Yeah… so… how ‘bout them holidays? If you’re anything at all like me (and I’m sorry if you are) then you’re probably clueless about what to get the wonderful people in your life in celebration of your selected holiday. Soooo! The friendly neighborhood Book Nerdist is here to help! Ish.
All right, maybe not. A lot of people don’t freakin’ read anymore, which is a shame, but for those that do or those that you feel SHOULD? Here are some of the recent-ish releases (I’ve been slacking, I KNOW) that might double as sweet holiday gifts. Or maybe a little somethin’-somethin’ for yourself? Mmmmhm.
An Object of Beauty: A Novel by Steve Martin (yes, THAT Steve Martin!)
Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby’s and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights–and, at times, the dark lows–of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
More ideas aplenty, after the jump:
The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective’s next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning — crowds sported black armbands in grief — and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.
Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had “murdered” Holmes in “The Final Problem,” he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.
Or has it?
When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold – using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories – who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.
Suck On This Year: LYFAO @ 140 Characters or Less by Denis Leary
One of America’s most original and biting comic satirists, Denis Leary turns his irreverent eye and scathing humor on everything you love and cherish-and now he does it with a hilarious, illustrated collection of Tweets! Like a quiver full of arrows, Suck On This Year’s barbs will hit you where it hurts-and you’ll love it.
Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel by Salman Rushdie
With the same dazzling imagination and love of language that have made Salman Rushdie one of the great storytellers of our time, Luka and the Fire of Life revisits the magic-infused, intricate world he first brought to life in the modern classic Haroun and the Sea of Stories. This breathtaking new novel centers on Luka, Haroun’s younger brother, who must save his father from certain doom.
For Rashid Khalifa, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, has fallen into deep sleep from which no one can wake him. To keep his father from slipping away entirely, Luka must travel to the Magic World and steal the ever-burning Fire of Life. Thus begins a quest replete with unlikely creatures, strange alliances, and seemingly insurmountable challenges as Luka and an assortment of enchanted companions race through peril after peril, pass through the land of the Badly Behaved Gods, and reach the Fire itself, where Luka’s fate, and that of his father, will be decided.
Filled with mischievous wordplay and delving into themes as universal as the power of filial love and the meaning of mortality, Luka and the Fire of Life is a book of wonders for all ages.
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown’s find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye. The debate culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of “dwarf” planet. Suddenly Brown was receiving hate mail from schoolchildren and being bombarded by TV reporters—all because of the discovery he had spent years searching for and a lifetime dreaming about.
Filled with both humor and drama, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is Mike Brown’s engaging first-person account of the most tumultuous year in modern astronomy—which he inadvertently caused. As it guides readers through important scientific concepts and inspires us to think more deeply about our place in the cosmos, it is also an entertaining and enlightening personal story: While Brown sought to expand our understanding of the vast nature of space, his own life was changed in the most immediate, human ways by love, birth, and death. A heartfelt and personal perspective on the demotion of everyone’s favorite farflung planet, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is the book for anyone, young or old, who has ever dreamed of exploring the universe—and who among us hasn’t?
And that’s that! Any other newish books you wonderful nerds can think of? Add ‘em in the comments! Some of us (ahem) need all of the gift ideas we can get.
Images: Spiegel & Grau, Random House, Viking, Twelve, Grand Central Publishing