Who doesn’t love a good book to cozy up to in the fall? The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of orange and golden brown (unless you’re in South Florida like me, sigh), and you finally get to break out those beautiful sweaters you’ve been waiting to wear all year (again, sigh)! Of course – these books would make great summer reads as well, but since it’s holiday gift-giving season, I decided to call this blog 5 Best Books to Read and Gift this Holiday Season, so tada! Fall book list it is!
I could have easily made this my top dozen books, but decided to keep it to five because of time – not enough of it, as always! Hoping to get to another book list next month! But for now, here are my five best books to read and gift this holiday season.
Running With Our Eyes Closed, by Mel Greenberg
Mel Greenberg’s debut novel, Running With Our Eyes Closed is relatable to many of us. This is the coming-of-age tale of a midlife woman named Samantha, who finally decides at age 47 to grab life by the horns and put her own well-being and happiness first. She’s done playing the supporting role in her marriage, as well as her life in general. Samantha is now the star of the show! This empowering novel also gives you a dazzling glimpse (seven days’ worth) of the Tuscan region of Italy, where much of Samantha’s renaissance takes place. I have to say I couldn’t put this one down – simply fabulous, and from what I remember, I think I read it was soon to be made into a movie! How exciting for Mel!
Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms, by Susan Silver
I was lucky enough to meet Susan (thanks Mel Greenberg for introducing us!) this past October for dinner at The Boca Raton, and holy smokes! Let’s just say I was fascinated with this dynamo! The stories!! And speaking of stories, this is Susan’s own story, about her beginnings as a girl from the Midwest, who would go on to write for prominent sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Maude, The Partridge Family, and Square Pegs. She then shifted from Hollywood to New York, becoming a prominent columnist, noted for her “The Search for Mr. Adequate” column. This autobiography has some juicy Hollywood and New York gossip, incredible stories, and an intimate look into such concepts as sex, divorce, personal triumph and loss, and making it in a man’s world. Susan also shares how she pivoted from writing to working in Holocaust-related organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, running their Speakers Bureau, and as a UN Observer for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The Wife Upstairs: A Novel, by Rachel Hawkins
If you’re looking for a little bit of suspense (in reality, a LOT of suspense), look no further than this thriller/romance by Rachel Hawkins. The Wife Upstairs centers on Jane, newly arrived in Birmingham, Alabama. Jane has sticky fingers regarding the belongings of the upper-class residents who employ her as their dog walker. However, things change for her once she meets the mysterious, wealthy, and handsome widower, Eddie. Let’s say this romance is anything but smooth, as troubling bits about each of their pasts begin to rear their ugly heads, all while the memory of Eddie’s deceased wife, Bea, haunts Jane. This baby is a real page-turner! I’ll definitely be reading more Rachel Hawkins novels!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This Taylor Jenkins Reid novel focuses on Evelyn Hugo, a Marilyn Monroe-type character who has decided to regale her story to a small-time reporter named Monique Grant. The two form a bond as the legendary and aging starlet tells Monique everything about her rise to fame in 1950s Hollywood and subsequent decades of success and scandal. This book offers a simultaneously luxurious and haunting look at Hollywood’s Golden Age and the years that followed, as well as an intimate dive into the lives of two vastly different yet similar people.
An American in Provence: Art, Life, and Photography, by Jamie Beck
The best books can transport your mind to another place. That’s what award-winning photographer Jamie Beck’s book, An American in Provence: Art, Life, and Photography, does for the reader. Get ready to enjoy the South of France as if you were there with Jamie. This book is equal parts cookbook, travelogue, memoir, and art book. It’s one of the few works I’ve ever owned that is both a coffee table book AND a page-turner. Jamie Beck uses her words, recipes, and photography to convey the beauty of one of Europe’s most unique and beautiful regions. For all you Francophiles out there, this is a must-have. The photos are absolutely exquisite!
And there you have it! My five best books to gift and read this holiday season.
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