Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.
For the Biography or Art Lover on your list:
Finding Frida Kahlo
Finding Frida Kahlo presents, for the first time in print, an astonishing lost archive of one of the twentieth century's most revered artists. Hidden from view for over half a century, this richly illustrated, intimate portrait overflows with fascinating details about Kahlo's romances, friendships, and business affairs during a three-decade period, beginning in the 1920s when she was a teenager and ending just before she died in 1954.
Full of ardent desires, seething fury, and outrageous humor, Finding Frida Kahlo is a rare glimpse into an exuberant and troubled existence. Frida Kahlo never wrote an autobiography. Instead, she left behind a much more complex material universe. Finding Frida Kahlo offers scholars and fans alike an opportunity to examine firsthand Kahlo's secret world and draw their own conclusions about how she imagined her place in it.
For the Adventure Lover on your list:
Faery Rebels by R.J. Anderson
Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .
Creatures full of magic and whimsy?
Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.
Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.
Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?
Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.