Home books Last-minute holiday gift guide: Diverse Books

Last-minute holiday gift guide: Diverse Books

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The holidays are fast approaching and what a more festive thing than last-minute gift shopping. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.

Books are the perfect gift for this season, they are inexpensive, they allow you a break from everything that’s going outside and they are a great source of entertainment to keep you at home, safe from the Omicron variant.

Taken from a selection of authors from diverse nationalities and backgrounds, here is a list of 10 book recommendations for all the different types of people in your life.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is about a black woman, Emira Tucker, who despite her degrees, works as a babysitter for Alix Chamberlain. Alix is a wealthy, white woman who made a name for herself by teaching other women how to be confident and how to get what they want. One night, Alix’s house gets egged on after her husband makes a racist comment on television. With the police on the house, Emira is in a supermarket distracting the Chamberlain kid from all the fuzz on the house. It was then that the security guard accused Emira of kidnapping the toddler.

The book talks about race, privilege, fetishization, white activism, new adult anxiety, and everyday aggressions. Despite all the heavy themes the book talks about, it does not feel heavy or overwhelming to read– this is more of a realistic story that almost doesn’t feel like fiction.

A New York Times Bestseller, Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and named Book of the Year by multiple outlets including The Washington Post and Vogue, don’t be surprised if you keep hearing this title, this book is going places.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This book is perfect for people who don’t and those who do read. It’s great for those who either don’t have the time or the passion to read because it is short and fast to read. But, the witty writing makes this a funny and easy book to like.

Keiko Furukura works at a convenience store. Keiko might not know a lot of things but she knows how to operate a convenience store better than anyone. 

While Keiko observes everyone and tries to act like them, everyone else looks at Keiko and notices how unusual she is. At 36 years of age, Keiko should be married and should be pursuing a career. One day, Keiko decides to do just that.

Written by Japanese author Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman is an international bestseller and is the winner of the Akutagawa Prize, a prestigious award in Japan.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

This book is great for your immigrant parents or family members.

Nadia and Saeed meet when their country is at the brink of civil war. As tensions and dangers in their country increase, the two of them fall in love and become closer and closer. After some time one thing becomes clear: Nadia and Saeed need to find a door that will exit west, into a new country and away from the violence.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is a book about refuge and identity. The book was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the Los Angeles Times book prize for fiction, as well as a recipient of the Aspen Words Literary Prize (AWLP).

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

This is a classic (or it will be) but it is also perfect for family members who emigrated, as well as first generations.

Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal are best friends. Both residents of London and WWII veterans, both them and their families grew up in a time of change: Archie thought his life was over before meeting Jamaican woman Clara Bowden, whom he married and had a daughter with. On the other hand, Samad also marries late in life with an arranged marriage to Alsana, after which the couple has twins. As the twins grew older, Samad became frustrated with their English behavior and became determined to raise them in the same faith and ways he was raised back in Bangladesh.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith talks about the complexities of being an immigrant, generational differences, and the comedy of everyday life. The book has gathered several awards and recognitions over the years and was named one of TIME’s 100 Best English-Language Novels.

Intimations by Zadie Smith

Another one by Zadie Smith, this book is for those who prefer short reads and nonfiction.

Intimations is a collection of short essays written during 2020. They talk about the lockdown and living in unprecedented times. Although heavy topics, Smith writes with intimacy and connection. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

TW: Sexual Assault

Chanel Miller first went viral in 2016. Known back then as Emily Doe, her statement capture millions after she described her sexual assault and what she had to go through since. Her assaulter was sentenced to six months in prison because anything more, according to the judge, would have “a severe impact on him.”

In this memoir, Miller talks about who she is, her family, and everything that she had to go through after the assault, and all the challenges that victims have to go through in the justice system.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The same night Cameron Post kissed a girl for the first time, her parents died in a car accident. For the next few years, Cameron has to live with her conservative aunt while exploring her sexuality. 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth is a coming-of-age book set in rural Montana in the 90s. The book was named Boston Globe Best YA Books 2012 and Amazon Best Teen Books 2012. A movie adaptation of the same was released in 2018, starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This book has been a TikTok sensation for months.

A retelling of the Greek myth, The Song of Achilles follows the life of legendary hero Achilles, narrated by his life companion Patroclus. This LGBTQ+ book is perfect for those who love Greek mythology, a good epic, a romance novel, or simply a well-written book.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Now, this book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015, but the reason you should read it now is that a short-series adaptation is coming to Netflix.

All the Light We Cannot See is about a blind girl named Marie-Laure, who grew up in Paris, near the Museum of Natural History where her father works. In a different country, Werner grows up in an orphanage and became fascinated with radios, soon he can fix them like no other, a skill that will deem useful in Nazi Germany.

After the war explodes, Marie has to leave Paris Saint-Malo, where her path crosses with a certain German soldier.

Autobiography of Death by Kim Hyesoon 

If you are trying to buy for someone who prefers poetry you should check out Autobiography of Death by Korean author Kim Hyesoon.

Each of these poems talks about death before a new cycle of life appears; it talks about trauma, endings, and moving forward. Kim also has several poetry collections that have been translated into English. She is currently one of Korea’s most important contemporary poets.

If you buy any of these books make sure to tell us on social media @culturas.us!

Melisa Cabello Cuahutle
Melisa Cabello Cuahutlehttps://melisacabelloc.wordpress.com
Melisa Cabello Cuahutle grew up in Mexico City and Baja California. She is currently based in Los Angeles where she is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Journalism. She mostly writes about international and social issues, as well as social media.
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