8 books that are sure to please everyone on your list and leave a lasting impression. (Scroll down for a giveaway of The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street!)
Rituals to Observe: Stories About Holidays From the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
For short story fans, this is a must-have collection. There are no fruitcakes or tree trimming here. These stories challenge our traditional associations with holidays and offer a nuanced understanding of how themes like family and motherhood, travel, grief and memory can lead us to question our own rituals. Available from University of Georgia Press for $24.95.
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street
For mystery lovers, Karen White has finally delivered on a holiday novel. Her quirky, doughnut-loving, schedule-obsessed heroine Melanie Trehholm returns to confront the hidden secrets of Charleston. Melanie is finally married to Jack and they are living in her historic home with their 18-month-old twins and Jack’s 15-year-old daughter. But a new passel of spirits have taken up residence at 55 Tradd, and they need Melanie’s help to right old wrongs. Available from IndieBound for $26.
Meg & Jo + Little Women
Give someone the gift of a classic plus a new modern retelling by Virginia Kantra. Fans of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women will want to know what happened to sisters Meg and Jo, along with the rest of the March family, as they navigate adulthood. Both sisters have pursued their separate dreams, Jo in New York City as a cook and food blogger and Meg married with children in the suburbs. But their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays. Available from IndieBound for $16; find copies of Little Women on IndieBound here.
The Season: A Social History of the Debutante
Any Southern woman on your list will enjoy this history and evolution of the debutante ritual from Kristen Richardson, who grew up in a family of debutantes but chose not to come out herself. From the “withdrawing rooms” of Queen Elizabeth I to the cotillions of the American South and the modern International Debutante Ball, Richardson traces the thread of marriage over centuries and the origins of these rituals, their survival through the age of feminism and current modern interpretations in Russia and China. Available from W.W. Norton for $26.95.
A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia
For the naturalist, gardener and literature-lover, this beautiful guide explores the natural environment of Southern Appalachia, from the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland Plateau. Contemporary poems about trees, plants and animals are accompanied by illustrations by Appalachian artists and field notes that showcase 60 species indigenous to the region. Available from University of Georgia Press for $24.95.
The Mermaids’ Night Before Christmas
For as it has been for centuries and centuries that each Christmas Eve Santa Claus takes the land and his cousin Calliope Claus takes the sea. Kids will love this reimaging of the night before Christmas, where a bustling underwater North Pole comes to life. Helped by a team of narwhals, Calliope Claus delivers gifts to mermaids around the world in this enchanting tale by New Orleans-based Sally Asher. Available from UL Press for $20.
The Yellow House
This National Book Award winner would make a great gift for those with a connection to New Orleans or who appreciate a good memoir. So much more than a post-Katrina novel, The Yellow House offers an intimate portrayal of New Orleans East and the yellow house author Sarah M. Broom grew up in. Drawing on her own family research, she guides readers through decades of heartbreak, survival and transformation to tell the story of her family’s shotgun house. Available from IndieBound for $26.
Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures, Vols. 1 & 2
Dad will want to own the unpublished works from the archives of the American West’s foremost storyteller Louis L’Amour. His son Beau L’Amour continues to uncover his father’s never-before-seen manuscripts, short stories and notes, with rare photographs included. Available from Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures for $23.80 each.