Book lovers can be a picky lot. You can rely on them to be up-to-date, or to have long lists of their own already prepared for their year-end reading. Who can blame them? Especially in the cozy season, there’s no better feeling than curling up with a new novel, gripping non-fiction tome, or memoir. Below, just in time for gifting season, find a guide to some of the year’s best books, sure to please even the most particular reader.
For the prestige reader: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Susan Choi’s novel Trust Exercise won this year’s National Book Award, which means it’s guaranteed to impress, say, your English-major cousin who rolls his eyes at popular fiction. The coming-of-age novel follows two teenagers who fall in love across socioeconomic divides, and whose bitter breakup might provide the reader some much-needed catharsis.
For the memoir enthusiast: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
This memoir of queer intimate partner violence is deeply necessary and surprisingly beautiful, all at once. Carmen Maria Machado writes with lyricism and skill about finding herself again after falling into an abusive relationship.
For the family-drama fan: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
This novel tells the story of two New York–based cops dealing with the ups and downs of family life. Trust us—the pathos on display ensures you’ll look at your own (comparatively) normal family with relief this holiday season.
For the hard-partying poet: Porn Carnival by Rachel Rabbit White
This collection of poems from writer Rachel Rabbit White probably isn’t one for Grandma—unless your grandma loves ketamine-fueled ragers—but it’s a stunning meditation on love, lust, and what it really means to desire.
For the non-fiction buff: The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang
Mental illness is a complex topic that deserves as much depth and insight as a writer has to give. Esmé Weijun Wang supplies plenty of both in The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays. Wang’s clear-eyed look at her own struggles with mental health, as well as at the medical establishment, is well worth reading.
For the short-story devotee: Grand Union by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith is best known for her fiction, but her foray into short stories in Grand Union is a delightful one. Grand Union includes the perspectives of everyone from children to parents and world-famous celebrities, and the tales will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
For the hardcore foodie: Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
This former Gourmet editor’s memoir is 100% charming, filled with memories of her life as a young food writer who somehow got pulled in to revive one of the world’s most famous food publications. This book is guaranteed to make you hungry, so it might be wise to present it with some snacks.
For the extremely-online contingent: Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz
This book about online radicalization isn’t necessarily a feel-good read, but it’s a devastatingly relevant one. Antisocial might make a particularly good gift for any tech-addled millennials in your life—at the very least, it will spark a conversation.
Originally Appeared on Vogue