2019 Annual Holiday Book Show
The gift-giving season is suddenly upon us, and our independent bookstore owners are back with the best books of 2019 and recommendations for holiday shopping - including for yourself! What were your favorite books of the year? All the titles that come up in our conversation, as well as our guest picks, will be posted as soon as possible after the show.
Air Date: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
- Dan Chartrand - owner of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter.
- Michael Herrmann - owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord.
Water Street Bookstore's 2019 Top Staff Picks
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill
The Topeka School: A Novel by Ben Lerner
Tell Me Who We Were: Stories by Kate McQuade
The Starless Sea: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern
The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett
Disappearing Earth: A Novel by Julia Phillips
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Red at the Bone: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
More great fiction staff picks:
Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi; Wake, Siren:Ovid Resung by Nina Maclaughlin;
Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts: A Novel by Kate Racculia;
The Deepby Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes;
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk;
The Turn of the Key: A Novel by Ruth Ware.
Home Now: How 6000 Refugees Transformed and American Town by Cynthia Anderson
The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts by Karen Armstrong
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey of the 10thMountain Division, America’s Elite Alpine Warriors by Maurice Isserman
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall
Edison by Edmund Morris
The Ambassadors: America’s Diplomats on the Front Lines by Paul Richter
Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin
Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams
Two Great Gift Books with Illustrations:
Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Three Books Woven Together by a Theme:
Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy by Rebecca Burgess with Courtney White
Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter
Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas
Gibson's Bookstore 2019 Recommended Reads
Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout
The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
Night Boat to Tangiers, by Kevin Barry
On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann
Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson
Plus bestsellers by Richard Powers (The Overstory), Margaret Atwood (Testaments) and Louise Penny (A Better Man)
Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
Deaf Republic, by Ilya Kaminsky
The Water Draft, by Alexandria Peary
Son of Havana, by Luis Tiant
Ballpark, by Paul Goldberger
Politics and Culture:
How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
The Lies that Bind, by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Catch & Kill, by Ronan Farrow
Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, by Susan Neiman
Atlas Obscura, 2nd edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, by Joshua Foer
Strange Planet, by Nathan Pyle
The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump, by Rob Sears (updated!)
Biography and memoir:
Furious Hours, by Casey Cep
Know My Name, by Chanel Miller
Finding Chika, by Mitch Albom
The Yellow House, by Sarah Broom
In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado
Felidia, by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
The Great British Baking Show Big Book of Amazing Cakes
New updated edition of Joy of Cooking
You Suck at Cooking, by Anonymous You Suck at Cooking Guy
The Art of Escapism Cooking, by Mandy Lee
General non-fiction, belles lettres, etc:
Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino
Underland, a Deep Time Journey, by Robert MacFarlane
Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer
Becoming, guided journal, box set, etc. by Michelle Obama
Mister Rogers Neighborhood: A Visual History, by Melissa Wagner et al.
Emily Dickenson’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell
A Garden Miscellany, by Suzy Staubach
The Body by Bill Bryson
How to: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, by Randall Munro
Morning Glory on the Vine, by Joni Mitchell
Acid for the Children, by Flea
Beautiful Ones, by Prince
Country Music, by Duncan and Burns
That Reminds Me of a Funny Story, by Becky Rule
See You at the Summit, by Randy Pierce
YA/Graphic Novels/HBO connection:
Secret Commonwealth, Phillip Pullman
Watchmen, Alan Moore
Children’s picture books:
Bear is Awake, by Hana Harrison
Pages & Co., Bookwanderers, by Anna James
Legacy of Orisha series, by Toni Adeyemi (first book was Children of Blood and Bone; second book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, has just come out this week)
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Do Not Go Gentle, Go to Paris: Travels of An Uncertain Woman of A Certain Age by Gail Schilling.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo A multi-level murder mystery wrapped in a ghost story, with an examination of humanity through a cluster of secret societies drenched in real magic.
One of my favorite books of 2019 is a local story based in Durham. It's the story of three women who led an environmental fight against the richest man in the world, Aristotle Onassis, who wanted to build a oil refinery on Durham Point in 1973. The story is a great David vs Goliath written by UNH professor David Moore. The title is Small Town, Big Oil. One of the women involved is former state representative Dudley Dudley. I highly recommend it.
Preserving Old Barns by John Porter. Second edition is double the size- history, variety, care of ( mostly) NH barns. Beautifully illustrated.
My favorite book this year is Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. It is not a new book, but it was new to me. It deals with a teacher of classical languages who one day walks out of his classroom and heads to Portugal in search of the author of a book that has captivated him.
I recommend The Five by Hallie Rubenhold (purchased at Gibson's)! It's about the women killed by Jack the Ripper in Victorian London. The author did a great job at researching their lives--most were working class women who fell on hard times and not prostitutes, which is the commonly held myth. Her writing makes them into real people and not just props in a grizzly murder mystery. It's well written and reads like a novel but tells a true tale of women whose stories have been hidden for over 100 years.
Many of these stories shocked me since I grew up in Durham and had no idea. It’s a beautifully written narrative that I think other New Hampshire readers might enjoy: The Colored Folks Ain't Gonna Make It.
Things You Save in A Fire by Katherine Center
Love & Awakening by John Welwood
NHPR Staff Picks
The following books stood out to the readers on staff at NHPR:
The Library Book by Susan Orlean! It's part memoir, part true crime, with an engrossing history of libraries included.
A Woman is No Man (Etaf Rum) and The World That We Knew(Alice Hoffman).
I'm really into the new Philip Pullman His Dark Materials series, Book of Dust... the second of three, The Secret Commonwealth, came out this fall.
The Dutch House, Ann Patchett,
Mostly Dead Things , Kristen Arnett,
She Said , Jodi Kantor, Meghan Twohey
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? , Caitlin Doughty
Early Riser, Jasper Fforde
Normal People, Sally Rooney
Wakenhyrst, Michelle Paver
The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware
“Buy someone the set: Anthony Horowitz's The Word is Murder and The Sentence Is Death.
And, as always, A Gentleman in Moscow, highly recommended!
National Best of 2019 Lists