Woman-owned Independent Bookstore | 307 South Barstow | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm | Shop in-person or online - Shipping and Local Pickup Available

The Big One! Holiday 2021 Gift Guide!

Happy November! 

It's my favorite time of year. Sweaters and tea in the afternoon and lots of blankets for curling up to read. I'm very fortunate to have positive associations with the holidays: gingerbread cookies and White Christmas with my kids, decorating our tree together after a day at the tree farm with hot apple cider, reading books in the glow of the colored twinkle lights, and giving all of my favorite books to friends and family in the hopes that they'll enjoy them as much as I have. There's something so intimate about sharing a book that you've loved, perhaps because reading a book is something you do alone. Inviting someone else into the world that you've created with your book is a vulnerable thing to do. 

Perhaps that is why I love putting together a list like this. 

I know that things are still strange, and that our brick and mortar shop is still closed to the public (although, stay tuned for a few special opportunities to stop in over the holidays). I know that there are few things more magical than heading into a bookshop with one idea about what you're looking for, and leaving with an armful of books you didn't know you needed. This is a challenging year as we navigate a broken supply chain, book shortages, and delayed shipping. While it may be a challenge to get your special orders in time for the holidays, we have SO MANY wonderful books in stock and ready for your holiday needs - and it's only NOVEMBER! You're ahead of the game. 

So, without further adieu, here are some books that will make great gifts for all of the readers - reluctant and otherwise - in your life. If you see something that you'd like and it's currently sold out, just send me an email (dottersbooks@gmail.com) and I'll be sure to put a copy in our next order. Also, please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need a more tailored recommendation. I'll be very happy to help. 

Happy Holidays, Friends! Stay well & well read!


ESSAY & NONFICTION: Social justice, fascinating people, cultural criticism, and the history that surrounds and shapes us everyday

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib

Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism by Aja Barber

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen

Having and Being Had by Eula Biss

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice by Scott Ellsworth

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP by Mirin Fader

Incidental Inventions by Elena Ferrante

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad

Leaving Isn't The Hardest Thing: Essays by Lauren Hough

The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasure of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equity for All by Martha S. Jones

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Maker Her Disappear by Kate Moore

The Crime Without a Name: Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America by Barrett Holmes Pitner

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

This Land is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony and The Troubled History of Thanksgiving by David J. Silverman

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh

How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith

Lost in Summerland: Essays by Barrett Swanson

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico by Juan Villoro

Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson


FOOD LOVERS: Cookbooks, books on entertaining, books about food, books with great food writing, fiction & nonfiction

All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking & Cancer by Karen Babine

Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity by Priya Basil

We Are Each Other's Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy by Natalie Baszile

The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora: Recipes and Techniques for Edible Plants from Garden, Field, and Forest by Alan Bergo

Tastes Like War: A Memoir by Grace M. Cho

Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers edited by Natalie Garrett

Half-Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains by Tieghan Gerard

The Drink that Made Wisconsin Famous: Beer and Brewing in the Badger State by Doug Hoverson

Nadiya Bakes: Over 100 Must-Try Recipes for Breaks, Cakes, Biscuits, Pies, and More: A Baking Book  by Nadiya Hussein

Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from My Indonesian Kitchen by Lara Lee

Arsenic & Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi

Save Me The Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl

Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race by Naben Ruthnum

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner


GREAT STORYTELLING: engaging characters, wonderful stories, unforgettable reading experiences

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Little Faith by Nickolas Butler

What’s Mine & Yours by Naima Coster

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Send for Me by Lauren Fox

The Butchers’ Blessing by Ruth Gilligan

Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fannone Jeffers

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.

Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger

Future Feeling by Joss Lake

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Circe by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Travelers by Regina Porter

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn


HEARTWARMING BOOKS: Sometimes we just need a little joy - and perhaps some fun

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

How to Live. What to Do.: In Search of Ourselves in Life & Literature by Josh Cohen

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

Go West, Young Man: A Father & Son Rediscover America on the Oregon Trail by B.J. Hollars

Hope is The Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic edited by BJ Hollars 

Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi 

A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection by Steve Martin

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen by Mary Norris

Million Billion: Brief Essays on Snow Days, Spitwads, Bad Sandwiches, Dad Socks, Hairballs, Headbanging Bird Love, and Hope by Michael Perry

Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry

Gilead AND Home AND Lila AND Jack by Marilynne Robinson

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Anne Friedman

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J.Ryan Stradal

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams

Still Life by Sarah Winman


LITERARY FICTION: Experimental writing, fantastic character development, studies in interior life

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

Moon and the Mars by Kia Corthron

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

The Hare by Melanie Finn

Matrix by Lauren Groff

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Via Negativa by Daniel Hornsby

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Corregidora by Gayl Jones

Intimacies: A Novel by Katie Kitamura

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Passing by Nella Larsen

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

Inland by Téa Obreht

I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart

Brood by Jackie Polzin

Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

The Union of Synchronized Swimmers by Cristina Sandu

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Trust by Domenico Starnone

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Winter in the Blood by James Welch

Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu


MEMOIR: real life storytelling with inspirational and intelligent people

No Name in the Street by James Baldwin

The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc

Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement by Tarana Burke

Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir by Kat Chow

Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors by Louise Erdrich

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl

Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

All In: An Autobiography by Billie Jean King, Johnette Howard, & Maryanne Vollers

Gentrifier: A Memoir by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann

Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen (this is for middle grade readers, but if The Hatchet meant as much to you as it did to me, this might be the perfect one to check out.)

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang

Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner


NATURE & SCIENCE: the world around us, the changing climate, the pioneers, fiction & nonfiction - for the endlessly curious

Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water by Kazim Ali

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden by Marc Hamer

Long Way Round: Through the Heartland by River by John Hildebrand

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J.Drew Lanham

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller

Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N.Scott Momady

House Made of Dawn by N.Scott Momaday

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezukumatathil

The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy

Frankenstein: Or 'The Modern Prometheus': The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

The Swimmers by Marian Womack


SHORT STORY: for the adventurous reader - an intimate glimpse, a concentrated character study, a baffling bite of narrative goodness

Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo: A Story in English and Spanish by Sandra Cisneros

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella & Stories by Danielle Evans

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Cosmogony by Lucy Ives

My Monticello: Fiction by Jocelyn Nicole Jones

This Is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You: Stories by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Born Into This: Stories by Adam Thomas


THRILLING NARRATIVE: books you can't put down, lots of suspense and messy family drama, sometimes a little romance

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

Dead Dead Girls: A Harlem Renaissance Mystery by Nekesa Afia

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappora

Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews

Afterland by Lauren Beukes

Godspeed by Nickolas Butler

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Louise Penny

The Perishing by Natashia Deón

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution by Brian Freeman

Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

My Monticello: Fiction by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Sex & Vanity by Kevin Kwan

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (the third installment of The Perveen Mistry Series)

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson

The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead