Books to Get You Thinking – Special Holiday Edition II

As promised last month, here is a selection of titles from fiction as well as from food and entertainment that should come in handy when you’re brainstorming gifts for the book lovers on your list.


Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
A hauntingly beautiful novel that captures the horrors of the Holocaust and weaves a spellbinding story around Sarah’s life, tracing back her ordeals that began one fateful day in Paris of 1942.

New York by Edward Rutherfurd
A memorable piece of historical fiction that traces the origins and growth of New York City from the earliest times to the present through the lives, the loves and the drama surrounding the diverse characters in the book

Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
Set in 1950s Hong Kong, a story of love, intrigue and the choices made under harsh war conditions, the ramifications of which echo through time and come back to haunt the lives of the characters.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
The novel explores the struggles of William Shepherd as he strives to seek his identity and is a commentary on how events and public opinions can shape a person’s life. Shepherd is torn between two nations, America his birthplace and Mexico where he spends years pursuing his passion for Aztec history and art.

The Help by Katheryn Stockett
Katheryn Stockett skillfully weaves a riveting story around three different women whose lives are intertwined while living in the racially charged landscape of Jackson, Mississippi in the early‘60s.

Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout
A 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning book with a collection of thirteen linked stories that revolve around the central character Olive Kitteredge, a school teacher who lives in Maine. Olive’s experiences and relationships are a reflection of all the different facets of life – tragedy, joy and the human tenacity to live through it all.

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Another delightfully heartwarming offering from bestselling author, Debbie Macomber. In this holiday themed story, the heroine Cassie Beaumont turns to a matchmaker to help her find her true love. She is given three tasks to complete before Christmas. Nothing prepares her for the surprise waiting for her!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows
Set against the backdrop of World War II, this enthralling novel highlights the warmth and endurance of the bonds of friendship between the members of a society in a town that has fallen under German occupation.

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
Published from a manuscript found on the author’s hard drive after his death, the book
is an exciting adventure story set in the British settlement of Jamaica in the late 1600s. Interspersed with historical research and technical details characteristic of Crichton novels, this high seas thriller follows the swashbuckling hero Captain Charles Hunter and his teammates as they go in full pursuit of Spanish gold aboard a heavily armed ship.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Winner of the 2009 Mann Booker Prize, the book is a masterful creation of the Tudor period in British History. The author has researched extensively and creates a rich drama centered on Thomas Cromwell who became King Henry VIII’s trusted advisor.

Food and Entertaining

Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities by Nigella Lawson
The hostess of the popular Food Network’s television series Nigella Express presents an instant winner in this delightful Holiday volume that is designed to take the stress out from holiday entertaining with a variety of delicious recipes along with tips about cooking and preparing ahead.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond
Sumptuous recipes with step by step lavish illustrations are geared toward the home cook. Interspersed with the recipes are photos and delightful stories that define the author’s experience of living in a ranch in Oklahoma.

Jewish Holiday Cooking: A Food Lovers Treasury of Classics and Improvisations by Jayne Cohen
An enjoyable book full of both traditional and unusual recipes, extensive menu choices for Holidays that makes planning for the Holidays easy, as well as endearing family anecdotes and fascinating historical details about traditions and practices through the times.

Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
A unique offering of recipes from different regions of Italy along with the history and cultural traditions of each area that have influenced the kinds of food popular to those areas. Beautiful photographs of the Italian countryside add to the book’s appeal.

Hungry Girl: 200 under 200: 200 Recipes under 200 Calories by Lisa Lillien
A great resource for anyone looking to make healthy delicious dishes in their own kitchen from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Lillien who has also created her own web site. From brownie cheese cakes to Southwestern wraps, the book has it all!

Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen edited by Ruth Reich
A book that reflects the changing landscape of American food and preferences as they have evolved over time. Recipes include meals for Holidays and festive occasions, and recipes from different parts of the world. New spices, as well as new and sustainable ingredients are introduced to prepare meals that are both healthy and quick to prepare.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat by Tal Ronnen
A collection of seventy five delicious and hearty vegan recipes that are designed to satisfy the most demanding of palates. By using traditional French culinary techniques to meatless dishes, Tal Ronnen creates new and interesting flavors that spice up vegetarian recipes.

Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey
For everyone who loves Indian food but is intimidated by the thought of cooking it, Madhur Jaffrey takes the mystery out of it through her precise, simple to follow instructions and beautiful full color photos.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight's Dinner by Jaden Hair
A wide range of dishes ranging from Thai curries to teriyaki and ginger sauce presented in an engaging style with plenty of beautiful food photos and family anecdotes for the home chefs interested in all kinds of easy to cook Asian meals.

Hope you have fun shopping for the books! Have a wonderful Holiday and I’ll be back in January with more Books to Get You Thinking!

- Nita Mathur


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