Debbie Blue's Christmas picks

I’ve been engrossed in The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels (Europa Editions). The series follows the friendship of Elena (the narrator) and Lila (her fiery and fearless friend) from girlhood to old age.

Our Kids, by Robert D. Putnam

Balancing biography and quantitative research, Robert Putnam paints a sobering picture of the state of the American dream.

Brian Doyle's Christmas picks

Novels that rattled and moved me in the last year or so include Anthony Doerr’s terrific World War II novel All the Light We Cannot See (Scribner). It’s the best novel I’ve read since Gilead. Like Marilynne Robinson, Doerr achieves a shimmering consistency of tone; it’s one of those books that you finish and then shake your head in quiet awe.

Here at Last Is Love: Selected Poems of Dustan Thompson, edited by Gregory Wolfe

Thompson suddenly disappeared from the literary scene in the early 1950s, when he moved to a small town on the east coast of England with his partner, Philip Trower. This collection brings together for the first time the two halves of Thompson’s poetry: his baroque, postwar poetry and the spare, religiously infused verse of his later years.

Culture and the Death of God, by Terry Eagleton

In Terry Eagleton's compelling narrative, three plotlines run concurrently: a parade of ideas from the Enlightenment to the present, a sustained argument about the role of culture, and a burlesque apologetic for Christianity.