Books · Honest Reviews

For the Readers on Your List!

If you’re like I am, you find yourself every year researching what to buy for the readers on your Christmas gifting list.

This year, HarperCollins has had several gift-worthy titles debut just in time for gift-giving. I’m excited to share four of them with you today!

Abridged Classics

Old classics (and ones just added to the list) are humorously summarized in this illustrated book by John Atkinson, Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t.

It’s a lovely hardbound book that will look pretty sitting on a tabletop….but what is inside will keep your gift recipient giggling with the turn of every page.

From books we all read in high school to classics that are so beefy you almost need a suitcase to carry them around, this book gives funny, one-or-two sentence “in a nutshell” teasers of what the books hold. Whether this just provides a bit of whimsy and entertainment or actually spurs someone to go out and buy and read these classics within, the book has achieved its probable mission.


The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters

If you have anyone on your list who is a Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy-Onassis fan (or is it just ME!?) you will want to add this new book about her to their collection.

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee  by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger debuted in September and has been receiving exceedingly positive reviews. It details the tumultuous relationship between Jackie and her sister Lee. Before reading, I had no idea that Jackie left Lee out of her will. Lee always felt as if she lived in her sister’s shadow, and the animosity grew. I can only imagine that the growing frustration affected Jackie, as well, whether she was fully aware of how her sister felt or not.

Though I’ve read numerous books about Jackie as First Lady, but this was different. I love reading “the story behind the story,” and this fit that bill. Heartbreaking and eye-opening, this is a must for every history buff or Jackie fan.

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel

Harper Lee’s classic has been put into graphic novel form by artist Fred Fordham in To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel, and it gives us all another reason to fall for this story all over again. I love to see how graphic novel artists illustrate stories that were born with no pictures, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Especially beautiful is the play between light and dark, brilliance and shadows in the images. (I can only tell so much because my advanced reader’s copy is black and white — the published version has color illustrations, though, and those look beautiful.) From preteens to those of us who are older who read this book as a part of our school literature requirements, this volume sheds a different light on a book that will never grow old.

Year of Wonder

From Clemency Burton-Hill, a violinist and host of BBC Radio 3, comes Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day. Clemency takes what may be something that is boring and irrelevant to today’s younger generations and ushers in a fresh, new appreciation for one of the oldest music genres of all.

Every single day of the year, you are introduced to a new song and told about its composer. Those of us with Apple Music or Spotify can easily dial in each day’s tune as we read her inspiring introductions to songs overlooked or under-appreciated. The music ceases to just being a song — it lifts off of the sheet music pages and owns its unique story, which is dazzlingly laid out before us as we read.

A great gift for music lovers everywhere, even if their current musical repertoire includes nothing in the classical realm. (It surely will after this adventurous year!) Terrific Christmas idea so your recipient can include expanding his or her horizons and start this calendar of sorts on January 1st.


All of these books are available from’s online shop (save 20% off your entire order right now!), at, or wherever books are sold near you.


Disclaimer: Muse Reviews was provided with these items at no cost in exchange for our honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are exclusively my own and are not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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