Good reads from the Rock


Books connected to Martha’s Vineyard make a great holiday gift. We’ve compiled a list of books that The Times wrote about this year. Whether it’s a mystery, a memoir, a historical book, sci-fi, or kid-friendly, you’ll find something to suit everyone on your list. Check with local booksellers for availability.

“Deadfall,” Linda Fairstein

Dutton, 400 pages

Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper hunts a killer in New York’s urban jungle.

“What Would Henry Do?: Essays for the 21st Century,” edited by Thoreau Farm Trust

CreateSpace, 182 pages

If Henry David Thoreau were alive today, what would he think, what would he say, what would he do? Essayists weigh in with their answers.

“To the New Owners — A Martha”s Vineyard Memoir,” Madeleine Blais

Atlantic Monthly Press, 272 pages

An evocative memoir about a beloved family home, and the Vineyard.


“My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir” Jessica Harris

Scribner, 272 pages

Awardwinning writer recalls a lost era: the New York City of her youth, and her circle of friends, including Maya Angelou and James Baldwin.

“The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew,” Richard Michelson,

illustrated by Karla Gudeon

Charlesbridge, 32 pages

Children’s book goes back in time to 1885, when Hebrew was in danger of being lost. A father and son help keep the ancient language alive.

“Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas,” Jenny Allen

Sarah Crichton Books, 240 pages

A collection of essays and humor pieces based on everyday challenges, like why do people say, “It is what it is,” and other recurring conundrums.

“Martha’s Vineyard — To Everything There Is a Season,” Peter Simon

Simon Press, 276 pages

The coffee table book contains more than 700 photographs that cover Island life through the seasons. It highlights favorite landscapes, annual events, and Island faces.

“The Wellness Project: A Hedonist’s Guide to Making Healthier Choices,” Phoebe Lapine

Pam Krauss/Avery, 384 pages

For those battling autoimmune disease or thyroid conditions — or just seeking healthy life balance — the voice behind the popular blog Feed Me Phoebe shares her yearlong investigation of what truly made her well.

“I See You Made an Effort,” Annabelle Gurwitch

Blue Rider Press, 256 pages

Actress and bestselling author writes coming-of-middle-age story, a must-read for women of all ages.

“Go the F___ to Sleep!” Adam Mansbach and illustrator Ricardo Cortes

Akashic Books, 32 pages

A bedtime book for parents who don’t always successfully send their babies to dreamland with ease and poise.

“The Wolf Keepers,” Elise Broach

Henry Holt and Co., 352 pages

A middle-grade historical adventure through Yosemite National Park with 12-year-old Lizzie Durango and her new friend, runaway Tyler Briggs.

“Children of the New World: Stories,” Alexander Weinstein

Picador, 240 pages

A collection of 13 speculative short stories about how we may live in the near future and beyond.

“Valiant Ambition,” Nathaniel Philbrick

Penguin Press, 448 pages

The story of two men, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, close comrades on the battlefield who diverged late in the Revolutionary War.

“Trumpet of Death,” Cynthia Riggs

Minotaur Books, 304 pages

Ninety-two-year-old sleuth Victoria Trumbull takes her city-bred tenant Zack Zeller on a nature walk on one of Martha’s Vineyard’s conservation areas and shows him a mushroom she calls the “black trumpet of death”; he finds a way to rid himself of his troublesome girlfriend.

“The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.,” Nicole Galland and Neal Stephenson

William Morrow, 768 pages

A complex and captivating near-future thriller that combines history, science, and magic.