Sandy’s Selections: Best New Books for Holiday Reading

Every month, Sandy Dominy presents us with an assortment of the best new books, and suggests similar reading you might enjoy. Let’s take a look at the novels, biographeis and non-fiction selections that can take you through any holiday downtime. 

The Reckoning by John Grisham

October 2018, Fiction, #1 Best Seller NYT

The ReckoningThe Reckoning is about a murder that takes place in the first chapter with the question of motive as the very suspenseful driving force for the balance of the book. As a master storyteller, Grisham mixes up the mystery of the murder and the challenges of the court room in great style and the book is unlike anything he has written before. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
Jack Reacher: Past Tense by Lee Child



The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy

August 2018, Non-Fiction

The Husband HuntersThe Husband Hunters is the story beginning in 1874, the year Jennie Jerome, the first known “Dollar Princess,” married Randolph Churchill, to 1914, when over a hundred young American heiresses married into the British aristocracy. They brought with them fabulous riches, glamour and sophistication in exchange for titles and prestige. The inspiration for Downton Abbey. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
A Well Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler
Titled Americans 1890: The Real Heiresses’ Guide to Marrying an Aristocrat by C.P.Mitchell
Those Wild Wynhams by Claudia Renton

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane Sherron de Hart

October 2018, Biography

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A LifeThe first comprehensive biography – private, public, legal, and philosophical – of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. A tremendous number of new, fascinating details are included about this tiny, titanic, 85-year-old that has been dubbed the “Notorious RBG,” make it a must read for all her fans. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
In My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Unstoppable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American Icon by Antonia Felix and Mimi Leder

Reagan: An American Journey by Bob Spitz

October 2018, Biography

Reagan: An American JourneyMasterfully written and well documented, this is a richly detailed examination of Ronald Reagan from cradle to grave. Spitz’s writing style makes this an enjoyable read. The portrayal of the first lady, Nancy Davis Reagan, is particularly sophisticated. Her political judgment proved to be shrewd as she insisted on making “world peace” the legacy of the Reagan presidency. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
Reagan: The Life by H.W. Brands
Ronald Reagan: Intellectual Biography by David T. Byrne
The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan



Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

October 2018, Fiction, Best Seller NYT

UnshelteredThe main character of Unsheltered is a house, where two families lived, one in modern 2017 and one in the 1870’s. The old house is literally falling down, leaving them “unsheltered”. In both stories the characters are left exposed in broader ways, too, as their dreams and expectations about the lives they long assumed they’d lead are stripped away. Both stories end hopefully after the families are forced to conclude that they will have to find new ways to live. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
The Witch Elm by Tana French
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

2018, Fiction, Finalist for The Man Booker Prize

Washington BlackWashington Black is part adventure, part travelogue, part historical fiction, a story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a freeman of the world. The book talks about history and human nature in the form of a very imaginative allegory. Read this book for a good story, for a bit of wonder, or a good dose of thought provoking narrative! Great writing style! Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
Grace by Paul Lynch
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Half-Blood by Esi Edugyan



Thirst by Scott Harrison

October 2018, Non-Fiction, Best Seller NYT

ThirstThirst is the story of redemption, compassion and a mission to bring clean water to everyone on the planet in our lifetime. This is an open, honest accounting of all it has taken to establish “charity: water” as a worldwide organization that has raised over $300 million. This book is a feel good, inspirational read with proceeds from the book going to “charity: water”. Buy it here.

Readers Recommend:
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins
Why Simple Win: Escape the Complexity Trap by Lisa Bodell


For the previous month’s best new books recommended by Sandy, check out Sandy’s Selections from October.


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