compiled by Nicole Tomassi, Marketing & Conference Manager
This is the sixth year for our annual December tradition of presenting books that members of the Westchester staff want to read or gift to others. Get more information about the titles by clicking on the cover images, which will take you to the IndieBound website, which uses the Bookshop.org platform to manage order fulfillment.
Not sure what book someone on your holiday list may want? Send them a digital gift card from Bookshop so that a portion of your purchase supports local, independent bookstores all around the country.
The Woman in White
Author: Wilkie Collins
Publisher: Penguin Classics
I am going to gift Wilkie Collins’, The Woman in White to my daughter. I’m currently reading it and am reminded why the classics have earned their place in history and are still a source of inspiration to modern authors. It is a beautifully crafted page-turner. I picked up my copy in an Oxfam bookshop in Bath. I buy from charity bookshops, Waterstone’s and independent bookshops.
Selected by: Julie Willis, Editorial & Pre-press Director, River Editorial
Author: David Grann
Publisher: Doubleday Books
This is a somewhat historical account of the HMS Wager and its 18th century tale of mutiny on the seas. I almost feel like I can hear the sails whipping in the wind, the groans of the wood from the ship, along with shouts of the sailors just from reading the excerpt of this book. I know the person I’ll be gifting this to will love it.
Author: Safiya Sinclair
Publisher: 37 Ink
I listened to an interview with her earlier this year on NPR as she talked about her childhood growing up in a strict Rasta household and I was immediately fascinated. I know very little about the Rasta culture and I’m eager to read her memoir and learn more. Americans, for the most part, have a misperception about Rastafari culture, their relationship to marijuana, and what American’s think is a Rasta “laid back” way of life. I’m looking forward to reading about Ms. Sinclair’s experiences from her childhood.
Selected by: Deb Taylor, Chief Operating Officer
Author: Ariel Aberg-Riger
America Redux won the Kirkus Reviews Teen Award this year, but it’s really essential nonfiction “reading” for every American adult. “Reading” in quotes because it’s a graphic/illustrated book and the presentation of hard truths is so cool that you can’t look away. I can’t wait to give it to my nephew for Christmas: he’s 30, very socially conscious and as fun, caring, and deeply curious as any devoted aunt could hope for.
Favorite bookstore: The Bookshop of Beverly Farms. Genius recommendations.
Selected by: Christina DeYoung, Director, Client Solutions, Westchester Education
Author: Jennifer Breheny Wallace
This was recommended by my wife as a must read for parents of adolescents. It addresses the rise of “toxic achievement culture” and the effects of always having to be the best that are placed on our kids by a variety of sources including culture and media. It offers solutions to best address these fallacies and provide them with resilience and self-confidence to recognize and overcome these messages, and find their own path. With a junior in high school and an eighth grader that face competitive pressure every day at school and in athletics, this seems like a great read.
Selected by: Kevin Schroeder, Director, Client Solutions, Westchester Education
Pulitzer Prize Winner Daniel Mason’s North Woods plays out the passage of time in a farmhouse in Western Massachusetts over the course of several centuries. Books that examine a single location over the course of a long span of time have always fascinated me. From historical works to literary non-fiction like Tracy Kidder’s Hometown (also about a location in Western Massachusetts), or fiction titles that are more about a place than a single set of events, I’ve always found works that are conceptual about what makes a town or city special to be fascinating. This one’s on its way, and certainly the book that will be at the top of my reading pile at the end of the year.
Selected by: Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
To learn about additional titles worthy of gifting to others or for yourself, the links below are for articles containing reviews about some of the best titles that were released during 2023:
Publishers Weekly: Best Books 2023
Kirkus Reviews: Best of 2023
National Public Radio: Books We Love 2023
Time Magazine: The 100 Must-Read Books of 2023
Vox Media/Vulture: The Best Books of 2023
May your holiday season be filled with lots of books given and received, along with some quiet time to read them. Wishing you all the best in 2024, when there are sure to be more new books for the TBR pile.