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Holiday Book Buying Guide, By...YOU!
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
December 2013
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
December 2013

Hi all! I know that the super-organized among us may have already taken care of the holiday shopping, but I am such a book-buying addict that I find I will still buy books for people even when I've already bought somebody (for instance my mom) a gift certificate to Talbot's. (I just bought her Anne Patchett's new book of essays.) So I thought it might be fun to start a thread here recommending favorite books to buy for those special people in your life...or heck, for yourself.

Here's the trick. I want these books to be published in 2013. No cheating! I am always thrilled to promote women writers, and focusing on books by women, published this year, is a great way to do that. Also, please do not list your own book here. This shouldn't be a self-promotion thread, but a generosity thread. That's always a good way to get people to appreciate and discover you and your taste, too. :)

So a recap:

She Writes 2013 Holiday Book Buying Guide Requirements:

1) The book should be published in 2013 (okay if the paperback came out this year).

2) The book should be by a woman writer.

3) The book should not be YOUR book.

4) Please include a link to buy the book, and a brief description, like 2-3 sentences. We want the thread to be readable.

5) If you include a cover EDIT THE IMAGE to make it 100 pixels. Again, we don't want to clutter up the thread!

6) PLEASE, Tweet, FB and email this widely!!! We want books pubbed in 2013 by women to top everybody's holiday-buying lists.

I'll start...

Breathless, by our own Countdown to Publication columnist Nancy K. Miller. Named by Publisher's Weekly as one of the Top Ten Travel Books for the Fall. 

Breathless, a deliriously satisfying account of erotic awakening and disillusionment, unfolds as a chain of tightly crafted, riveting vignettes, each episode as mesmerizing as the city enshrined at the book’s center. Simone de Beauvoir would have loved this story. Jean-Paul Sartre, too. But Nancy K. Miller is more entertaining than both of them put together. Her book offers a beautifully distilled parable about the difficulties of finding a direct path to happiness.”
Wayne Koestenbaum, author of Andy Warhol

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  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death at a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013, by a Pulitzer Prize winner (and dear friend!). Described as "a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice"

    Here's more:

    In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amid chaos.
    After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

    Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

    In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better.  A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

  • Jenni Ogden Writing

    The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani.  In the Depression years, 15-year-old Thea is banished to a debutante boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which, as PW comments, is “not your summer camp.” A stunning first novel.



  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    We should have a hashtag for this for FB and Twitter, Kamy. What do you suggest?

    I want to put in a huge recommendation of course for all of the amazing She Writes Press authors, but I'm going to put forth here a Seal title I love and recommend to all moms, MAXED OUT: AMERICAN MOMS ON THE BRINK, by Katrina Alcorn.

    As a mom of a toddler I totally relate to her struggle to have a big job and parent little ones. It's authentic, supportive, and puts a finger on a common struggle that gets a lot of attention in the media, but for all the wrong reasons.

  • Jennifer Richardson

    The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. - A Novel by Adelle Waldman

    A glimpse into the writerly life of a young man in Brooklyn -- a terribly authentic if not always likable portrait. Really enjoyed it.

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood is a memoir about growing up in Mexico, ME and losing a father the same year Jackie Kennedy lost her husband. Those who remember 1963, or grew up in small towns, or had strange neighbors, and everyone who's ever lost a parent should read this. An interview with the author will appear in Writer Advice's next issue, which will be up in January at

  • Lori Nelson Spielman

    The Glass Wives, Amy Sue Nathan's terrific debut novel.

    “Nathan, host of the popular Women’s Fiction Writer’s blog, proves she knows her audience as her first novel hits all the right notes . . . Jodi Picoult fans will appreciate the surprising twists embedded in this thought-provoking narrative.” --Booklist

  • Judith Newton

    Fire & Water by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder.  A haunting, beautifully written novel about love, art, passion, and madness. She Writes Press, 2013.

  • Nancy Kricorian Writing

    Country Girl: A Memoir by Edna O'Brien, Little, Brown, May 2013.

    I've bought three copies to give to friends as holiday gifts. What a delight! You can order from Powell's

    "In Country Girl there is great honesty and struggle, and joy and sorrow leaping together--pure life!"--Alice Munro

    "Its author remains beguiling and brave, as lucid as ever about the rapturous lows and the punishing highs. Her eye is pitiless and her prose sumptuous. Long before that quayside discovery, her religion has been literature; to it she has remained devout, with a fervor that is contagious. Dear Mrs. O’Brien, I can answer that question about your daughter for you. She is no saint. She is an icon." ~ Stacey Schiff, New York Times