by Tim Ehrenberg
It’s that time of year to start making a list and checking it twice…
No need to find out who’s naughty or nice though, because books make the perfect gift for anyone on your shopping agenda. Thank Santa Claus that we have two bookstores here on Nantucket Island!
What a year for reading! Many of our favorite authors published new books in 2021 that captivated our imaginations, inspired, and entertained us. The joy of reading connected and sustained all of us through another year of uncertainty.
Autographed Gift Sets are the most popular gift year after year. Signed copies from authors like Elin Hilderbrand, Nathaniel Philbrick, and Nancy Thayer, make for one-of-a-kind packages to wrap up under the tree. Set sail for historical Nantucket with Nat’s Nantucket Book Set featuring In the Heart of the Sea, Away Off Shore, and Second Wind. Celebrate the holidays with a signed set of Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Street Series or Paradise Trilogy, complete with an exclusive Elin bookmark and sticker. Cozy up with Nancy Thayer’s three Christmas novels, one of which is a brand-new Hallmark movie. Mitchell’s and Booksworks both have a special signed bookplate set of the new holiday novels by “Friends and Fiction” authors: Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Patti Callahan. And they always stock signed copies by several local authors like Steve Sheppard, James Sulzer, Steven Axelrod, Betsy Tyler, and many more. Have the author add a personalization to make these unique and priceless gifts.
Two of the hottest reads to give or receive this season are by authors Amor Towles and Anthony Doerr. Amor Towles, Nantucket Book Festival alumni and author of A Gentleman in Moscow, returns to Mitchell’s & Bookworks shelves with The Lincoln Highway. Set in 1954, follow Emmett Watson, his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and his two friends as multiple voices chronicle their fateful journey to the City of New York. Pulitzer Prize winner of All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, brings us Cloud Cuckoo Land, a novel “dedicated to the librarians then, now, and in the years to come, this is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.”
Coffee Table Books are always a safe bet for those “hard to shop for” friends and family. John Annetti and Whitney Hubbell put you in the shotgun seat in Beach Rides – a unique photographic storytelling of 21 island cars and their owners. The iconic cars reveal intimate family memories and uncover long forgotten island history. Spend Christmas on Nantucket with Leslie Linsley, renowned style and craft expert, who offers ideas for Christmas trees, door decorations, mantels, and much more, all inspired by the homes of Nantucket.
For your youngest bookworms, Read Island by Nicole Magistro and illustrated by Alice Feagan just might bcome their next favorite book for bedtime. You will join a very brave girl and her furry friends on an adventure to Read Island! Through the power of imagination and the pleasure of reading, this curious trio set sail for a magical island made of books. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter Series, will entertain your little elves this year with The Christmas Pig. It’s a heartwarming, page-turning adventure about one child’s love for his most treasured thing, and how far he will go to find it. The whole family will enjoy this pig tale by the Christmas tree lights. Wendy Rouillard’s Where Oh Where is Barnaby Bear makes the perfect stocking stuffer and Brett Apthorp’s brand-new Maisie’s Merry Rescue is sure to delight any story time.
The booksellers at Mitchell’s Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks love recommending your next favorite reads, especially during the most wonderful time of the year. In that spirit, here are some of Nantucket Book Partners’ Favorite Books of 2021! Wendy recommends Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Suzanne enjoyed Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, Cristina loved The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, and Annye has two favorites, for fiction Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy, and for nonfiction The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, and Erin suggests Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simmard. As for me, I highly recommend We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker and How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue.