Friday December 09, 2016

Should I Read it? The holiday gift guide edition

(Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Listen 9:42

The winter weather, decorations made of red velour, plates of baking at the office … holiday season is upon us. That means Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne is back with our sixth annual holiday picks, great books for everyone on your holiday gift list.

This year, she's picked five new works including a buzz-worthy debut, a couple of rock memoirs, a cookbook comeback and something for the little ones.


Nutshell book cover

Nutshell, by Ian McEwan (Penguin Random House Canada)


Nutshell, by Ian McEwan

McEwan's 17th novel is getting a lot of attention — even by McEwan's standards — because the narrator of this story is a fetus. The first line reads "so here I am, upside down in a women." From there we learn that this is actually a re-telling of Hamlet, in which the unborn baby listens in as his mother and uncle plot to kill his father.


Becky says: "I am not aware of any other novel that has done this. It's a fast and fantastic read. McEwan is such a good writer but I probably wouldn't buy it for someone who is pregnant."


Harmless Like You book cover

Harmless Like You, by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Hachette Canada)


Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

This is a debut novel by Japanese-British-Chinese-American writer Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. It's a story about identity and family that takes place in two eras: the first in 1960s New York, the other in modern day Berlin.  

Becky says: "There is a remarkable character called Celeste, who is actually a bald cat. She was one of the highlights of the book for me. I think anyone who liked Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett would really like this one too."


Testimony book cover

Testiminy, by Robbie Robertson (Penguin Random House Canada)


Testimony by Robbie Robertson

A rock memoir from the lead singer and principal songwriter of The Band, Robbie Robertson tells the story of his early life. Robertson delves into his childhood in Toronto, exploits on the road, playing with the Hawks and eventually meeting Bob Dylan. Then, of course, there's his sometimes rocky period with The Band.

Becky says: "One of the things I like about this book is that it's not his whole life up to present day. It actually stops after The Last Waltz, which was the band's final concert. That was 40 years ago."


Appetites A Cookbook book cover

Appetites A Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain (Harper Collins Canada)


Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is back with his first cookbook in more than ten years. Despite the hiatus, many are familiar with Bourdain from his TV shows and earlier cookbook Kitchen Confidential. He's known for his international adventures and eating whatever exotic foods are put in front of him, but this cookbook takes things back to the basics.

Becky says: "It's not one of those fancy cookbooks that are fun to look at but no one ever uses. This one is filled with really simple recipes that everyone should know. And he's a really good writer but he has a potty mouth so maybe don't buy it if you're worried about the swears."


We Found A Hat book cover

We Found A Hat, by Jon Klassen (Penguin Random House of Canada)


We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen

After I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat, Canadian author and illustrator Jon Klassen brings his 'hat trilogy' to an end. It's a charming, simple story about the friendship between two tortoises who won't let a newfound ten gallon hat come between them.   

Becky says: "People who love these books love them so so much. One reason the series is so popular is that it's great for kids but it's also great for adults."
 



The Day 6 ultimate holiday giveaway

Becky is one of those people who loves 'the hat trilogy.' In fact, she loves it so much that she's been giving the hat books to almost every single person she knows who's had a baby. But that's not the book she's given as a gift more than any other.

Becky says one her favourite books is Old Filth by Jane Gardam and it's one of her go-to books when she needs a gift.

Now it's your turn. What book have you given as a gift more than any other?  Tell us and you just might win Day 6's year-end holiday list giveaway!

For your chance to win all the books on Becky's list, e-mail your answer to day6@cbc.ca. Put BOOKS in the subject line and please remember to include your mailing address with your answer.

We'll pick two winners at random.