Christmas Books 2019

2019 Holiday List

To round off the year and ring in 2020, we’ve compiled a list of the best new and classic books to read and give this holiday season.

Happy holidays to all! Since 1924, New Dominion Bookshop has been the place to find special holiday gifts. Here are some of the best books of the year, as well as perennial favorites. And don’t forget, mark your calendar for our Holiday Party on December 14, from 6–9 PM!


General Nonfiction

Yes We Did
By Lawrence Jackson
From a former official White House Photographer, with a forward from Barack Obama, this photography book celebrates heartwarming moments of the Obama administration. (TarcherPerigee)

How to Cocktail
By America’s Test Kitchen
The first cocktail guide from ATK includes classics such as the Negroni and Manhattan, as well as new concoctions that will go down easy at the holidays. (America’s Test Kitchen)

Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life
By Marta McDowell
“Deeply satisfying for gardeners and garden lovers, connoisseurs of botanical illustration, and those who seek a deeper understanding of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.” —The Wall Street Journal (Timber Press)

The Atlas of Amazing Birds
By Matt Sewell
From the beloved illustrator Matt Sewell, this atlas showcases the beauty and diversity of birds throughout the world. (Princeton Architectural Press)

Cassatt: Mothers and Children
Edited by Mallory Farrugia
Discover Cassatt again with this mother-and-daughter-themed coffee table book, which showcases her changing portraiture style as an American Impressionist. (Chronicle)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Books
By Leah Price
A response to the current “gloom and doom” about reading, this book offers hopeful and fascinating stories from the history of book culture. (Basic Books)

Where To Go When: Unforgettable Trips for Every Month
By DK Eyewitness
This unique travel book highlights the best seasons in which to see both well-known and more hidden locations across the globe. A great gift for planning your dream trip. (DK Eyewitness Travel)

Guitar: The World’s Most Seductive Instrument
By David Schiller
This lavishly illustrated, oversized book showcases two hundred famous guitars in detail, from Fender’s Broadcaster to Willie Nelson’s “Trigger.” (Workman)

Vanity Fair’s Women on Women
Edited by Radhika Jones and David Friend
From contemporary bright lights such as Tina Fey to legendary women such as Emily Post, this collection showcases in-depth profiles on women by women. (Penguin Press)

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss — A VA Book Fest Pick
By Margaret Renkl

Late Migrations can claim its place alongside Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and A Death in the Family. It has the makings of an American classic.” —Ann Patchett (Milkweed Editions)

Biography & Memoir

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
By Tembi Locke
“[Tembi] learns to heal in the most beautiful way—through the support of three generations of women—and yes, there’s Italian food.” —Reese Witherspoon (Simon & Schuster)

A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons
By Ben Folds
Musician Ben Folds’s thoughtful and wise memoir of his career as the frontman of Ben Folds Five. (Ballantine)

A Guest of the Reich
By Peter Finn
From The Washington Post ’s national security editor comes the story of Heiress “Gertie” Legendre’s dramatic capture and imprisonment by the Germans during WWII. (Pantheon)

The Farmer’s Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm
By John Connell
“This book is a vivid and sharply observed account of a way of life which is almost invisible, a new hidden Ireland.” —Colm Tóibín (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Travel Light, Move Fast
By Alexandra Fuller
From the author of Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight, Fuller’s memoir of her father and her childhood in Africa is utterly original. (Penguin)

Year of the Monkey
By Patti Smith
Through dream sequences and biographical musings on grief, travel, and her seventieth year on earth, Patti Smith has created a one-of-a-kind experimental memoir. (Knopf )


City of Girls
By Elizabeth Gilbert
From the author of Eat, Pray, Love comes a story of a Vassar dropout who discovers the sensual, hedonistic world of New York theater in the 1940’s. (Riverhead)

Gun Island — A VA Book Fest Pick
By Amitav Ghosh
A rare book dealer embarks on a journey across the world. Discover one of the most important contemporary Indian writers. (FSG)

The Dutch House
By Ann Patchett
The newest novel from Ann Patchett imagines the bond between a brother and sister over five decades of changing family fortune. (Harper)

Royal Holiday
By Jasmine Guillory
This breezy holiday read has romance, wish fulfillment, and a dollop of British royalty as the heroine travels to London for a Christmas to remember. (Berkley)

The Sweetest Fruits — A VA Book Fest Pick
By Monique Truong
In this work of historical fiction, three women’s lives overlap with that of the famous traveler Lafcadio Hearn. (Viking)

Where the Light Falls: Selected Stories of Nancy Hale
Edited by Lauren Groff
Hale, who was ahead of her time, contributed to The New Yorker for three decades and wrote deft psychological portraits of women. (Library of America)

Chances Are…
By Richard Russo
Three old friends reunite on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard and take stock of their lives. (Knopf)

Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness
By Stephen Mitchell
Mitchell, trained in Zen Buddhism, brings a new layer to the themes of betrayal and forgiveness in the biblical story of Joseph. (St. Martin’s)

Mysteries & Thrillers

A Better Man
By Louise Penny
“With its mix of meteorological suspense, psychological insight and criminal pursuit, [this] is arguably the best book yet in an outstanding, original oeuvre.” —The Wall Street Journal (Minotaur Books)

Lady in the Lake
By Laura Lippman
Set in 1960’s Baltimore, this classic noir features a sympathetic journalist as she delves deeper into the secrets of a murdered woman and the lives she touched. (William Morrow)

Agent Running in the Field
By John le Carré
John le Carré, now eighty-eight years old, has written a thrilling spy story against the backdrop of Brexit. (Viking)

The Long Call
By Ann Cleeves
Set in Devon, England, the first in a new detective series from the author of the Vera and Shetland series. (Minotaur Books)


Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright
By Charles Wright
Longtime UVA professor Charles Wright’s book of selected poems, from early to late career. (FSG)

An American Sunrise
By Joy Harjo
From the new U.S. poet laureate comes a portrait of contemporary American Indian life and a hopeful reckoning with the past. (Norton)

The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall
Edited by Robert Pinsky
This unique anthology brings together poems on strong emotions, from love to joy to grief. You will be reminded of old favorites and discover new voices in contemporary poetry. (Norton)

Poems of Paris
Edited by Emily Fragos
An elegant little stocking stuffer, this gold-edged volume compiles brief poems on Parisian life and travel, ranging from Baudelaire to Bukowski. (Everyman’s Library)


Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over
By Alison Roman
For a successful, low-stress dinner party, start with this book from New York Times and Bon Appetit columnist Alison Roman. (Clarkson Potter)

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations
By Sean Brock
“Sean reminds us what it really means to eat and cook Southern food and how we can all be better custodians of the delicious ingredients we have available in our own parts of the world.” —David Chang of Momofuku (Artisan)

Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake
By Odette Williams
Recipes for basic cakes, cake toppings, and more, all with lavish photographs so good you’ll want to eat this book. (Ten Speed Press)

How to Cook Everything—Completely Revised 20th Anniversary Edition
By Mark Bittman
Perfect for new households, a definitive cookbook that truly covers everything you need to know to cook for all seasons. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Signed Copies

The Guardians
By John Grisham

Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge
By Susan Hand Shetterly

Team of Destiny
By Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham

Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens


Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
By Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by David Roberts
From the author of Rosie Revere, Engineer comes a story of a girl who wants to transform the dangerous garbage dump into a park. Ages 5–9. (Abrams)

This Is How I Do It
By Matt Lamothe
Following seven children growing up in different countries, this book showcases the diversity of childhood experiences in a lighthearted manner, complete with activities. Ages 3–8. (Chronicle)

A Piglet Named Mercy
By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
An older couple adopts a piglet who brings love and a touch of chaos into their lives. Nota bene: this piglet is extremely charming. Ages 3–7. (Candlewick)

The Good Thieves
By Katherine Rundell
A satisfying and swiftly plotted heist story with a group of intrepid children at its center. Perfect for young adults drawn to adventure. Ages 10–15. (Simon & Schuster)

The Tale of the Tiger Slippers
By Jan Brett
Retold and illustrated by the beloved children’s author of The Mitten and Snowy Nap, a charming folk tale about slippers that grant special powers to a tiger cub. Ages 2–7. (Putnam)

What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?
By Virginie Morgand
A beautifully illustrated book for children who are curious about the adult world and the jobs that adults do while children are at school. Ages 2–7. (Wide Eyed)

How Do You Dance?
By Thyra Heder
Have you ever felt nervous about how you dance? This book will put you at ease with its warm message about expressing yourself. All ages! (Abrams)

Carol Troxell Reader

From the Virginia Festival of the Book:
“The Virginia Festival of the Book is pleased to honor Carol’s legacy by naming an annual Carol Troxell Reader, who will be featured in a solo reading at New Dominion in addition to their regular program.”

Murder in Bel-Air
By Cara Black
The third Carol Troxell Reader will be Cara Black, author of the mystery novel Murder in Bel-Air. Private investigator Aimée Leduc returns for her 19th book in the beloved detective series set in Paris. This series has been a shop favorite, and Carol Troxell would often recommend the latest Cara Black every year. In the newest book, Aimée Leduc follows the trail of a dead man last seen speaking to Aimée’s mother, who has vanished with secrets of her own. (Soho Crime)


D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
By Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

The Tale of Despereaux
By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
By E.L. Konigsburg

Art Forms in Nature
By Ernst Haeckel

The Varieties of Religious Experience
By William James

I Capture the Castle
By Dodie Smith

The Age of Innocence
By Edith Wharton

Love and Friendship
By Jane Austen

The Elements of Style (Illustrated)
By William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Illustrated by Maira Kalman

Tales from Shakespeare
By Charles and Mary Lamb

Invisible Cities
By Italo Calvino

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
By Isabel Wilkerson


My First Snow Children
By Sibylle von Olfers
With its classic illustrations of Art Nouveau snow babies, this board book edition will charm the youngest readers. Ages 2–4. (Floris Books)

Madeline’s Christmas
By Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline, the beloved little girl of Paris, has an adventure on the night before Christmas with the help of a magical merchant. Ages 2–7. (Viking)

Oskar and the Eight Blessings
By Tanya and Richard Simon
Illustrated by Mark Siegel
A National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature winner, this heartwarming picture book follows Oskar as he arrives in New York City in 1938 and encounters kind strangers. Ages 3–8. (Roaring Brook Press)

The Muppet Christmas Carol
By Brooke Vitale
Illustrated by Luke Flowers
Join Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and, of course, Miss Piggy as they reenact Charles Dickens’s classic. Ages 3–8. (Insight Kids)

Holidays on Ice
By David Sedaris
Sedaris’s humor collection includes the now-famous story of his stint as a Macy’s holiday elf. For adults only! (Back Bay Books)

A Christmas Memory
By Truman Capote
Capote’s classic novella of his childhood Christmas, featuring a fruitcake, first published in 1958 and illustrated by Beth Peck. All ages. (Knopf )