…but okay, see, here’s the thing with my gift lists. I’m really not creating them for anyone who isn’t… me?

But if you’ve got someone in your life who is maybe 75%-95% like me in some way or another, then I think you probably can’t go wrong with any of these titles. These books–fiction, short stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, cookbooks, etc.– are all steeped in varying amounts of strangeness or magic and were all enjoyed over the course of the past year, although they weren’t all necessarily published in 2021. Any single one of them would make an excellent Hexmas/holiday gift for a like-minded friend or kindred spirit!

I have already read and written about a majority of these books in the semi-monthly Stacked installments here at Unquiet Things, so in the lists below I won’t be retreading ground I’ve already previously covered. I mean, it’s the holidays! I’m busy! I don’t have time to write that all stuff up again, but differently, so it sounds like you haven’t already read it! But if you’d like to know more, you can use my blog’s search function for reviews and further thoughts. Otherwise, you can judge by the beautiful cover art and trust that they wouldn’t be on this list if I didn’t love them and think they were the best of the best of everything I have read since January of this year. To make it easier, the favorites from each list will be bolded and at the top.

I will note that there are maybe 2-3 books listed below that I haven’t finished, or read the whole way through. They’re either the kind of book that lends to reading between other things, or else they are the pages you dive into at random when the mood strikes, or when you are looking for inspiration.



The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
A Ghost In The Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
The Lightness by Emily Temple
The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada
A Touch of Jen by Beth Morgan (Just finished this yesterday, it’s wild. Roxane Gay recommended it. If you liked Mona Awad’s Bunny, you’ll enjoy this.)


Short Stories

In That Endlessness, Our End by Gemma Files
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung
The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Davila

Nonfiction, Essays, & Memoirs

Be Scared of Everything by Peter Counter
Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert McFarlane
Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers by Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Magic & Mystery

City Witchery: Accessible Rituals, Practices & Prompts for Conjuring and Creating in a Magical Metropolis by Lisa Marie Basile
Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch by Kristen J. Sollee
The Moon Book: Lunar Magic to Change Your Life by Sarah Faith Gottesdiener

(Sorry, I couldn’t pick a favorite! There’s a vast wealth of insight, inspiration, wisdom, and wonder found among these pages.)


Additional Goodness

Poetry: And The Whale by Sonya Vatomsky, Homunculus by Poetess Mori
Graphic Novels: The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado
Kitchen: Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed by Erika Kubick


Extra Goodies

As a bonus, include a few small gifts with the books you generously gift away, to ensure an even more pleasurable reading experience for your recipient!

Idea one: a reading journal. Something to scribble thoughts or questions in as they read. This can be any blank book that catches your eye or one of which the aesthetic seems a fit for your friend. Here’s mine!  I always keep a notebook and a pen nearby when I’m engrossed in a book. Whether it’s to jot down an unfamiliar word or turn of phrase, to capture a phrase or sentiment that particularly ensnared my heart or set my imagination alight, or make notes on this, that or the other interesting tidbit or topic for further research, I have found my book notes absolutely essential to deepening my experience of and engagement a story while I’m reading it.

Idea two: bookmarks! Does your friend have a favorite artist? Sometimes these creators sell miniature versions of their works in the form of bookmarks or postcards. Otherwise, you can find beautiful and unique bookmarks in museum gift shops, or you could even try your hand at watercolors or decoupage or whatever and make one yourself! Me? I’m not super crafty so I just pick up bookmarks from artists when I see that they offer them. Here is a gorgeous one from Caitlin McCarthy that gets quite a bit of us.

All of the above titles are Amazon Associate links. I don’t do ads on my site or make any money from it, but as an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny bit from qualifying purchases. I just realized that I’m supposed to be putting this disclaimer on posts that contain these links, le whoopsie.

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