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Books Make Great Christmas Gifts — 2013 Critics Top Picks

Books
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I enjoy a great book, and I just wish I had more time to sit down and read for hours. Unfortunately, like most of us, we have little time to sit down and read. But, I try and sneak in some reading time when I can. Even if it’s just a page or two. According to USA Today, this was a banner year for books. Here are the top picks from USA Today critics, Jocelyn McClurg and Bob Minzesheimer. Whether you’re looking for holiday gifts or looking for a new personal favorite, these 10 best books of 2013 are sure to impress that avid reader on your list.

The GoldFinch by Donna Tartt

“The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind….Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.”–Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, and starts a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. As she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways.

Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

“Those hungry for political news will read Double Down for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016 … The book testifies to its authors’ energetic legwork and insider access… creating a novelistic narrative that provides a you-are-there immediacy… They succeed in taking readers interested in the backstabbing and backstage maneuvering of the 2012 campaign behind the curtains, providing a tactile… sense of what it looked like from the inside.” Michiko Katutani, The New York Times

The Lowland by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

The Son by Philipp Meyer

Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death. Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim.

 Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel, author of The Good Soldiers

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has once again embedded some of the men of the 2-16—but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.

 The Good Lord Bird by James McBride Bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung 

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

 High Drama by L. Divine

Friday Night Lights meets Glee—the incredible and true story of an extraordinary drama teacher who has changed the lives of thousands of students and inspired a town. – This one is a true story!

 

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