Since Jam Session began in the winter of 2016, we have been sprinkling in conversations about our favorite and new books. For this gift-giving season, we’ve decided to go on record to recommend 10 of our favorites. And while we have not taken the plunge to embark on careers as Instagram influencers, we have also included 10 other simple things that make us happy and we think would make excellent presents. Listen to the full episode for more on why we love these things.
The Tina Brown Gift Set: The Diana Chronicles and The Vanity Fair Diaries
Every royal watcher who loves gossip needs these.
Life After Life, by Kate Atikinson
Atkinson is a prolific writer with impressive range, and the post-WWI-era novel is her most impressive.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book proves why Beyoncé was wise to pick Adichie as (presumably) one of her favorite writers for good reason: The novel is engrossing and nuanced, and we wish it went on for even longer.
The Spy Wore Red, by Aline, Countess of Romanones
The author’s name is reason enough.
She Said, by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
You likely know about how Kantor and Twohey’s reporting kicked off a generational movement, but you likely don’t know how they did it. This is the 21st century’s All the President’s Men.
Helen’s Wine Subscription
Regular arrivals of wine at one’s doorstep is never a bad choice.
Cy Twombly: Fifty Days at Iliam
If you can’t make it to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, bring the museum to you while also decorating your living room.
David Shrigley Bananarama Print
Shrigley is the type of artist whose talent is partially in making his work look easy, but after the initial glance the complex heart and humor become clear.
Bright, healthy skin begins with a proper serum.
Hot-Pink Candles (or Really Any Fun Dinner Candles)
Candles may seem like a basic gift, but they are a pricey item that is better to receive than to buy for yourself.
Fleishman Is in Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Brodesser-Akner’s novel has made it on to many end-of-year best books lists, because it deserves it. The sharp insights that make her celebrity profiles heavily shared on social media propel her first novel.
The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The Fug Girls’ novel loosely based on the courting of Will and Kate is a deeply comforting read with a version of the Cambridges that we wish were real.
David Lodge Trilogy: Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work
Lodges’s three novels set in the fictional university town of Rummidge, England, are the literary equivalent of the blanket, and since no one else reads books anymore, no concerns about pretention necessary.
My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
This unexpected story of sisters is written in a style as direct as the title.
The Husband and Wife Gift Set: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman
These books are not related except by their authors who happen to be married, but they are both excellent and Juliet often thinks of them together.
Helen Levi Ceramics
There are many pieces to choose from, but the beach mug makes each morning better.
Cuyana Work Clutch
The Cuyana Work Clutch can be a nod to Meghan Markle, but really it’s just a great little leather bag.
The Barbour quilted jacket is as British and long-lasting as the queen.
Art Museum Membership
Art museums are more than locations for a good Instagram, they’re nourishing places to spend time alone or with a companion.
Once Again: Fancy Candles
A nice candle makes a room look more refined and feel good. Inject a little luxury into your home!