With only a few days to go before Christmas, TODAY assembled a distinctive panel of two to find out which books each would recommend for the bibliophiles on your gift list. Bestselling novelists David Baldacci and Gillian Flynn sat down with TODAY to list their recommendations for the season. Check out their selections below.
David Baldacci’s list
1. ‘Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power’
By Jon Meacham.
Do we need another biography of Jefferson? If written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Meacham I would say yes, we do.
By Tim Flach
A beautiful coffee-table book that will be cherished by anyone who loves the four-legged friends of humanity. Some of the most endearing photos ever of the noble canine.
3. ‘The Woman Who Died A Lot’
By Jasper Fforde
Another entry in Fforde’s incomparable Thursday Next series. Jasper Fforde has one of the most vivid imaginations of all time — like J.K. Rowling on steroids.
4. ‘Team of Rivals’
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Simon & Schuster)
This is the book that the film “Lincoln” is somewhat based on. President Obama has said that he looks to Lincoln as a model leader. He should. In Team of Rivals Lincoln brings genius to the adage “friends close, enemies closer.”
Simon & Schuster
5. ‘A Christmas Carol’
By Charles Dickens
(Simon & Schuster)
In a world of holiday materialism gone wild this novel remains the most potent antidote to our out-of-whack greed gene.
6. ‘The Yellow Birds’
By Kevin Powers
This fictionalized account of a soldier's time in the Middle East has already received critical attention from all corners, and deservedly so. It’s a book that will make you think long after the last page has fallen.
Nan A. Talese
7. ‘Sweet Tooth’
By Ian McEwan
(Nan A. Talese)
Spies, the 1970s, the Cold War, romance, intrigue and a master storyteller to put it all together for us.
8. ‘Dear Life’
By Alice Munro
If anyone writes better stories than Alice Munro I don't know who that is. In the delicate shell of a short story she conceives worlds of bone-deep truth that many full-length novels never come close to realizing.
By Lauren Hillenbrand
A true tale of human resilience so unbelievable that you would think it was a novel. But Louis Zamperini did it and Hillenbrand chronicled that harrowing journey in a way only she can.
10. ‘Life of Pi’
By Yann Martel
A young man, a lifeboat and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Read the book before seeing the movie. As splendid as the cinematography is, the images and themes the novel conjures are richer still.
Henry Hold and Co.
Gillian Flynn's list:
1. ‘Bring Up the Bodies’
By Hilary Mantel
(Henry Holt and Co.)
This extraordinary historical novel details the deadly power struggles of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Lovely, present, and chilling.
2. ‘Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel’
By Maria Semple
A hilarious, nasty, heartfelt satire about parenting, privilege, genius, resilience and life in Seattle.
3. ‘The Dog Stars’
By Peter Heller
A dreamy post-apocalyptic novel about being grateful: for a soda pop, a day of fishing, a good dog, and possibilities.
4. ‘Gods of Gotham’
By Lyndsay Faye
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)
The launch of a brilliant new mystery series, set in 1845 New York City: Irish Potato Famine, the birth of the police force, brothels and bedlam.
The Dial Press
5. ‘Tell the Wolves I'm Home’
By Carol Rifka Brunt
(The Dial Press)
At the height of the AIDS crisis a teenager mourns the death of her uncle—Brunt's character work, from Uncle Finn to narrator June, is astounding.
6. ‘Vanity Fair’
By William Makepeace Thackeray
Do you enjoy a great, nasty, manipulative anti-heroine? Becky Sharp is one of the all-time greats.
Reagan Arthur Books
7. ‘Dare Me’
By Megan Abbott
(Reagan Arthur Books)
Abbott captures all the vindictiveness of teenage girls in this story about a team of competitive cheerleaders and their pretty new coach.
8. ‘Sailor Twain’
By Mark Siegel
A haunting Gilded Age graphic novel about love, lust, and mermaids.
9. ‘People Who Eat Darkness’
By Richard Lloyd Parry
Best true-crime book of the year: Parry's investigation into a Tokyo murder case is beautifully written, brilliantly researched, and incredibly thoughtful.
By Susan Cain
A true gift for the introvert, Cain's well-researched book will make you proud to be quiet.
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