Chris. “You need a maestro to describe it in a way that makes sense.” Go ahead: Learn something new this New Year.
Fargo, this page-turner will definitely have you sleeping with the lights on. “You’ll either love or hate the end,” cautions Chris, “but you’ll have a really good time getting there.”
Perfect for: Thriller readers looking for something a little different.
10. Swing Time by Zadie Smith ($16): Tackling big issues like race, class and friendship through a dancer’s daily struggle, Smith’s novel is one for the ages. “Somehow she makes great literature look so easy. But it’s not,” marvels Chris.