Books you haven’t thought of to give someone for the holidays

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Before we get to a handful of holiday suggestions, there are two books currently available cheap in Kindle format:

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of Natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors. Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery—more than epidemics—that decimated Indian populations across North America. Through riveting new evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, and Indian captives, The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.

The Drunken Botanist

Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.

Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs—but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.

This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology—with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners—will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

And now for the following excellent suggestions:

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

An exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

One of the most revered novelists of our time – a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life – Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction – at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

Sins of Our Fathers: A Novel

Sins of Our Fathers follows small-town banker J.W., who has been caught embezzling funds to support his gambling addiction. J.W. is on the verge of losing everything when his boss offers him a scoundrel’s path to redemption: sabotage a competing, Native banker named Johnny Eagle.

A single father, Eagle recently returned to the reservation, leaving a high-powered job in the hope of simultaneously empowering his community and saving his troubled son.

When J.W. moves onto the reservation and begins to work his way close to Eagle, hundreds of years of racial animosities rise to the surface, inexorably driving the characters toward a Shakespearean and shattering conclusion.

Murder on the Orient Express

Soon to be a major motion picture!

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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