If there are readers on your holiday shopping list — or you’re looking for suggestions for what you might want to read — Boswell Book Company’s Daniel Goldin has some suggestions for readers of all ages.
- My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Elevation by Stephen King
- The White Darkness by David Grann
- Fox 8 by George Saunders
- Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
“This has been a trend for a number of years. The head of Barnes & Noble actually pushed for really short books. He really liked the idea of something you could finish in one sitting in bed," Goldin explains. "The key on these, they’re hardcovers, not paperbacks because they really are for gift giving. They’re always $20 or less, and they’re really effectively a short story or a short essay.”
- National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber
“They’re books that don’t fit in a bookcase — this is a kid-sized coffee table book," notes Goldin. "The one I really like this year is called National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber. Beautifully illustrated, lots of maps. Another trend that I have seen over the last few years is as we don’t use maps, we want lots and lots of maps — but not for the purpose we use them for.”
- The Global Economy as You’ve Never Seen It by Thomas Rambe and Jan Schworchow
From deconstructing an airplane, learning the value of water, greenwashing, famous economists and more, Goldin says The Global Economy as You've Never Seen It is for both beginners and economists.
“The modern world of business and technology and economics, even if you listen to the right podcasts or read the right books, can be very confusing. This book lays it out for you as clearly as it can be with graphs and pictograms,” he says.
- Uberland by Alex Rosenblat
- Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Life Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons
“I love figuring out the connections between books, I feel like it’s magic," says Goldin. "It really makes you think about the book differently after. The book becomes a little more than just the reading experience — it’s sort of like having your own book club in your head.”
“If you like John le Carré [mysteries], it’s got everything … the moral ambiguity and the time jumps around," notes Goldin. “Both books have terrible violence, this was a very difficult time to be alive, but they’re so different. And the thing about Dear Mrs. Bird is that she has such gumption and can-do spirit and a positive attitude about things that she pulls through.”
“Unsheltered is one of the major books for fall. I kind of see Barbara Kingsolver sort of like Ann Patchett with a little more politics," says Goldin. "Her new book [takes place between two time periods and] is a contemporary story about the falling out of the middle class … There’s a lot of language play that I really enjoy, the themes overlap."
But if going between only two time periods isn't enough for you, "The Maze takes place between five time periods all set in the same square mile in Newport, Rhode Island, often in the same mansion,” adds Goldin.
- After you read A Man Called Ove, Goldin suggests reading Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir next.
“A man’s life has fallen apart in Iceland … so he has decided to end it all, but he can’t do it in Iceland," he explains. "So, he gets his toolkit, gets a change of clothes and travels to an unnamed war-torn country to end his life. He checks into a hotel with holes in the walls, it’s a mess. The owner has left, her young relative is running it with her even younger brother, and looks at the toolkit and says, ‘Would you fix the door?’ And this is the way the toolkit repairs the people’s life around him and his own life.”
- After Evicted by Matthew Desmond, put American Prison by Shane Bauer on your reading list.
- After reading Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Goldin guarantees you will enjoy The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason.
“I predict this book is going to be a phenomenon in 2019," he says. "It is for the Gentleman in Moscow crowd, set in the same period. It’s also really well written, straightforward history.”
- Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin
“This is only three spreads [with] three of the most iconic villains you would ever meet: the wolf, the giant and the witch," says Goldin. "Super large, bigger than most pop-ups and you can basically open everything and see what makes these creatures of evil tick … It’s super fun [and inexpensive].”
- Lulu & Rocky in Milwaukee by Barbara Joosse and Renee Graef
“This is one of our favorite books of the year and it is the first children’s book that I can think of that is as well done as Gurdy the Duck," says Goldin. "It is about a fox from Michigan who goes to visit her friend [in Milwaukee]. It is so cute and…it’s a really great book for people who are visiting Milwaukee or who used to live in Milwaukee, but if you do live in Milwaukee you’ll find all these Easter eggs.”
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: The First 60 Years by John Schroeder
“It is a lovely book and wonderful for alums," says Goldin.
- Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Madison)
- Light It Up and Tear It Down by Nick Petrie
- 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich
- Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
“What [Mount] has done in this book is taken her love of books and turned it into a miscellany. So, we have a pile of books about nature and animals with descriptions, books about technopunk, beautiful covers, lists of bookstores, cooking, dystopian novels, and there’s a little essay with each one," Goldin explains. "Her illustrations for a book lover are delightful, they just make you sing with happiness.”
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- Books and Mortar: A Celebration of the Local Bookstore by Gibbs M Smith
The book includes 68 oil paintings of bookstores along with anecdotes about the shops by many of the owners themselves. “Some of the bookstores are still around, many of them are gone because [Gibbs has] been doing this for probably 40 years," note Goldin. "Back when we had physical catalogs, he would do a different bookstore for the cover of each of his catalogs and there were two a year. [Boswell Books] never made it, but it’s still a beautiful book.”
View Daniel Goldin's full book list here.