Indie Gift Pick

Indie Gift Pick

Here at Zola we love our indie bookstores and they return our affections. When we asked members of our Indie Nation for holiday gift recommendations they sprung to action and gave us a variety sure to please any reader!


Politics and Prose Politics and Prose | Washington, D.C.

Burial Rites book cover

Based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites is set in the rugged landscape of 19th-century Iceland. With two others, Agnes Magnusdottir is convicted of a brutal murder, but because there is no place to hold her while she awaits execution, she takes residence with the family of a town official. There, she’s ministered to by a young local priest and works alongside the women of the family. The bonds that form are, of course, complicated by the fact that Agnes is condemned to be put to death. This is a story rich in complications, love, and the possibility of redemption. Kent recounts the events in a spare, straightforward style, befitting the setting and situation. — Mark, Politics and Prose

BookPeople BookPeople | Austin, TX

Bobcat book cover

Short fiction is all the rage! And Bobcat is the collection the short story lover on your list probably hasn’t read yet. Sharp writing, unconventional scenarios, sentences that will excite you—you can’t go wrong! This is a great gift for writers, too. —Julie, BookPeople

Strand Strand Book Store | New York City, NY

Ocean at the End of the Lane book coverGaiman captures with realism and genuine emotion the magic, camaraderie, fear, and powerlessness of childhood. —Justin, Strand Book Store

Fiction Addiction Fiction Addiction | Greenville, SC

Someone Else's Love Story book coverSomeone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson is perfect for any woman on your Christmas list from teen to 93. I love, love, love this book! — Jill, Fiction Addiction

The Bookies The Bookies | Denver, CO

Once We Were Brothers book coverYou will not want to put this down. You won’t forget this book and you’ll tell others about it (like we are!)—it’s that g.o.o.d. A book of history, mystery, and law set in Poland during WWII. — Suzi and Larry, The Bookies

Porter Square Books Porter Square Books | Cambridge, MA

Duplex book cover

Beautiful, mysterious, and philosophical, with a voice for landscape as lush as any Romantic, Davis has written one of my favorite books of the year. A novel that bends physics, warps time, and stretches myths, Duplex is a wise exploration of the passage of life into death. And there are robots. And a sorcerer. And at least one apocalypse. Maybe four. — Josh, Porter Square Books

Fact & Fiction Fact & Fiction | Missoula, MT

The Luminaries book cover

This is the perfect book for winter reading. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and travel to the New Zealand of 1866. Ghosts, mysteries, and wonderful storytelling. — Barbara, Fact & Fiction

Chaucer’s Bookstore Chaucer’s Bookstore | Santa Barbara, CA

Lookaway, Lookaway book cover

Lookaway, Lookaway is a wildly entertaining social novel that examines the lives of a Southern family in contemporary America. If you appreciate Jonathan Franzen, you will go hoohah over Wilton Barnhardt‘s latest work. If you don’t enjoy Franzen, you may go double hoohah. Barnhardt casts his novelist’s eye on society and culture, and expertly delivers a searing, biting, touching, and hilarious novel that deserves a wide audience and teaches us all a thing or two. If you like to laugh, cry, and learn while marveling at exquisite writing, this book should not be missed or ignored. A literary treat! — Ed, Chaucer’s Books

Village Books Village Books | Bellingham, WA

We the Drowned book cover

A magnificent epic which effortlessly treads the line between historical fiction and magical realism, this is a novel for adventurers, lovers of literature, and anyone who enjoys a good seafaring yarn. — Sam, Village Books

Cuppa Pulp Cuppa Pulp Booksellers | Spring Valley, NY

A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming book coverFascinating! A how-to on self-guided dreaming, from a brief cross-cultural analysis of what dreams are to ways in which we can help ourselves by guiding our own dreams. — Donna, Cuppa Pulp Booksellers


Don’t miss any of the New Year’s countdown! See all of the stories here.

This article originally appeared on Zola Books.