Best Books to Read this Holiday Season

Best Books to Read this Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas is just around the corner, in between parties and family gatherings you may have a moment or two during the holidays to read a book or two.  Perhaps you might find a book or two under the tree for you.  Here are some of the best books to read this holiday season.  There are some fiction and non-fiction on this list that you should add to your reading list.

Non-Fiction Titles

Heartland by Sarah Smarsh

Growing up in the middle of the heartland, Sarah Smash takes a close look at the poverty in the area and how it becomes cyclical from one generation to the next.  As the first of her family to graduate from college she went on to be a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.  She introduces you to her own family and how as Midwestern farmers they still had to struggle to make ends meet despite hard work.  It takes you into the world of the working poor and the challenges they face.

American Prison by Shane Bauer

Prison reform has been a hot topic in US politics for a while but investigative reporter Shane Bauer takes you into the world of private prisons.  Initially he wrote a piece for Mother Jones but then American Prison takes a much closer and more disturbing look to the cruelty and corruption in the world of private prisons in the US. Here is a look at Bauer’s experiences working in the prison.

Fiction Titles

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

If you want a nail biter this holiday season then Transcription is a must read.  The book is about an 18 year old spy, Juliet Armstrong working for MI5 back in WWII.  Working as a spy is dangerous and intense, especially for someone that young and a woman.  After the war ends she tries to settle down and live a normal life, but her enemies from the war aren’t ready to let her.

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

If you are a fan of Shteyngart then you know it has been awhile since his last novel.  This book introduces you  to Seema the wife of a runaway hedge fund manager and mom to an autistic son.  You can walk in the shoes of Seema on her day to day life in New York as she tries to move on and pursue a new relationship.  Despite the heavy subject matter there are parts of the book that are actually quite funny and it makes a good holiday read.

How Do You Become a Bestselling Author

How Do You Become a Bestselling Author

Every author dreams of becoming a best seller, hitting that coveted spot on the NYT bestseller comes with some serious bragging rights.  So how do you get there, how do you become a bestselling author?  It isn’t really a secret, you sell a lot of books in a very short period of time, and each list has a different requirement.  For Amazon it’s only about 500 books but the New York Times it’s going to take about 9,000 books to hit their list.  Let’s have a look at how most authors make the best seller list.


Don’t count on luck to take you to the top of any best seller list, it’s right up there with winning the lottery.  If you are familiar with the 50 Shades of Grey series then you have an example of luck.  The books were originally a piece of self-published fan fiction that became popular, it eventually caught the attention of the big New York publishing houses and a best seller was born.

Write a Really Good Book

With few exceptions all of the best sellers have incredible writing skills and the books are really well written.  These books sell a ton of copies because they are incredibly good books, especially within the fiction section.  Every writer should strive to make the best-seller list based on good writing.

A Solid Marketing Strategy

Even the next great American novel needs some marketing in order to make the best-seller list.  Your book may be better than most of the books on the best-seller list but the difference is they have great marketing propelling them to the top spot.  Combining a well-written book with some incredible marketing is how you hit the top of the best seller list.  Becoming a best seller can setup your career for the rest of your life.

Buy Your Way In

For all of your cynics out there, you were right.  Yes, you can cheat your way onto a best seller list.  You simply buy enough books to guarantee your place on the list.  However this isn’t cheap and other than temporary bragging rights it could hurt more than help.  However there are marketing companies that will help you do just that. They will make your sales look natural and get around the safeguards that are already in place that are supposed to prevent this from happening.

For an author reaching bestseller status can be a huge honor, if you did it through hard work and a well written book.  Buying your way there is probably not the best idea, the critics will eat you alive.