Holiday Book Picks

Books to give as gifts for the holidays, chosen by MORE magazine’s editors.

By the editors of MORE magazine
In Gordon’s quest for answers about a woman she had only made assumptions about, the reader learns that memory is what you make it, and sees the importance of letting things go.— Dara Pettinelli, Assistant EditorBuy Circling My Mother Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir, by Shalom Auslander(Riverhead)In his biting, laugh-out-loud memoir about growing up as an Orthodox Jew, Shalom Auslander exposes his lifelong game of cat and mouse with God. As a boy he savors beef jerky, hoards porn magazines, and drives his car to the mall on Shabbat — that is until a healthy dose of Jewish guilt sends him into a flurry of repentance and the porn literally goes up in flames. His complicated systems of checks and balances — curse God one day, attend yeshiva the next — are hilarious, and all too familiar to anyone who’s grappled with religion.— Rebecca Adler, Assistant EditorBuy Foreskin’s Lament Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani (Little, Brown) In her debut novel, Iranian-born Amirrezvani’s heroine is a 15-year-old girl living in 17th-century Persia. But the lovingly crafted story of an aspiring carpet-maker is as easily accessible as any modern-day tale of adolescence. The girl’s struggle to find her place in the bustling city of Isfahan takes her from the carpet booths of the market into the arms of a wealthy horse merchant, from the poverty of servant life to the grand halls of the Shah’s palace. Amirrezvani threads her novel with exquisite detail and leaves the reader both satisfied and yearning for more.— R.A.Buy Blood of Flowers Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)Johnson brings history to life for those of us who were too young to comprehend the Vietnam War and its impact on humanity. His novel follows Skip Sands, a spy-in-training who is working against the Vietcong. Disaster follows Sands in Vietnam thanks to his uncle, a famous war hero. In times of war, Johnson reminds us how hard life as a soldier on the front lines can be. At the very least, this book makes me appreciate the fact I am female and have never had to worry about being drafted!— Judy Goss, Bookings and Casting EditorBuy Tree of Smoke Originally published on MORE.com, November 2007.

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