Get the latest from TODAY
Very little can compare to cozying up by the fireplace with a good book and a warm blanket.
To help find the best books to read (or gift!) this holiday season, we've enlisted the help of Buzzfeed Books Founding Editor Isaac Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, Lisa Lucas, and best-selling author Anna Todd.
They've chosen books in four different categories to suit every type of bookworm, from young adult novels to beautiful coffee table books.
Here are their favorite books to give this holiday season.
When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
Favorite Book of the Year
- Lucas' Pick: "The Mars Room," by Rachel Kushner, $17, Amazon
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
"Rachel Kusher’s stunning third novel takes us deep into the California women’s correctional system. While the subject matter might be harrowing, Kushner’s propulsive writing evokes the horrors of the realities and injustices of the American carceral system while also reminding us of the utter humanity of those trapped inside it," Lucas said of her pick for best of the year.
- Todd's Pick: "Providence," by Caroline Kepnes, $17, Amazon
"No one does suspense like Caroline Kepnes," said Todd. "I love all of her work, especially her first book 'You,' but 'Providence' added a sci-fi element that I didn’t know I was missing in her writing. This is a very unusual sort of love story that starts with one of the main characters getting kidnapped and returning with a dark power that complicates things and endangers everyone he cares about. Perfect for fans of romance and 'Stranger Things.'"
- Fitzgerald's Pick: "An American Marriage: A Novel" by Tayari Jones, $16, Amazon
"'An American Marriage' is easily one of the best books of the year," said Fitzgerald. "A novel about love, race, and the mass incarceration of blackmen in the United Sates, it explores enormous issues while depicting its unforgettable characters in all of their richness, complication, and humanity."
This was also author Elizabeth Acevedo's pick in the fiction category. Read on below to hear why.
Coffee Table Books
- Todd's Pick: "Homebody," by Joanna Gaines, $24, Amazon
"This book the perfect gift for anyone who’s just moved or looking to make a change in their home," said Todd. "Beautiful images, expert advice, I want to live inside this book."
- Lucas' Pick: "Henry Taylor," by Charles Gaines, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Sarah Lewis and Zadie Smith, $40, Amazon
"His absolutely beautifully-made and handsomely-printed monograph of Henry Taylor’s work includes many of the painter, sculptor, and multimedia artist’s stunning portraits which depict, comment on, consider and converse with Black life in America," said Lucas.
- Fitzgerald's Pick: "Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan," by Beowulf Sheehan, $27, Amazon
"Featuring gorgeous and distinctive portraits of your all-time favorite writers to ones you have yet to discover, 'Author' by photographer Beowulf Sheehan is a work of art in and of itself," said Fitzgerald.
For the Kids and Teens
- Fitzgerald's Pick: "Hey, Kiddo," by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, $17, Amazon
"A heartbreaking and affecting graphic memoir about being raised by his grandparents while his addict mother is in prison, 'Hey, Kiddo,' Jarrett J. Krosoczka's story of loneliness, self-discovery through art, and survival, will resonate deeply with so many teens out there," said Fitzgerald. "Gift this to any who could use a story of struggle and loneliness that will make them feel less alone."
- Lucas' Pick: "Julian is a Mermaid," by Jessica Love, $14, Amazon
"I’m buying a copy of Julian is a Mermaid for everyone I know that has small children," said Lucas. "The book is full of stunning illustrations, has an enormous and playful heart, and a core message of love and acceptance that’s precisely what the world needs now."
- Todd's Pick: "Queen of Air and Darkness," by Cassandra Clare, $16, Amazon
"This book was my most anticipated read of the year. I've literally been planning my schedule around this book," said Todd. "Clare is my favorite author and this is the final book in the 'Dark Artifices' series. We finally find out what happens to the Blackthorn family and Shadowhunters."
- Todd's Pick: "The Simple Wild," by K.A. Tucker, $11, Amazon
"This book is anything but simple. It’s got family drama, a journey of self-discovery and romance all rolled into one novel," said Todd. "Tucker blends these elements perfectly for a heartwarming read about a woman juggling a new relationship while trying to reconnect with her estranged father. It will make you think about your own life and the relationships you're in whether it's romantic or family."
- Lucas' Pick: "Seduction," by Karina Longworth, $23, Amazon
"'You Must Remember This,' a podcast that documents Hollywood’s first century, is one of the best out there, and I listen regularly," said Lucas. "I was pleased that it’s maker, Karina Longworth, is flexible between formats — 'Seduction' is just a jam-packed with little-known histories, nearly-forgotten Hollywood stars, myth-debunking, and enormously compelling narratives as her audio work is."
- Fitzgerald's Pick: "The Incendiaries," by R.O. Kwon, $17, Amazon
"'The Incendiaries' tackles young love and religious fundamentalism, exploring with great depth and freshness this perennial question: How far would we go in the name of our beliefs? Written with incredible beauty and precision, 'The Incendiaries' proves itself impossible to put down, as you find how its characters ask, then answer, this question," said Fitzgerald.
More Great Gifts for Book Lovers
Best-selling authors Harlan Coben, Jeff Kinney and Elizabeth Acevedo stopped by the show to share even more picks for the readers in your life. From sensational stories for the fiction aficionado to books the whole family can enjoy, here are their picks for books to gift this year.
Sensational Stories, for the Fiction Aficionado
- Coben's Pick: "A Ladder to the Sky: A Novel" by John Boyne, $16, Amazon
Set in 1980's Berlin, the main character Maurice Swift is trying to become a successful writer when a chance encounter gives him an idea for a new book. With his first book a success, Swift sets off all around the world to tease stories out from vulnerable people, using their anecdotes as leverage for what will become a conniving climb to the top.
- Acevedo's Pick: "An American Marriage: A Novel" by Tayari Jones, $16, Amazon
A love story that's bridled with some of the most prevalent social struggles we currently face as a nation, "An American Marriage" follows the story of a young couple in the south whose lives are turned upside down by an unexpected arrest.
- Kinney's Pick: "Ghost (Track)" by Jason Reynolds, $8, Amazon
This pick is part of series following four kids from a wide range of backgrounds as they get accepted into an elite middle school track team. Ghost is one of the more talented on the team and if he can focus on the sport, he'll go far. But it's up to him to decide how badly he wants it.
A Look Back, for the History Buff
- Coben's Pick: "The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World" by Sarah Weinman, $19, Amazon
Few people know the real story behind Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita." This book weaves together crime, social history and literary narrative to tell Sally Horner's story for the first time.
- Acevedo's Pick: "Barracoon: The Story of the Last 'Black Cargo'" by Zora Neale Hurston, $12, Amazon
Zora Neale Hurston traveled to a small town just outside Mobile, Alabama, in 1927 to interview a former slave and one of the last to be brought over from Africa. Using interviews from the time she spent with Cudjo Lewis, Hurston pieces together a narrative that follows his harrowing journey.
- Kinney's Pick: "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari, $17, Amazon
If you want a novel that explores the intricacies of humankind, this is it. Dr. Harari explores why we're the only species of human to survive (there were once six on Earth) and how technology is allowing us to manipulate our genes more than ever. What will that mean for the future of our species?
Pop Culture, for the Celeb Obsessed
- Coben's Pick: "In Pieces" by Sally Field, $20, Amazon
Sally Field's memoir takes readers into the deeply fascinating life of one of the most celebrated actors of our time. Field exposes the truth behind the highs and lows of her career in Hollywood, diving deep in to the truth of her longest standing relationships.
- Acevedo's Pick: "They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us" by Hanif Abdurraqib, $17, Amazon
Hanif Abdurraqib uses music and pop culture as a lens to view the world. He uses social events (like the nightclub shootings in Paris) to explore his identity as a young muslim.
- Kinney's Pick: "Beastie Boys Book" by Michael Diamond, $31, Amazon
For the first time ever, you can get the history of the band right from the members themselves. It also includes rare photos, original illustrations and pieces by guest contributors.
Fireside With the Family, for Everyone at Home to Enjoy Together
- Coben's Pick: "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman $7, Amazon
This classic novel is perfect for all ages: Traditional fantasy themes still ring true (pain, death, brave characters and cowardly ones) and make this novel a great read to share as a family.
- Acevedo's Pick: "Merci Suárez Changes Gears" by Meg Medina, $12, Amazon
Meg Medina's book follows Merci Suarez, a 6th grader who attends private school on scholarship and her struggles to fit in. Pre-teens and adults alike will relate to the important themes in the book: family, love and dealing with adversity.
- Kinney's Pick: "The Broken Ornament" by Tony DiTerlizzi, $8, Amazon
A book that attempts to bring back the true meaning of Christmas, Tony DiTerlizzi takes readers through the story of a boy who doesn't quite yet understand the value of memories. Jack breaks his mother's old ornament and can't understand why she's so upset — and when he can't find a way to fix the ornament, he figures out a way to create some Christmas cheer of his own.
Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including: