The 38 best books to gift for 2023 Christmas

The 38 best books to gift for 2023 Christmas

Paging Santa …

When it comes to holiday gifting, read between the lines to find a great gift for everyone on your list.

No matter if you’re shopping for a bibliophile or a sports fan, a foodie or an artist, a child or grandparent, there’s a perfect book for them.

There are juicy memoirs and engrossing fiction, delicious cookbooks and gorgeous coffee table tomes, thought-provoking non-fiction reads and adorable offerings for children.

Have a look at all of the options below and just book it this Christmas season.

FICTION

Crook Manifesto 

by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday), $29

Ex-fence Ray Carney has sworn off a life of crime — until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter. Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of 1970s Harlem as Carney plunges into New York City’s seedy underbelly.

The Exchange 

by John Grisham (Doubleday), $29.95

In this sequel to the 1991 blockbuster “The Firm,” Grisham explores what became of Mitch and Abby McDeere after they blew the whistle on the corruption and murder at the Memphis law firm that Mitch signed on to after law school.

Happiness Falls 

by Angie Kim (Hogarth), $28

A father goes missing. His youngest son Eugene — the last person to see him — is autistic and nonverbal, and can’t communicate what has happened when he comes home from their walk bloody and in distress. The family’s desperate search to find their patriarch leads to surprising twists and revelations.

Hello Beautiful 

by Anne Napolitano (The Dial Press), $28

A young man falls under the spell of four tight-knit sisters — until a catastrophe shakes their devotion to one another and causes a violent family rift. Napolitano delivers another crowd-pleasing tear-jerker with this multigenerational “Little Women” homage.

Holly 

by Stephen King (Scribner), $30

One of King’s most beloved characters, Holly Gibney, is back. This time, the reclusive detective grudgingly takes on a missing-girl case to distract herself from her mother’s death from COVID. Her investigation leads her to a creepy elderly husband-wife duo — two of the horror master’s most sadistic creations — who are hiding some gruesome secrets in their basement. 

Pineapple Street 

by Jenny Jackson (Pamela Dorman Books), $28

This delicious family saga provides a voyeuristic look into the lives of an ultra-wealthy Brooklyn Heights clan. Expect doomed romances, real estate dealings and lots of tennis.

Romantic Comedy 

by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House), $28

Jane Austen fans will swoon over this tart comedy of manners. A writer for a late-night sketch show thinks she has sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star begins flirting with her and challenging her jaded assumptions about men.

Nonfiction

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life 

by Arnold Schwarzenegger, $28

The world-famous bodybuilder, action hero and former governator of California has penned a self-help book designed to help people find their purpose and realize their dreams. He drops his wisdom and shares examples from his own life, from growing up poor in rural Austria to leading the world’s sixth largest economy, with his trademark wry sense of humor. 

The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary 

by Sarah Ogilvie (Knopf), $30

This lively detective story uncovers the colorful band of volunteer linguaphiles who — over the course of 70 years — compiled the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language. The cast of characters include three murderers, a pornography collector, Karl Marx’s daughter, a vicar “later found dead in the cupboard of his chapel” and an inventor of the first American subway.

Elon Musk 

by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster), $35

Steve Jobs’ biographer tackles another eccentric tech billionaire in this excavation of the controversial Tesla and SpaceX founder.

Emperor of Rome 

by Mary Beard (Liveright), $39.99

Have a man (or woman) in your life who can’t stop thinking about the Roman Empire? This engaging read delves into power and the social and political world of Ancient Rome’s infamous rulers. Another instant “classic” from the world’s most renowned ancient historian. 

To Infinity and Beyond: A Journey of Cosmic Discovery 

by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lindsey Nyx Walker (National Geographic), $30

The celebrated astrophysicist explains the universe with this illustrated tour through the farthest reaches of space. He even takes on some of the cosmos’ most perplexing phenomena, from parallel worlds and black holes to time travel and more.

LIV and Let Die 

by Alan Shipnuck (Avid Reader Press), $32.50

Sports reporter Shipnuck delivers the dishy inside story behind the most sensational conflict in professional golf: The battle between the established PGA Tour and the raucous Saudi-funded LIV Golf League.

The Underworld: Journeys to the Depth of the Ocean 

by Susan Casey (Doubleday), $32

Casey takes readers to the mysterious depths of the ocean, a place full of mountains and volcanoes, glass skeletons of ancient animals, pink gelatinous predators and 100-foot long creatures

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

by David Grann (Doubleday), $30

The “Killers of the Flower Moon” author reveals another shocking true story about murder and ambition. This time, the adventure takes place on the high seas, on an 18th century ship besieged by storms, wreckage, savagery and betrayal.

MEMOIR

All the Beauty in the World:The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me

by Patrick Bringley (Simon & Schuster) $27.99

While grieving the death of his brother from cancer, Bringley took a job as a guard at the Met and worked there for a decade. He takes readers for an intimate, cathartic stroll through the great museum, its collection and its visitors.

Every Man for Himself and God Against All 

by Werner Herzog (Penguin Press), $30

German film director Herzog is known for his portraits of madness and his oft-parodied droll narration, which has led to a side career playing villains in The Mandalorian and Jack Reacher. Now, he tells his own larger-than-life story. He spent his childhood in Nazi Germany living in a cave, ran stereos and guns into Mexico, ate his own shoe, was shot doing an interview for the BBC (he suffered only a slight wound), rescued Joaquin Phoenix out of an upside down car and so much more.

My Name Is Barbra 

by Barbra Streisand (Viking), $47

Nine hundred seventy pages of a diva’s triumphs, love affairs and unfiltered opinions on everyone who has crossed her. Who can resist? The funny girl’s epic life story begins with her impoverished Brooklyn childhood (her only doll: a hot water bottle wrapped up in a sweater), and documents her struggles to get to the top as she conquers nightlife, Broadway and Hollywood — and the men she beds and fends off along the way.

The Woman in Me 

by Britney Spears (Gallery Books), $32.99

The embattled pop star bares her soul, spills the (very hot!) tea and frees herself from toxic people who imprisoned her in a cruel conservatorship for 13 years. A heart-breaking, jaw-dropping, but ultimately empowering story of a not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman finally finding herself.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful 

by Maggie Smith (Atria/One Signal Publishers), $28

Smith caused a sensation when her gutting 2016 poem “Good Bones” went viral on Twitter. Her memoir finds her exploring her disintegrating marriage — and her renewed commitment to herself and her children — with the same vulnerability that characterizes her poetry.

COOKBOOKS

Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed 

by Abi Balingit (Harvest), $40

During the pandemic, Balingit — whose family moved to California from the Philippines when she was a child — began preparing boxes filled with her delectable desserts, sweets that combined the flavors of her heritage with the American treats she grew up with. Here, she shares 75 of these inventive creations, from adobo chocolate chip cookies to a melon chicharron crumble.

More Is More: Get Loose in the Kitchen 

by Molly Baz (Clarkson Potter), $35

So many cookbooks sell simplicity, doing the most with the least amount of ingredients. This one says: to hell with that. Baz is a maximalist. Her fried chicken recipe incorporates pickle brine, soy sauce, nori, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Her book encourages home cooks to embrace risk-taking, fun and a “don’t stop ‘til it tastes delicious” ethos.

Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque 

by Ed Mitchell and Ryan Mitchell (Ecco), $37.50

North Carolina’s “most famous” pitmaster — in collaboration with his son Ryan — explores the history of “whole hog barbeque,” a style of cooking that has been passed down through generations over the course of 125 years. This mouth-watering volume is stuffed with the family’s food recollections, as well as time-honored recipes for fried green tomatoes, skillet cornbread, potato salad and, of course, meat.

Cooking My Way: Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking 

by Jacques Pépin, $37.50

The master chef shares his secrets for saving money, time and effort in the home kitchen — without scrimping on flavor. The 150 recipes range from a garlicky romaine salad to a luscious salmon with pesto butter, interspersed with Pépin’s own whimsical paintings.

Sweet Enough: A Dessert Cookbook 

by Alison Roman (Clarkson Potter), $35

Finally: a dessert cookbook for lazy people! Roman utilizes her casual, no-fuss cooking style to whip up gloriously effortless, elegant desserts that anyone can make. Standouts include the salted lemon pie; an old-fashioned strawberry cake; and an impossibly chic ice cream sundae served in a melon and drizzled with honey.

I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day

By Jake Cohen (Harvest)

Cohen, a New Yorker and the bestselling author of “Jew-ish” offers up classics with a twists, such as latke tartines and everything bagel panzanella. Plus, there’s a whole chapter devoted to creative schmears, such as a preserved lemon and harris spread

ART

Archive 

by Sofia Coppola (MACK books), $65

Coppola gives an intimate tour of her career, from The Virgin Suicides to Priscilla, sharing her reference collages, annotated scripts and behind-the-scenes documentation of stars like Bill Murray and Kirsten Dunst goofing off, dozing and waiting around on set.

The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther

by Ruth E. Carter (Chronicle Books), $40

The Oscar-winning designer takes us behind the curtain of her three-decade career collaborating with the likes of Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Eddie Murphy, Chadwick Boseman and Angela Bassett. Filled with sketches, mood boards and film stills, this book showcases the dazzling designs of one of Hollywood’s most important costumers.

New York Bars at Dawn

by Daniel Root (Abbeville Press), $40

Let them relive their glory days — or last night — with this evocative photography of Gotham’s most iconic watering holes, from McSorley’s to the Stonewall Inn.  Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking with Men, provides the insightful foreword.

The Atlas of Car Design: The World’s Most Iconic Cars

by Jason Barlow (Phaidon), $150

As beautiful as a sleekly designed vehicle, this stylish survey compiles 650 of the globe’s most iconic automobiles, from the Corvette to the Tesla Model X. Gear heads will go crazy for the splashy vintage ads and rich archival imagery.

Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

Audubon’s Birds of America: The Baby Elephant Folio

by Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson (Abbeville Press), $195

The classic bird bible gets a luxurious update for 2023. The Baby Elephant Folio presents all 435 of John James Audubon’s celebrated hand-colored engravings, reproduced more vividly than ever before. This new edition includes essays as well as illustrations from Audubon’s predecessors and disciples, along with plenty of bird facts.

Barbie 

by Susan Shapiro (Assouline), $105

Come on, Barbie, let’s go party! This pretty, pink coffee table book charts the famed doll’s evolution across her 65 years, from fashion model to beach babe to high-powered career woman to feminist film icon, thanks to Greta Gerwig.

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones 

by Dolly Parton (Ten Speed Press), $50

The beloved country star opens her closet for this candid, glittery look at her personal style. Featuring 450 full-color photos — including never-before-seen images from her private costume archive — Parton tells the stories behind some of her most memorable looks, from the “coat of many colors,” inspired by the clothes her mother sewed out of feed sacks, to her sparkling Studio 54 gowns, to her wild wigs.

Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion

by Mitchell S. Jackson (Artisan), $40

Jackson, a prize-winning cultural critic, shows how basketball players became the most glamorous, fashion-forward athletes in the world (sorry, Travis Kelce). “Fly” traces the evolution of the league, from its inception in 1949, when its white players wore suits and skinny ties, to the 1970s, when stars like Walt Frazier garnered headlines for his flashy style, to today, where LeBron James uses the “tunnel walk” to show off his avant-garde ‘fits.

Hotel Kitsch: A Pretty Cool Tour of America’s Fantasy Getaways

by Margaret and Corey Bienert (Artisan), $35

The creators of A Pretty Cool Hotel tour have collected the zaniest fantasy suites and honeymoon hotels from the Poconos to Key Largo in this gleeful celebration of all things tacky. Champagne bathtubs, heart-shaped swimming pools, clamshell beds, an arctic cave room and so many mirrors: this book has everything. 

Children

The Artist 

by Ed Vere (Doubleday Books for Young Readers), $18.99

A little artist decides to inject color into her drab gray city. As she boldly paints the town red (and yellow and blue) she brings beauty and life to all who live there. This vivacious storybook is perfect for young children, graduates or anyone setting on their own path and in need of a little bravery or inspiration. 

The Eyes and the Impossible 

by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris (Knopf Books for Young Readers), $18.99

Stray pup Johannes lives in an urban park by the sea, along with a pack of assorted animal friends, including three ancient bison, a seagull, a raccoon and a squirrel. But when a new ominous building appears, along with some suspicious humans, Johannes needs to step up and save his beloved home. This richly illustrated, big-hearted adventure is great for ages 8 to 12.

Grandpa Mudcake and the Funny Flamingo 

by Sophia Ferguson (Macnaughtan Books), $7.99

The latest in this quirky series of children’s book finds the titular grumpy grandfather teaming up with his friend, Cedric Bird, to go to the Zoo, where they encounter a cranky gorilla, a funny flamingo and other cheeky creatures.

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