December 1, 2021

2021 Holiday Staff Picks


The Melville House holiday sale continues with 30% off all books! The holidays are fast approaching and the last day to place orders that will arrive before Christmas is Thursday 12/16 so fill your carts now. Can’t decide? Our staff have some recommendations for every reader on your list.


The Bloodless Boy
by Robert J. Lloyd

Mystery, politics, religion and science meld in this gripping historical thriller which brings Restoration London to life. A perfect blend of fact and fiction sees real-life scientists Robert Hooke and Harry Hunt turn detective in order to solve a string of unusual murders. Expect action, adventure and lots of intrigue in this, the first of an exciting new series.

—Nikki Griffiths, Managing Director UK




Just Thieves
by Gregory Galloway

Brilliant noir that creeps into your brain and stays there. Aficionados will enjoy Galloway’s nods to the noir gods.

—Tim McCall, VP, Associate Publisher




Every Man Dies Alone
by Hans Fallada

The biggest-selling novel in Melville House history, this classic — written by a German author who wrote it at the end of WWII, after being released from a Nazi insane asylum — tells the story of a middle-aged, working class couple in wartime Berlin who decide to take a stand against the Nazis. As their clandestine propaganda campaign drives the Gestapo mad, and puts their lives on the line, the story becomes more and more tense, and more and more stirring. Part thriller, part love story, this novel is an absorbing tale about standing up for what’s right.

—Dennis Johnson, Co-Publisher




Strange Beasts of China
by Yan Ge, translated by Jeremy Tiang

An uncanny and playful novel that blurs the line between human and beasts with a protagonist whose affinity for booze and cigarettes makes for a messy, yet relatable narrator.

—Sammi Sontag, Publicist




A Woman Like Her: The Story Behind the Honor Killing of a Social Media Star
by Sanam Maher

A powerful and chilling work of investigative journalism. Maher’s portrait of the tragic life and times of a Pakistani social media star is an unforgettable read.

—Maya Bradford, Publicity Director





Debt, the First 5,000 Years
by David Graeber

What do I plan to re-read over the holiday? Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, a groundbreaking book, that cracks open our moribund ideas about debt and money. And more relevant today than ever.

—Valerie Merians, Co-Publisher



Money from Nothing: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Federal Reserve
by Robert Hockett and Aaron James

This lively collaboration between an economist (Hockett) and a philosopher (Aaron James) will give you a brand new — and radical — understanding of the US economy. Hockett and James show convincingly that the Federal Reserve has the power to end many of our woes right now — if only we would seize it!

—Mike Lindgren, Managing Editor



The Wall Will Tell You: The Forensics of Screenwriting
by Hampton Fancher

A fabulous and minimalist book on screenwriting that goes into the mind of the fellow who wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner, among others. I think this book is a companion to Robert Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematographer and deserves to one day have similar status. My copy has been ruined by my underlining and notations.

—Carl Bromley, Executive Editor



Futsal: The Story of an Indoor Football Revolution (UK only)
by Jamie Fahey

Jamie Fahey mixes the personal and the international in this vital, previously untold history of a globally popular sport. From the YMCAs of 1930s Uruguay to the ultra-refined surrounds of FC Barcelona’s La Masia training complex, Fahey diligently unearths the characters, politics and tactics behind futsal. His delightful description of how he arrived at the game – via street football in the shattered urban landscape of 1980s Liverpool, later graced by Wayne Rooney – is worth the admission price alone.

—Tom Clayton, Publishing Executive UK



Witches: The Transformative Power of Women Working Together
by Sam George-Allen

When women gather, great things happen. So argues Sam George-Allen in a powerfully inspiring takedown of the myths we’ve all come to know too well. Forget the idea of the “cool girl” or the “catty workplace”—each chapter looks at a group of women—from covens to girl bands, ballet troupes to convents—to banish preconceived notions and celebrate the magic that happens when women work together.

—Amelia Stymacks, Digital Marketing Director


Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept

by Slavov Zizek

Somewhere between his semi-ironic embrasure by erudite undergrads and his off-hand dismissal by academic philosophers, Zizek has become a victim of his unusual brand of fame. But I assure you, his work remains an unmitigated pleasure to read. Are all of his books, to some extent, recapitulations of the same thesis over and over again? Maybe. Does this one feature the usual? The films of Lars von Trier? Check. Dirty jokes about Jesus Christ? Check. But damn if I don’t love reading it. Come for the sundry examples he pulls from every echelon of culture, and stay for his thoughts on the Fall of Man and falling in love.

—Athena Bryan, Editor


Amelia Stymacks is the former director of digital marketing at Melville House.