One of the best gifts to give a person is a book. A book can help someone in so many different ways–some give pleasure, others education. Here’s a list of a few reads that might be perfect for someone on your gift list.
Other American Dreams by Sérgio F. Monteiro
This a crime thriller is set in the beautiful island African nation of Cabo Verde. While Cabo Verde seems serene at first look, underneath there are other dangerous elements at work involving the national police, Selegalese refugees and the undercover drug and gang world. Monteiro does a great job in putting together the electrifying story in tried-and tied crime writing tradition. His highly descriptive style is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and the like. The added perk is that Monteiro mixes in tidbits about Cabo Verdean history, culture, and traditions. The tale is just a tad too long for me, but it is an intriguing, insightful, and an interesting ride. And don’t worry, you will find out why the cover has a graphic image of a bloody tooth. A good read to curl up with on a cold night.
10 other books to consider:
Current Affairs. The Egyptians: A Radical History of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution. Award-winning journalist Jack Shenker has penned The Egyptians and it’s everything you need to know about the current state of this historic yet volatile nation. And Shenker doesn’t pull any punches in presenting the nation’s history.
Travel Fun. New York is filled with fun distractions, and Fun with the Family Metro New York Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids, Seventh Edition by Mary Lynn Blanks gives you tons of options and opinions with hundreds of ideas to keep the kids entertained. There’s also Day Trips from New York City: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler, First Edition by Shandana Durrani. This guide is packed with hundreds of exciting things for locals and vacationers to do, see, and discover all within a two-hour drive of the New York metro area. I’m going to use it!
Understanding Others. Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities by Rogers Brubaker tackles identity in today’s world. A smart read that will provoke much-needed discussions.
Help Yourself. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Jason Selk, Tom Bartow, and Matthew Rudy. If followed these steps promise to show you how doing more is not the answer and that you can actually achieve more by doing less. Sounds like the book for me!
Contemporary Classics. If you have never read Alex Haley’s groundbreaking book Roots, then time is now. Earlier this year, Da Capo Press published a special tie-in edition to coincide with the remake of the historic TV series based on the book.
True Stories. Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior’s Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory by Brad Snyder and Tom Sileo takes us to the battlefield and what happens after. While serving in Afghanistan as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer with SEAL Team Ten US Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder became blind due to a massive blast caused by an enemy improvised explosive device. Yet exactly one year after losing his sight, he won a gold medal in swimming at the 2012 Paralympic Games. An inspiring read.
Biographies. “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like,” Coco Chanel once said. Straight from the fashion icon’s mouth. This fashion goddess invented her fab life so much many find it hard to separate out fact from fiction. And while Library of Luminaries: Coco Chanel: An Illustrated Biography by Zena Alkayat isn’t an in-depth examination of the life and tales of the legendary designer, it is a fun overview–especially if you enjoy anything Chanel.
Speaking of Religion. American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals and Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice by religious scholar Albert J. Raboteau examines the theological and ethical positions Abraham Joshua Heschel, A. J. Muste, Dorothy Day, Howard Thurman, Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fannie Lou Hamer and how they used these beliefs to persuade others to not only share but to act on their commitment to social change.
Understanding Earth. What’s Really Happening to Our Planet? by sustainability expert Tony Juniper takes an uncompromising look at how the Earth is being destroyed due to the explosion of the human population. But this book is not all doom and gloom; Juniper offers up some positive changes we can make to begin to reverse the damage we have caused.
For children…or the child within you: Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong will illustrations by John Parra is a lively and lovely picture book that explores Latino culture through food and fun. Each color represents something in the culture–red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake, for example. The books rhyming text and colorful illustrations make this a playful book for any child on your list.