Got some readers on your gift list? As you finish up your holiday shopping, take a look at this list of titles suggested by Fordham’s English faculty. And don’t forget to pick up a couple for yourself!

Cloud Cuckoo Land A Novel By Anthony DoerrCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, this 2022 New York Times bestseller is “a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book.” (Simon & Schuster) Lenny Cassuto calls it “a combination of a historical novel and science fiction, all wrapped up as a love song to libraries.”

Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai book coverBitter Medicine by Mia Tsai

English Department Chair Mary Bly calls this debut work, which centers on the relationship between a Chinese immortal and a French half-elf, “a paranormal novel with intelligent things to say about language, mythology, and love (not YA as that cover suggests).”

The Fraud by Zadie SmithThe Fraud novel book cover

Continuing in the imaginative vein, the moment she’s done grading, Meghan Dahn intends to read The Fraud by Zadie Smith (court documents, nods to Dickens, and intrigue!)

The book Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, down by a bag of orangesSilver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

An imaginative fiction that follows the life of a 400-year-old character who has become enmeshed in a woodland; there’s a Green Man motif alongside a thoughtful exploration of vulnerability, recommended by Suzanne Yeager.

Bestiary of Love and Response by Richard de FournivalBestiary of Love and Response by Richard de Fournival

Andrew Albin recommends two bestiaries, one medieval and one modern: Richard de Fournival’s Bestiary of Love and Response and Guillaume Apollinaire’s The Bestiary, or Process of Orpheus.


I Remember by Joe BrainardI Remember by Joe Brainard

Recommended by Matthew Gelman. For those of us who love New York, this memoir by the late artist and poet Joe Brainard is full of beautiful vivid memories (“I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.”).

Travels with Charley in Search of America by John SteinbeckTravels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck

Recommended by John Hanc, a book that begins and ends in New York: a wonderful, prescient look at America on the cusp of the 1960s.

The Vulnerables by Sigrid NunezThe Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez

Recommended by Shonni Enelow, who said it’s “the first book I’ve read about the pandemic that captured something essential about the experience of New York.”

Stay True by Hua HsuStay True by Hua Hsu

Glenn Hendler is taking great pleasure in this wrenching tale and beautifully written memoir—a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Why Mariah Carey Matters book coverWhy Mariah Carey Matters by Andrew Chan

If you are in the mood for lighter fare, Keri Walsh recommends Andrew Chan’s Why Mariah Carey Matters, a great gift for any lover of pop culture.

Comfort and Joy Irresistible Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen by Ravinder BhogalComfort and Joy: Irresistible Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal

If you’re planning to cook up a feast in the coming weeks, Keri Walsh suggests Ravinder Bhogal’s Comfort and Joy. Bhogal, a journalist and chef who was born in Kenya to Indian parents, earned a coveted spot in the Michelin Guide with her debut restaurant Jikoni in London.

–By Mary Bly, English department chair, with Fordham News