Behind the scenes (and often right out the front too!) we at Segullah love books, and will often discuss and recommend them left right and everywhere. Just before Christmas there was a discussion around what book recommendations we all had for certain types of readers. Each dot point is a staff member’s suggestion, with stars after a title indicating how many additional staffers recommended it as well. Note that some areas overlap, with books only listed once.
Hopefully the list here will provide you with some suggestions if you’re looking for great reads and/or to use that Audible, book voucher or discretionary funding!
1) loves history, biographies, and literary fiction
- I found Swimming to Antarctica to be a little known gem that has stayed with me for a long time. It’s a memoir from Lynn Cox, an American long distance swimmer who set the world record for the English Channel twice-once when she was 15, and the she went back to reclaim her title when she was 16. Her crowning achievement was swimming from the U.S. to Russia (there are apparently 2 islands a mile apart in the Bering Sea, one is American, the other is Russian– who knew) during the Cold War. It’s a pretty cool book for somebody who likes autobiographies.
- I also thoroughly enjoyed Katherine Graham’s autobiography about her life as the editor of the Washington Post, but I don’t know if somebody without ties to DC would enjoy it as much.
- Pope Joan (Donna Woolfolk Cross) is a cool historical fiction based on a legend of a pope who gave birth during a processional. Meticulously researched, it’s got very nice prose.
- At the end of last year there was also an annotated biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder called PIONEER GIRL published by the South Dakota Historical Society that would also be a great gift book.
- ROSEMARY (Kate Clifford Lawson) was a fascinating look at the life of Rosemary Kennedy. H IS FOR HAWK (Helen Macdonald) was a beautifully written memoir, albeit a little slow and ruminative in places, but would be good for a more cerebral reader interested in single female British college professors who turn to falconry to help deal with grief (as well as the life story of T.H. White, author of “The Sword in the Stone,” who was also a falconer.)
- THE BOOK THIEF (Markus Zusak), or THE CURSE OF CHALION* (Lois McMaster Bujold), but most of all I recommend OLD MAN’S WAR (John Scalzi). I recommend Old Man’s War for lots of people, especially guys. Yes, it’s usually found in the sci-fi section, but it’s clever, witty and deals in humanity.
2) literary fiction or beautifully written creative nonfiction