Books to Read (or Buy), According to Me

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The best seasonal present, this year and any year (since 1857), is of course a subscription to The Atlantic. Get yours now!

But in addition to that, books make the perfect gift. My own book choices are part of two seasonal wrapups.

One is the 2016 edition of the Atlantic’sBest Books We Read This Year” feature by our staff members. I thinking about this feature, my working definition of “best” is “an interesting book I’d like to let people know about.” There are lots of good suggestions in this year’s report—I expect that I will remember for a long time When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, which is Rebecca Rosen’s selection—but the one I chose to discuss and recommend is Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters. You can read my reasons why here.

The other is a “Books for the Trump Years” feature, compiled by Michael Winship for Bill Moyers & Company. I recommend a whole slew of books about the original Gilded Age and the response thereto, for reasons I explain. And of course many other people name their picks.

Read. Enjoy. Subscribe!