After a year of politics, fake news and Facebook rantings, giving a loved one the chance to escape reality is the ultimate loving act. Fifteen 2016 fiction books are sure to do the trick.
For the independent traveler on your list, “ Paris for One & Other Stories” by Jojo Moyes might be a great bon voyage gift. It’s a collection of short stories about change, opportunity, independence and life in general. Pair it with “The Jungle Around Us: Stories” by Anne Raeff. It’s a collection of tales with the jungle, its mystery, darkness and richness, as both metaphor and connecting force here.
The reader on your gift list who prefers books set in other time periods will love “Cruel Beautiful World” by Caroline Leavitt. It’s a 1960s-era story of a woman who chooses a man over the sister who basically raised her, and the dynamics of family. Put it together with “Jazz Moon” by Joe Okonkwo, a book set in Harlem, 1925, where Paris is where it’s at, baby.
The person who loves a little mid-century drama will enjoy “The Jealous Kind” by James Lee Burke. It’s a bit of a Romeo-and-Juliet novel set in the 1950s in Texas, at a time when the line between the “haves” and the “have-nots” was drawn in the sand with danger, and money talked a lot. Definitely wrap it up with another great drama-mystery, “Manitou Canyon” by William Kent Krueger. Cork O’Connor is back and sleuthing. Fans, rejoice.
I’m guessing there’s a mystery fan on your list. Imagine his face when he unwraps “Seduced: A Hannah Smith Novel” by Randy Wayne White. In this novel, fishing guide and part time PI Hannah Smith goes in search of heirloom orange tree seeds–or maybe even rootstock–to save an industry. But what she wants…? So do others, whose intentions aren’t as pure.
Historical novel lovers will devour “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles, a book set in Texas in the years following the Civil War. When a down-and-out former captain of the military is hired to deliver an orphan girl to her distant relatives, he partakes in an adventure–not just through rough terrain, but through rocky child caring, too. Wrap it up with “The German Girl” by Armando Lucas Correa, a multigenerational novel about home, based on a true story.
Dog lovers will howl over “Jonathan Unleashed” by Meg Rosoff. It’s the story of a man who’s at the end of his leash and his brother’s dogs, who begin to show him that dogs are smarter than they seem. Wrap it up with another perfect book for your dog lover: “Lily and the Octopus” by Steven Rowley, the story of a man, his aging, best friend and love.
And won’t the pet lover on your list love getting “A Guinea Pig Oliver Twist” in that package, too? Yes, it’s Dickens as you’ve never seen him before…
If there’s someone on your list that’s looking for meaning in her life, “Fill the Sky” by Katherine A. Sherbrooke might make a great gift. It’s the tale of two friends, one who is dying of cancer, and they’re spiritual journey together. Wrap it up with something nonfiction: “Sharing My Shoes” by Tammy Gaffney, a book about forgiveness, trust and reconciling with God in the best ways possible.
For the person who loves a good romp, both in story and bedroom, look for “Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall” by James Magruder. It’s a tale of a ghost, a group of undergraduates and the drama that ensues.