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QSaltLake’s 2020 Holiday Book Gift Ideas – Fiction

The holidays this year are going to be, well, unique.

Some family members won’t be there. Others are coming, regardless of whatever’s going on in the country. Still, others are sending their regards and a box of presents, which is something you might do, too. And here’s the good news: books are an easy wrap, easy to box, and easily shipped. So try one of these great books for that person who can’t make it to your table this holiday season.

Does anybody need another book about a natural disaster?  Ha, of course, they do! So that’s why you should look for The 2084 Report: An Oral History of the Great Warming, by James Lawrence Powell. Yes, it’s set in the future. You can hope so, anyhow.

If your giftee loves a good, multilayered novel about family and best-forgotten memories, then look for Hieroglyphics, by Jill McCorkle.When Lil and Frank move back to Frank’s childhood hometown, their past moves with them. Wrap it up with True Story, by Kate Reed Petty, a story of childhood trauma, and the chance for those who lived to recover from it.

For the giftee who’s ready to pack up and move across the country, The Exiles, by Christina Baker Kline might be a good choice for a gift. It’s a novel about three women who are exiled to Australia more than a century ago when exile was punishable. Fans of Orphan Train, listen up. Wrap it up with this: Flyaway, by Kathleen Jennings, a dark twisted tale of vanishings and family horror in Australia.

Surely, someone on your gift list has wished this year to be cloned. Wrap The Mirror Man, by Jane Gilmartin with a “careful what you wish for” note. And include The Operator, by Gretchen Berg, the story of a woman who wishes she’d never overheard what she did.

For your loved ones to be surprised, add under the tree The Book of Hidden Wonders, by Polly Crosby. It’s a book about a girl whose father entertained her with a story in which she’s a character, and it becomes a big bestseller. Good for her, right? Or not so much. Perhaps include The Falling Woman, by Richard Farrell,a story about a woman who supposedly died in a plane crash – only she didn’t, but she wants to stay “dead.”

The person on your list who loves a good family drama will want “The Lost Orphan” by Stacey Halls under the tree this year. It’s the story of two women and one little girl, and a secret that won’t be able to be kept for long. Pair it with “The End of the Day” by Bill Clegg, a novel of friendship, relationships, and the resolution of long-buried secrets.

No doubt, there’s a historical fiction fan on your list, so there’s no doubt that you’ll want to wrap up “Bonnie: A Novel” by Christina Schwarz. Yep, it’s a fictionalized tale of Bonnie  Parker, and how she became one of the early 20th-century’s most iconic outlaws. Wrap it up with “The Big Finish” by Brooke Fossey, a novel about two outlaws that you’d never put together and their great escape.

If you’ve got a big reader on your list, it’s hard to find something they haven’t already seen. That’s why you should wrap up Layoverland, by Gabby Noone. It’s the tale of a woman who lives a life she’s not proud of, so when she dies, she goes to purgatory. There’s a chance for her to go to heaven, but it involves helping the guy who killed her. Pair it with The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig, the story of a possible place that offers a redo of life. It’s a spot between living and dying, but it’s not what your giftee thinks.

The short-story lover will enjoy Cat Person and Other Stories, by Kristen Roupenian,that’s a collection of creepy, odd tales that doubles as a gift of shivers. You can’t go wrong if you pair it with The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The title should tell you everything you need to know?

Is there someone on your list who loves a good sink-your-teeth-into novel?  Then surprise a loved one with When These Mountains Burn,by David Joy. It’s a tale of two men wrapped up in the drug trade – one, a father with a son who’s an addict; the other, an addict himself. And the DEA is asking for help… You can’t go wrong if you sneak it under the tree with Nine Shiny Objects by Brian Castleberry – a novel of (supposed) UFOs and the legacy the sightings left behind.

For the novel-lover who professes to hate their job, you can’t go wrong with Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots.It’s a super-witty story of a woman with an unusual job (hey, somebody’s has to do it!) and what she does to remain gainfully employed after the next-to-worst thing happens. If you’re charmed by it, you should it with Lies Lies Lies, by Adele Parks, which is a story of a family and the party that changes absolutely everything.

Lovers of family-drama novels will whoop when they open Louisiana Lucky,by Julie Pennell. It’s the tale of three sisters and a big lottery payout that makes all their dreams come true. Or not. Pair it with Betty, by Tiffany McDaniel. It’s a lovely novel of family and what happens when you learn things about them you don’t want to know.

And for the science-fiction-fantasy reader, you couldn’t find a better gift than To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, by Christopher Paolini.It’s a story of new worlds and a journey to make sure that the universe survives. It’s thrilling and edgy. Note: It’s over 800 pages, so add a bookmark to this great gift.

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Terri Schlichenmeyer, Book Review Columnist, has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She has worked with more than 200 newspapers and nearly 50 magazines scattered in 46 states, the Virgin Islands and six provinces of Canada. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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