Skip to content

My Book Gift List for DECEMBER 2020

If you know someone who loves…

Books on a shelf at a Boise bookstore

This list of excellent books that I read (or re-read) this year have these three things in common:

They’re compelling but not harrowing.
The characters are enjoyable to spend time with.
They’re well-written, thoroughly immersive and escapist.

If you know someone who would like to read more
entertaining books by Black authors:

Blanche on the Lam
by Barbara Neely
Feisty smart housemaid Blanche is falsely accused and paints an eye-opening upstairs-downstairs picture of social strata in the South in this classic mystery. First book in the Blanche White series

Cover of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett
Twin sisters go their separate ways, one living as a Black woman, one passing as white (NEW, published 2020)

Cover of Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age
by Kiley Reid
A twenty-something babysitter trying to figure out what to do with her life. Her well-intentioned liberal employer. An incident that blows up and delivers both funny and poignant flailing about as they try to cope with the fallout (NEW, published 2020)

If you know someone who loves
escaping into the future:

Cover of The City & The City by China Mieville

The City & The City
by China Mieville
Two cities, two very different cultures, both inhabiting the same space and time, but never meeting. A murder happens in one, but is discovered in the other.

Cover of The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars
by Mary Robinette Kowal
What if a meteor struck the Earth in the 1950s—before there was manned spaceflight— and mankind’s only hope of survival is to migrate to Mars before the earth becomes unbearably hot? This is the first book in a trilogy; the third was just published in 2020 for your bingeing pleasure

If you know someone who likes
crime fiction featuring people you enjoy spending time with:

Cover of A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

A Killing at Cotton Hill
by Terry Shames
A murder in a small midwestern town where everybody knows everybody, and a police chief who has to sort through the vices and virtues of his neighbors to find the killer. Macavity winner and first in the Samuel Craddock series

Cover of The Solace of Bay Leaves by Leslie Budewitz

The Solace of Bay Leaves
by Leslie Budewitz
A shooting in Seattle leads a Pike Place Market spice shop owner in to dig up old crimes in order to find out who had it in for her friend. 5th book in the Pepper Reece Spice Shop series (NEW, published 2020)

Cover of Murder Goes to Market by Daisy Bateman

Murder Goes to Market
by Daisy Bateman
A Northern California farm-to-table-marketplace owner is accused of murder, and has to call on all her former tech skills and her quirky stable of friends to help her beat the charges (NEW, published 2020)

If you know someone who loves
journeying back in time:

Cover of Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Mistress of the Art of Death
by Ariana Franklin
In 12th Century England, a woman trained in the emerging art of medicine is recruited by King Henry II to investigate crimes and navigate the tricky politics of church, state and superstition. First book in the Adelia Aguilar series

Cover of One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow
by Olivia Hawker
Wyoming, 1876. Two families with a world of hurt between them, and a hard winter they won’t survive unless they put aside their differences (recently published, 2019)

Cover of The Last Tea Bowl Thief by Jonelle Patrick

The Last Tea Bowl Thief
by Jonelle Patrick
A tea bowl goes missing in samurai era Japan, two women race to find it in modern day Tokyo, and the stories converge to a surprising conclusion (NEW, published 2020)

If you know someone who craves
a thrill around every corner:

Cover of The French Widow by Mark Pryor

The French Widow
by Mark Pryor
Paris, an old aristocratic family who aren’t on speaking terms, an unexplained murder, and four stolen paintings. 9th book in the series featuring Hugo Marston (NEW, published 2020)

If you know someone who loves
magical Young Adult tales:

Cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow
When discovering doors to other worlds while unraveling the mystery of what happened to your missing parents becomes a matter of life and death…

Cover of Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red
by Anne Bishop
What if humans didn’t rule the earth?

If you know someone who loves
mysteries set in other countries and other cultures:

This list is a long one and I wrote about it on my Only In Japan blog, so I’m going to send you to:
My favorite international mysteries

And now that your work is done, how about cozying up with a good book yourownself?

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: