The Best Books This Winter

If you need some reading suggestions or gift ideas for yourself or someone else this winter, check out our list of new favorite titles. With everything from historical fiction to domestic thrillers to cookbooks, there’s something for everyone. All titles are linked to our catalog, but feel free to stop by the Adult Reference Desk for help finding a book on this list. 




Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews 

Recently unattached and unemployed Kerry Tolliver agrees to help her brother with the family business and sell Christmas trees in New York, where she meets handsome single dad Patrick after a kerfuffle over his parked Mercedes.  

Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories by Kate Atkinson 

This dazzling collection of eleven interconnected stories packs a deep emotional punch, with startling inventiveness and sharp observations on human nature. In this brilliant volume, nothing is quite as it seems. We meet a queen who makes a bargain she cannot keep, a secretary who watches over the life she has just left, and a lost man who bets on a horse that may—or may not—have spoken to him. 

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot 

Chosen by warlock Derrick Winters to mentor a local teen who might be the savior of West Harbor, boutique owner and self-taught witch Jessica Gold helps the girl control her immense powers while becoming closer to Derrick. But the blossoming attraction between them must be put on hold when they’re plunged into an otherworldly battle. 

The Reformatory by Tananarive Due 

In the Jim Crow South, twelve-year-old Robbie Stephens Jr., who can see ghosts, is sent to a reformatory school where boys have gone missing, while his sister Gloria rallies everyone in Florida to get him out before it’s too late. 

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff 

This captivating survival story follows an adolescent servant girl who flees her early U.S. colonial settlement with the aim of making a life for herself in the wilderness. What she finds is something far beyond what she ever imagined, which forces her to rethink everything she's been taught. 

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow 

In 19th-century Kentucky, a well-known fantasy author disappeared, leaving behind the now tumbledown Starling House, inhabited by its moody heir, Arthur. Opal takes a job there, hoping to earn money to help her brother. But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and soon Opal must decide which secrets she's willing to uncover in this haunting gothic novel. 

The World Wasn’t Ready for You: Stories by Justin C. Key 

Deftly blending science fiction, horror, and fantasy, this electrifying short story collection expertly explores issues of race, class, prejudice, love, exclusion, loneliness, and what it means to be a person in the world. 

The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella 

Retreating to the British seaside resort she loved as a child, burned out professional Sasha meets Finn, who’s just as stressed as she is. When the two are forced together by curious messages addressed to them, they talk about everything, including the simmering attraction between them. 

The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok 

Fleeing a controlling husband and searching for the daughter taken from her at birth, Jasmine Yang arrives in New York City from a small village in China. Meanwhile, publishing executive Rebecca Whitney, whose contented life includes a newly adopted Chinese daughter, suddenly faces a scandal. Unbeknownst to them, the two women are on a collision course in this twisting and suspenseful novel. 

Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri 

Translated from Italian into English, this masterful collection of nine short stories by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lahiri has Rome, suspended between past and future, multifaceted and metaphysical, as the protagonist, not the setting. 

Absolution by Alice McDermott 

Sixty years after they lived as the wives of American servicemen in early 1960s Vietnam, two women reconnect and relieve their shared experiences in Saigon. 

America Fantastica by Tim O’Brien 

On a quest to settle a score with the man who destroyed his life, Boyd Halverson robs a bank and takes a hostage in this new novel from the author of The Things They Carried. 

The Fraud by Zadie Smith 

Based on the true events of the notorious Tichborne trial in 1873 London, a butcher from Australia argues that he is the rightful heir to the estate and title claimed by Sir Roger Tichborne. Among those affected by the trial are Mrs. Eliza Touchet, an ever-skeptical Scottish housekeeper, and Andrew Bogle, who grew up enslaved in Jamaica and whose fate depends on the outcome of the trial.  

The House of Doors by Twan Eng Tan 

In 1921 Penang, Lesley befriends Willie, a famed writer and old friend of her husband’s who arrives for an extended stay. As her friendship with Willie grows, Lesley makes a dangerous decision to confide in him about her life, including a confession that has devastating consequences.  

The Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar  

When Remy Wadia returns to Bombay from his home in Ohio to adopt a baby and visit his mother, he learns that the baby’s birth mother, Monaz, is rethinking her plan to give up her child for adoption, and discovers that his own mother, Shirin, has been hospitalized for pneumonia. As Remy learns harsh truths about his parents’ choices, he also gets an opportunity to define the man he wants to be. 

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward 

In the years before the Civil War, Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, struggles through the miles-long forced march, and seeks comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother, opening herself to a world beyond this world. 



Mystery & Thriller 


The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner 

Searching for a story to re-launch her journalism career and for new friends to help her navigate motherhood, Tash is welcomed into a circle of sleek, sophisticated mothers and discovers the kind of life she’s always dreamed of until two recent murders make her wonder why she’s been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world.  

Code Red by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills 

Because he owes a favor to crime lord Damian Losa, CIA counterterrorist agent Mitch Rapp ends up in Syria planning to block its distribution of a highly addictive new narcotic, until Mitch learns that the drug was actually created by Russia as a weapon against the West.  

The Exchange: After the Firm by John Grisham 

In this explosive sequel to The Firm, Mitch McDeere, a partner at the largest law firm in the world, is asked for a favor by a mentor in Rome that plunges him into a sinister plot with global implications that once again places everyone he holds dear in danger. 

Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah 

In 1931, the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, finds his plans for a much-needed, restful Christmas holiday thwarted by a murder investigation and has less than a week to solve the crime and prevent more murders.  

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim 

When her father Adam disappears, Mia cannot ask the one person who knows what happened—her brother Eugene, who is nonverbal. As the family's search for Adam grows increasingly desperate, they start to question everything they know about him and one another in this thrilling page-turner that is also a deeply moving portrait of a family in crisis. 

Holly by Stephen King 

Introduced in several of King's previous novels, Holly Gibney finally gets her own story. With partner Pete out sick and her difficult mother recently deceased, Holly isn't eager to take on the search for Penny Dahl's missing daughter. But she does, and soon she's entangled in a case involving multiple disappearances and a seemingly innocuous octogenarian couple with something evil in their basement.  

The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger 

On a bright Memorial Day in 1958 Jewell, Minnesota, powerful landowner Jimmy Quinn's shotgun-shattered body is found floating in the river, and the town wants to blame Noah Bluestone, an Indigenous World War II veteran recently back in town with a Japanese wife. Sheriff Brody Dern, himself a veteran, must contain the town’s rage while seeking the real killer.  

12 Months to Live by James Patterson & Mike Lupica 

Once an NYPD cop, then a private investigator, Jane Smith is now an undefeated criminal defense attorney who is steering a client possibly responsible for multiple murders through a headlines-making trial. She's confident and newly in love, but there are problems: she's facing a terminal diagnosis with just a year to live, and someone is trying to kill her.  

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose 

In this sequel to the award-winning book The Maid, Molly Gray is the Head Maid at the 5-star Regency Grand Hotel. When a world-renowned mystery author drops dead in the hotel, Molly matches wits with her old foe, Detective Stark, to solve the case, which not only threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation but may be linked to Molly’s past.  

Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon 

When her teenage granddaughter happens upon a dead body while kayaking and becomes a suspect in the investigation, high-powered businesswoman Lana Rubicon sets out to find the true murderer, uncovering a dangerous web of lies lurking beneath the surface of their sleepy coastal town. 

There Should Have Been Eight by Nalini Singh 

Gathering at their late friend Bea’s family estate in New Zealand’s Southern Alps for a reunion, a group of friends are plagued by long-buried grief, bitterness, and rage, revealing that Bea’s shocking death wasn’t what it was claimed to be—and that the truth will finally be unleashed no matter the cost. 



Nonfiction & Biography 


Brilliant Bites: 75 Amazing Small Bites for Any Occasion by Maegan Brown 

This beautifully photographed cookbook shares 75 recipes for bite-sized appetizers for any occasion. Going beyond typical charcuterie board fare, Brown includes many unique ideas divided by theme, including “Breakfast Bites” and “Dessert Bites.” The recipes utilize common ingredients and are straightforwardly written, making this a great reference for entertaining.  

Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune by Anderson Cooper 

Follow the history of the Astor family dynasty that began when German immigrant John Jacob Astor arrived in the United States in 1783 and built an extraordinary business empire on the basis of beaver trapping. While the Astor family was prominent throughout the Gilded Age, their shine began to fade, burning out with Anthony Marshall's conviction for defrauding his aged mother, Brooke Astor, in 2009. 

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinner's Ready!: 112 Fast and Fabulous Recipes for Slightly Impatient Home Cooks by Ree Drummond 

Culinary sensation Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, returns with an exciting new cookbook filled with no-fuss family recipes for dinners, desserts, and more. 

Organized Living: Solutions and Inspiration for Your Home by Shira Gill 

In this practical guide, home organizing expert Gill takes readers on a visual tour of the houses of 25 international home organizers, providing visual inspiration, expert tips and resources, and clever organizing hacks. 

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson 

From the author of Steve Jobs and other bestselling biographies, this is the astonishingly intimate story of the most fascinating and controversial innovator of our era—a rule-breaking visionary who helped lead the world into the era of electric vehicles, private space exploration, and artificial intelligence. 

Edible Houseplants: Grow Your Own Citrus, Coffee, Vanilla, and 43 Other Tasty Tropical Plants by Laurelynn G. Martin 

This extraordinarily helpful guide provides ample information about germinating 46 different tropical plants indoors, including orange, lemon, guava, olive, and vanilla. Ideal conditions, care, and potential problems are all presented in an attractive, easy-to-use layout that's complemented by appealing photographs. This guide will be useful for gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts of all skill levels. 

Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots by Reba McEntire 

This photographic book invites readers to get back to the basics of life—fun, food, friends, and family—in a behind-the-scenes tour that shares the stories, recipes, and Oklahoma-style truths that guide McEntire’s life. 

The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA by Liza Mundy 

The author of Code Girls reveals the untold story of how women at the CIA ushered in the modern intelligence age. This sweeping story spans three generations of female spies who broke the glass ceiling, helped transform spy craft, and tracked down Osama Bin Laden. 

Killing the Witches: The Horror of Salem, Massachusetts by Bill O'Reilly 

Revisit one of the most frightening and inexplicable episodes in American history: the events of 1692 and 1693 in Salem Village, Massachusetts. What began as a mysterious affliction of two young girls who suffered violent fits and exhibited strange behavior soon spread to other young women. Rumors of demonic possession and witchcraft quickly consumed Salem as fear overcame all reason. 

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones by Dolly Parton 

Showcasing the music legend’s most unforgettable looks from the 1960s until now, this stunningly photographed book displays Parton’s iconic sense of style along with entertaining personal anecdotes that, for the first time, reveal the full story behind her lifelong passion for fashion. 

The League of Lady Poisoners: Illustrated True Stories of Dangerous Women by Lisa Perrin 

This lavishly illustrated book, perfect for any true crime buff, introduces more than 25 infamous female poisoners, exploring the circumstances and skill sets that led them to lives of crime. Learn about popular poisons throughout history and their deadly effects and explore the motives that drove these women to commit their dastardly deeds. 

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Sharing his toolkit for a meaningful life, along with personal stories, life-changing successes, and life-threatening failures, the Austrian-born bodybuilder, actor, businessman, philanthropist, and politician shows us how to put these tools to work in service of a fulfilling future. 

A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through? by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith 

The bestselling authors of the popular science book Soonish discuss the future of space settlements in this lively and informative read. They explore what would be needed to have space kids, build space farms, and create space nations, ultimately questioning whether or not it’s actually a good idea.