If you’ve put off buying a Christmas gift for your book-loving friend or family-member, never fear! There’s still time to buy something before Christmas, including some good reads published earlier this year.
1. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk
This dark novel picks up where the infamous Fight Club left off. An ambitious young lover, attempting to impress his girlfriend, accidentally starts a revolution. Built upon deep psychological forces that have been building for decades, if not centuries in the United States, the surprising — and in places, hilarious — direction of this movement entertains, but also acts as a magnifying glass, looking down into the darker undercurrents flowing in the heart of America today.
2. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
If psychological thrillers are your cup of tea, there is no greater writer alive than Haruki Murakami. His wandering, sometimes disconnected stories are not for everyone, but if the blending of dream and reality, history and present, grand and ordinary, romantic and objective, sounds like it might be interesting for a friend or relative, then Killing Commendatore may be a good gift item. The plot follows a portrait-painter who decides to go on a journey after his wife leaves him. After taking up residence in the home of a renowned painter, the plot expands to include a bell, a painting, a WWII assassination attempt, and much more. Likened to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Killing Commendatore is a book for high-literature lovers.
3. The Outsider by Stephen King
America’s most prolific writer has blended legal thriller with his trademark horror in his latest book, The Outsider. Beginning with a fairly ordinary (if brutal) murder case, the investigation gradually reveals that the perpetrator is not only not the beloved little league baseball coach, but may not even be human at all.
Not for the faint of heart, Vox Day clarifies — and in doing so, exposes — the highly popular but notoriously ambiguous philosophy of noted psychologist and religious philosopher Jordan B. Peterson. I have reviewed this book elsewhere, so I won’t belabor the subject here. But suffice to say, Peterson’s philosophy is not what it appears, and is certainly not what most Peterson fans believe it to be — not least because when asked, most seem unable to agree on exactly what it is Peterson is saying.
2. Why Honor Matters by Tamler Sommers
Philosophy can be notoriously dense and impenetrable, but in Why Honor Matters, Sommers makes is both accessible and, in places, enjoyable reading. From baseball culture to tribal villages, from viral vengeance videos to Zidane’s infamous head-butt, Sommers does an exceptional job of articulating what “honor” is, and what we’re missing in modern society by neglecting it.
You can read my more thorough review of the book here.
3. Identity by Francis Fukuyama
Francis Fukuyama is one of the most serious historical theorists alive today. While his “end of history” hypothesis has been largely discredited, his works on political order and political decay are excellent, perhaps among the best works in their genre. Identity lies somewhere between the End of History and his works on political theory; while the eventual conclusion seems illogical, given the facts he presents throughout, the information itself is well-researched and very educational. If the works of Thomas Sowell or Hans Herman Hoppe are popular with a friend or acquaintance, consider giving them a copy of Fukuyama’s identity for Christmas.
Naturally, there are also my two books, Letter to Anwei released earlier this year, and In Defense of Hatred, published February of last year (about the philosophy of identity and morality of emotion, respectively). If I am to be completely honest, there are probably fewer people for whom these books would be appropriate Christmas presents. But for certain people, they might be enjoyable reads, and good gifts.