It’s simply too hard for the Bookmarks’ staff to agree on a Top 10 list for 2019, but they can certainly share a few of their favorites — just out this winter. All are perfect gifts for the holidays, too.
“The Beautiful” by Renée Ahdieh
“I’m gushing about Ahdieh’s new book about vampires in 19th-century New Orleans. The best part is she doesn’t stick strictly to vampires — nor the normal glittering, sometimes scary, vampires we’re used to today. She takes the vampire mythos and shapes it into something all her own, making it beautiful, lush, and terrifying. Celine is a French girl escaping from a dark secret in her near past. Sebastian is a powerhouse of a love interest. These two make for an incredibly frustrating slow burn that grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up. I also had no idea where the story was going to go, and that was perfect because it kept me on my toes the entire time and absolutely delivered on a delicious romance ruled by the supernatural.”
“Eat Joy” by Natalie Eve Garrett
“‘Eat Joy’ is a thoughtful collection of stories from writers about the food and recipes that have comforted them most in their lives. Sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, these stories remind us how much of the human experience we all share. The book itself will feed your soul and is perfect for anyone who enjoys food writing. It’s the ideal gift for a friend who has gone through or is going through a difficult situation. Comfort and joy.”
–Beth Seufer Buss
“The Perfect Love Song” by Patti Callahan Henry
“This romantic and inspiring story asks if one song can change a life. Brothers Jimmy and Jack Sullivan haven’t stayed in one place for long as they’ve toured with their band, The Unknown Souls. But when Jack becomes engaged to Kara, and Jimmy falls for Kara’s best friend, Charlotte, things begin to change. When Jimmy and Charlotte write what they call the perfect love song — and Jimmy is suddenly on tour with the hottest country band — he learns fame isn’t all he imagined, especially when he’s away from Charlotte. This is the perfect book for the holidays — and leaves you with a smile on your face.”
“I Wonder” by Kari Anne Holt
“My 3-year-old is constantly asking questions like these, and I always wonder at her immense imagination. It’s sad that I don’t wonder about things anymore like she does, and this book reminds me of that. With beautiful illustrations in this sweet picture book, it makes me smile. Parents will enjoy reading and appreciating the wonderful wondering of their own children.”
–Jamie Rogers Southern
“In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado
“Machado’s memoir has set itself apart as an instant classic. Honest, inventive, unflinching, and at turns playful and brutal, her examination of a past relationship and the abuse she underwent is never anything less than electric, essential reading. Each chapter is a short vignette often changing both in style, form, and voice, and I found this to be an endlessly compelling way to experience her story.
"Machado’s exploration of style and genre stretches the limits of what memoir can be and do. But it’s much more than an exercise in form; it’s a multifaceted look at abuse within a queer context — a bold, shining light on a too-often neglected corner of the human experience. Machado has penned a book to challenge and expose, but not overwhelm. It’s deeply felt, necessary reading.”
“Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson
“I don’t think I’ve read something so absurd and equally endearing ever before in my life. Wilson serves us a tale spun around heartbreak, the definition of family, and true unconditional love. When Lillian’s childhood friend calls with a job to be the governess to her stepchildren, the deal sounds too good to be true. But once Lillian meets Bessie and Roland, she learns exactly what her job is: keep the kids from (quite literally) catching on fire, at all costs. The sweetness of this story is fragrant with smoke and sweet tea, and Wilson leaves the reader completely satisfied and fulfilled by Lillian’s entire story involving this twisted and fantastical family.”
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