Delicious Emilys Honeymoon Cruise Memorable Moments Essay


Delicious 9 - Emily's Honeymoon Cruise

Yes, I looove time management games. Time Management games are games in which you perform a series of tasks or processes as quickly as possible e.g. manage/cook/serve at a restaurant, stock/run a supermarket, babysit, manage a hotel, build/decorate houses. When I finish a TMG I love, I Google trying to find more like it. Also, when I say 'finish', I mean get the gold/expert score on every single level!

Today's game is...

Delicious 9 - Emily's Honeymoon Cruise (Platinum Edition)
Release Date: 26/9/13

The 'Delicious' Series is one of my all time favourite series. Each game adds to the story of Emily, with her family and friends. And as a new instalment is added, the gaming only gets better!

I will be posting more about Emily/Delicious games - visit my navigation page, or scroll through my Emily posts here.

Emily and Patrick set sail for their long-awaited honeymoon in the all-new Delicious - Emily's Honeymoon Cruise Platinum Edition, an exciting time management adventure where it's anything but smooth sailing. The newlyweds soon find their expectations for married life are different.

Follow the newlyweds as Patrick and Emily embark on their celebration cruise. Sailing off into the horizon of wedded bliss, Emily soon discovers she doesn't know how to relax and she certainly isn't used to having others take care of her. To make matters worse, when Patrick tells her he's excited to start a family as soon as possible, Emily's response is tepid - she's not sure she's ready for that just yet. Can they find a way to be happy?

I chose to play this in Normal mode (for the first time round). Download a free one hour trial here.


The Basics
The aim of the game is to help Emily in her restaurant, earning enough money/points to continue to the next level. In some cases Emily will take a break, so you will play as one of her friends or family members. And for the first time ever, you may be helping out somewhere other than a restaurant. If you haven't played an Emily game before you're in for a treat!

Simply: 1) Make the products the customer orders. Some products are made in multiple steps with different ingredients/items. 2) Take the order to the customer. Make sure they don't wait to long or they will get angry (which means they will pay less or leave without paying!). If you entertain your customers, they'll stay happier for longer (happier customers give bigger tips!). Only customers that sit at tables/bars can be entertained (not customers at the counter). 3) Accept payment for the order, and 4) Don't forget to clear the tables ready for the next customer! 5) Keep on eye on some items as they run out and more will have to be prepared.

Along the way you will be able to purchase items from the store that will help (decorations, entertainers etc.), and/or you will be given help e.g. a Cleaner. Instead of cleaning tables herself, the Cleaner can be sent to do that - this frees Emily up to prep and serve customers. The Entertainer improves customers' moods (Tip: If the restaurant is busy, serve customers at the counter first, and keep seated customers happy using the Entertainer) 

Bonuses: Extra tips/points are given if you collect money from multiple customers at the same time, if you serve complete orders, if you deliver multiple orders at once, if you complete extra challenges, and if you catch Carl the Mouse during the level.

Game Modes
Choose whether to play in Beginner, Normal, or Advanced mode.

Level completion
This time we play episodes, with five levels per episode. If you are playing the Premium Edition there are 18 episodes, giving a total of 90 levels!

There are six fabulous locations that we get to play through three different times.

Every level can be completed by reaching either a Target, or Expert score. If you do want to get all the Collectibles/trophies, you will need to complete all levels to an Expert score.

Customer Types
For the first time in.... ever (??!!) there is nothing explicitly said about the types of customers and whether some types have more or less patience than other types. There ARE some recognisable customer faces from other games, as well as some new faces. And there are definitely still some customer types that have more or less patience than others (e.g. Older customers have more patience).

Emily's family and friends are back! I have a helpful list of characters here.

The Store
All six locations have their own store, and each store is larger than ever before! This means when we return to each location a second and third time we have more things to buy. The store also includes new types of items, not just decorations! For example, some locations have 3 x energy boosters for the server during each level, and 3 x 'instant happy' items for the customers during each level. I really like these features :)

Mini-Mouse Game
The mouse mini-game continues, and he's wearing a pirate eye-patch = too cute! Find Carl the mouse on every level for 100 point bonus! Don't forget to listen for his squeak - you will get two or so chances to find him a level (Note: No visible mouse holes appear in this game, so there are no 'easy' finds). Check the Episode page to make sure you have found Carl for all levels.

The Episode page is also a great way to see where Memorable Moments will occur, and your achievements for each level: there is a gold star for an Expert score, and I will explain all about Golden Hearts next!

New to Gameplay

"Collect Emily's Friend's By Earning Golden Hearts"
The newly weds get to do some relaxing! We serve Emily and Patrick, and they pay us in hearts (love/appreciation) - get enough hearts to fill up the big heart on the bottom right of the screen, and you'll earn a Golden Heart for that level. Once the Golden Heart for a level has been achieved, the happy couple will sit back with golden hearts above their heads, and will refuse to be served again that level :) You need each level's Golden Heart because they add up to unlock a character.

My tip for serving Emily and Patrick: seat and serve them fast, and you should only have to do it twice or so each level. If you do delay them (and they lose patience), it might be three times or more! Watch their order bubble - you can actually see their patience going down using the light green line.

There are THREE characters that aren't unlocked by Golden Hearts, but rather by achievements: reaching 1) Expert on every level, 2) purchasing all items from each store, and 3) Finding Carl the mouse on every level.

Hearts also unlock the chance to capture Memorable Moments. These are collected in the Photo Album. Once unlocked it means: at some point during that level you will need to click to take a photo, so keep your eyes peeled! Remember, the episode page shows a Polaroid camera next to any level that has a Memorable Moment. The Photo Album will tell you how many hearts you need to unlock the next Moment.

Secret Game!

There is a hidden game on the main menu page! Did you find it?? I've read that you need all the Collectible Characters to unlock the game, but I found it with no characters unlocked. Simply click randomly and repeatedly around the main menu to find Emily and Patrick's Speedboat Race! (There is no particular 'thing' to click on; just click around until it opens)

Just don't get eaten by a giant fish...

Let the Honeymoon Begin!

Emily and Patrick are finally happily married. Jimmy, Angela, and Francois sail by with an offer the newly weds can't refuse ;) In true Jimmy style: a guy owed Jimmy, so now Jimmy has a cruise ship - the perfect setting for a Honeymoon! It looks like Emily's friends and family are coming along for the ride...

Episode 1: The Pool Deck, 'It Starts with a Splash'
Francois works at the Pool Deck (yes, even Emily is surprised that her BFF is working!). Emily being her generous self offers to help out, but Francois insists that she and Patrick just relax by the pool. This means we get to play as Francois! Tip: As soon as a customer heads towards the pool, get a token ready!

Level 2, Emily points out that the ship isn't moving yet... Cue the first extra challenge: find and bring Jimmy the right tools so he can fix the ship! There are five to find (he will ask for them in a random order). Tip: Don't forget to keep chopping limes now that two drinks need garnishing. One click will keep Francois chopping - five is the maximum that can be prepared in advance.

For the first Memorable Moment, Emily and Patrick spot a whale - don't forget to click to take a photo. At the end of the level we meet Josh, who is going to help out Francois (why doesn't Francois look happy about that?!). Thanks to some duct tape (typical Jimmy), the engine is fixed and the voyage begins.

Level 3, Patrick is teaching Josh how to cannonball into the pool. Angela makes a comment about Patrick being a natural Dad, making Emily look uncomfortable - is Emily unsure about having children...? Josh helps out by cleaning the tables. Tip: Shrimp take a little time to grill, giving you time to prepare a different item, BUT don't let the shrimp burn! They will 'ding' and turn pink when they are ready. 

Level 4, Francois and Josh are arguing over who can serve the fastest, with poor Emily in the middle! Patrick suggests a competition: whoever serves Angela and Jimmy the fastest, wins. The extra challenge is to serve the couple before the time runs out. At the end of the level Patrick announces the winner (even though he's not wearing a watch hehe).

Level 5, Josh wears his 'King of the Pool' crown, upsetting Francois. Meanwhile Patrick's attempt to talk to Emily about having children ends with an "accidentally" spilled drink on Patrick. When the pair leaves to buy some new clothes, Francois is plotting like an evil genius to get back at Josh (this is NOT going to end well!).

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Francois.

Mice by Level
01. On the upper-deck, peeking over the mosaic wall to the right.
02. On the upper-deck, peeking over the plants at the end of the mosaic wall.
03. Just above the pool-ladder.
04. By one of the token machines.
05. By the water spout (I think that's what it is?!)

Episode 2: The Boutique, 'Coming Apart at the Seams'

Jimmy shows Angela around the Boutique... then tells her she's running it before he leaves! At least Jimmy sent a Cleaner, Eddie, to help out! This means we play the boutique as Angela :) This is the first Delicious game we get to manage anything other than a restaurant.

Simply: Customers go into changing rooms, order clothes they want to try on, and Angela makes/delivers them. Same with shoes! I didn't notice the shoelaces at first - don't forget to select the shoes AND the laces. Customers are also served from the counter and table with all sorts of other items, including jewellery and drinks.

Level 1, Emily and Patrick buy some new clothes, and Angela is proud to make it through the time by herself! Emily tries to talk to her sister (about having kids maybe??), but Patrick interrupts... Level 2, Angela spots a sewing machine used by the previous staff and decides to make some of her own clothes to sell :) Evelyn makes a quick visit (Angela and Emily's mum). I wonder how many other friends and family will turn up?!

The extra challenge is to fix the sewing machine before the level ends. The second Memorable Moment has Emily looking stunning in a sparkling green evening dress. At the end of the level Kate, Patrick's little sister, pops in with her new perfume, which is also going to be sold in the boutique.

Level 3, Angela starts making her own clothes. This also means we have to sew more items when they run out. Tip: You can make up to five of each item in advance. Just click the fabric colour and then the pattern. Kate loves the designs and suggests that Jewel Jacobs, from World of Fashion, would too! And who happens to be on board, but Jewel Jacobs herself! The extra challenge is to clean-up the store: there are eight items to find.

At the end of the level Patrick reminds Emily that he never got an answer to his question (about having children), but Kate interrupts by wafting her perfume until Patrick has a coughing fit! Emily avoids answering again...

Level 4, We find Emily alone in the boutique looking very confused :( Poor Emily is worried about balancing her life and having children. Patrick arrives and they find Angela buried under a pile of fabrics. She has spent all night preparing for Jewel Jacobs! At the end of the level Angela is still too busy to talk with Emily - she promises to make time tomorrow.

Level 5, Kate brings Jewel Jacobs to the boutique. Jewel sees Angela's clothes, saying they are quite nice - the designs, not the fabrics. Jewel promises to give Angela some new materials to work with. And that means Angela is STILL too busy to talk with Emily! Patrick suggests a trip to the Spa to help Emily with her stress.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Angela.

Mice by Level
01. Peeking out from the head of the female mannequin.
02. In the wall mirror to the very left.
03. Peeking out from the jewellery cabinet.
04. Next to the Red/White Polka-dot Shirt.
05. Peeking out over the top of the changing rooms.

Episode 3: The Spa, 'No Time to Relax'

Much to the Honeymooners' surprise, Patrick’s mum Brigid runs the ship’s spa! This means we play the spa as Brigid. She drops some big news: that Patrick's Dad has left her for someone 'nicer' :( They do have a rocky relationship, and she says she's doing okay...

Level 1, The extra challenge is to collect three packages for the Spa. Tip: You'll need to pick more flowers to make the essential oils. A maximum of six can be picked in preparation. 

The Spa feels much busier than the Pool or Boutique to me, plus we're back to having no cleaner so there is a lot to do! Tip: The Spa has an old-fashioned record player with different coloured options - the colours match the robes customers are wearing. To make the same colour/group of customers happy, choose the matching coloured record. The Store has a golden record to can purchase - play it to make ALL types of customers happy.

Level 2, Emily is feeling much better after her first day of relaxing. But when the talk of Brigid being a Grandma comes up, Emily starts cleaning to avoid the subject!

Level 3, Emily is now helping out at the Spa, much to Patrick's frustration. While Emily takes on the role of Cleaner, we still need to keep Patrick happy for a Golden Heart. The next Memorable Moment is Patrick by himself, getting a love-bite from a plant! Low and behold Uncle Antonio, Emily's Uncle, walks into the spa. Jimmy asked him to help out on the ship and he couldn't resist seeing his favourite niece. Antonio spots Brigid, immediately forming a crush on her!

Level 4, Uncle Antonio gives Emily some advice: to pay attention to her new husband while she is working. And that's the next extra challenge: go to Patrick four times when he calls. Spending some time together has put smiles back on Emily and Patrick's faces :)

Level 5, Antonio is still hanging around -- to be close to Brigid ;) At the end of the level Jimmy visits (managing to insult Brigid twice), and then presents her with her new spa helper: Antonio! Jimmy then whisks Emily and Patrick away for a dinner.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Brigid.

Mice by Level
01. In the empty alcove/shelf.
02. By the faux counter (that has lotions and potions).
03. Peeking in through the window.
04. In the ice, by the tea.
05. In the grinder (watch out Carl!).

Episode 4: The Piano Lounge, 'Entertaining Possibilities'

Another surprise, the ship's Piano Lounge is run by Emily's parents! Evelyn and Edward say they are running it temporarily, until Jimmy sorts out his staffing issues (ha!). This means we play as Evelyn (Cleaner) and Edward (Server). Unlike other Delicious Games, if customers sit at the piano bar, they do NOT need a Cleaner after they are finished dining (nice for us!).

Level 1, Tip: Five of each meat can be prepared in advance; same for the potatoes and vegetables going forward. Orders can be left in the cooker too - they won't burn! It's a great way to have an extra serving waiting in the wings. Level 2, Evelyn seems in a very good mood (I wonder why...?). The Memorable Moment is Emily and Patrick dancing on the stage. Emily looks gorgeous in the green evening dress!

At the end of the level Emily comments on her mother's weird behaviour. Edward tells them that John Tones, the singer, is on board. Emily remembers that her mum used to date John before he was famous!

Level 3, Patrick has ten beautiful roses for ten days of marriage - how romantic! When Evelyn tests the microphone she gives him such a fright that he loses all the roses. That's right, we get to find them in the next extra challenge. Tip: The tenth rose is a tricky one - it will appear IN the oven once you cook your first order of meat or potatoes!

Level 4, Evelyn is panicking that the Piano Lounge is not good enough for John Tones (he's played Vegas after all). Edward needs to work on a 'Welcome' sign, which just happens to be the next extra challenge: build the sign before the level is over.

Level 5, The legendary John Tones arrives. He looks familiar ;) At the end of the level Evelyn and John are getting a little too cosy for Edward's liking. He and Emily have a great father-daughter heart-to-heart :)

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Edward and Evelyn.

Mice by Level
01. On the coffee tray, at the back of the restaurant.
02. On the stage.
03. On the kitchen counter, to the left of the waffles.
04. On the carpet, to the right of Emily and Patrick's couch.
05. Peeking in through the glass above the hot food station.

Episode 5: The Kids Club, 'Kid Crazy'

Emily and Patrick take a wrong turn, and end up at the day-care! This means we play as Emily (Cleaner) and Patrick (Server) for this episode. To earn Gold Hearts it's two kids, Eric and Emma, that we need to keep happy. They look a lot like a young Emily and Patrick :) Some of the other kids are definitely modelled on familiar customers from previous Delicious games.

Level 1, Emily spends the whole time trying to unlock a drawer to free Jimmy (while Patrick deals with the kids). Yup, the kids might have had the right idea locking up Jimmy hehe The extra challenge is to find eight "tools": these need to be delivered to Emily (she will ask for them in a random order).

Of course, Jimmy has no one to run The Kids Club, so Patrick offers. Level 3, Little Jayden has stolen Jimmy's keys! Patrick, again proving how good he is with kids, offers to chase Jayden in exchange for getting the keys back. The extra challenge is to catch Jayden five times. When Patrick catches Jayden, he tickles him and we hear a cute little giggle! Jimmy truly abandons the honeymooners to the kids once he has his keys back. The Memorable Moment is Eric giving Emma a flower - adorable :)

Level 5, Angela drags Jimmy back to The Kids Club to apologise for leaving Emily and Patrick there. Patrick surprises everyone by offering to stay a little longer! At the end of the level Jayden is sad to see 'Pat' go... And Emily is sad for different reasons: she babbles to Patrick about him being too prepared (for kids), and that she's under too much pressure to hand him babies straight away. Jimmy interrupts, letting everyone know that they have finally reached a port and can disembark...

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Jimmy.

Mice by Level
01. In the basket just above the yellow car.
02. Peeking over the top of the bottle warmer.
03. Peeking over the top of the oven.
04. Peeking out from the bottom table.
05. In the pink shelves.

Episode 6: The Beach, 'Throwing Dirt'

We finally disembark to a Beach in Greece... Patrick tries to talk to Emily about what she said at The Kids' Club, but Emily wants to try to enjoy the beach. Who should be there running the food stand but Brad, an ex-suitor of Emily's!! It looks like Brad has some relationship problems too - with different ladies!

This episode we play as Brad, and at first without a Cleaner. Level 2, This Memorable Moment is Emily and Patrick watching baby turtles make their way down to the sea. Level 3, Brad's girlfriendS (yes, more than one!) visit, giving us the next extra challenge: give attention to them six times. Watch for when they visit. Tip: When the fish and crab run out you need to fish for more - but your catch is random, so you will catch either a fish OR crab. It might take a number of tries to stock up on both (maximum of five each). Cooking these is like the shrimp on the Pool Deck - you have time to prepare other food while these cook, but don't let them burn!

Level 4, Another ex of Brad's is not happy at all (Brad, her sister?! Really?!!). She breaks his bead necklace. Brad falls to his knees and calls out the name "Ivy" when he realises his necklace is broken. Our extra challenge is to find all 18 beads! (That is a LOT of beads). At the end of the level Emily fixes Brad's necklace.

Level 5, Patrick helps a child on the beach re-build his ruined sandcastle - and that's the extra challenge that needs to be finished before the end of this level. We still have to serve Emily and Patrick together to achieve a Golden Heart. Tip: It is easier to get Patrick fixing the castle after you've got the heart. At the end of the level Brad tells Patrick that he's really good with "munchkins". Patrick actually apologies to Emily for being good with kids! He tells her he likes kids, loves her, and that they are in the perfect place in their lives to have kids! Emily is angry - she's spent her whole life to get where she is in her career and she doesn't want to give that all up now...

... And then THIS happens. Poor Patrick has gone viral!

Will Emily or her friends/family notice that Patrick has been left behind?!

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Brad.

Mice by Level
01. In the bushes by the tree.
02. Peeking out from the top of the cash register.
03. Peeking over the top of the left pillar.
04. Peeking over the top of a beach chair.
05. In the empty basket next to the shell.

Episode 7: The Piano Lounge, 'Not Entertained'

Patrick has been left on the beach, and we head back to the Piano Lounge. A 'Previously' button now appears on the Episode Page - click on it to get a nice little summary of where we left the characters last time we visited the location. We play as Evelyn and Edward again, and only have Emily to serve for a Golden Heart.

We find Emily sad, telling her Dad how her talk with Patrick went (train wreck!). Unfortunately Edward's mind is preoccupied... Could it be over Evelyn's attention to John Tones?!

Level 1, John Tones is the Entertainer - send him to seated customers to boost their mood. At the end of the level Emily tries to talk to her mum about Patrick, but Evelyn is too busy swooning over John (oh dear).

Level 2, Evelyn AND John Tones are missing from their duties at the Piano Lounge. The food isn't up to John's standards (uh-oh), so they've gone to find more supplies. Emily decides to keep her problems to herself for now (her Dad has his own problems!). This means we lose our Cleaner and Entertainer for this level (yikes!). The extra challenge is to receive eight parcels of supplies. At the end of the level Evelyn and John return - John is still not happy with the supplies he has found, but he's going to make-do. Evelyn still looks like she is smitten with the singer :(

Level 3, Just to put salt on poor Edward's wounds, John's entourage is dining at the Piano Lounge - the extra challenge is to serve them and keep them happy. At the end of the level John and his entourage go too far, and Edward throws a punch - go Edward!

Level 4, Edward feels terrible for losing his temper and Evelyn isn't talking to him! Meanwhile no one has talked about Patrick's whereabouts! The Memorable Moment is a 'magical' appearance by Snuggy! Watch the stage to take the photo ;) At the end of the level Emily talks to her mum - who has no regrets about her marriage to Edward (phew!).

Level 5, Evelyn eventually notices that her daughter isn't happy, and finally Patrick is missed! Emily tells her mum about the big fight she had with Patrick. Evelyn gives her some advice, and suggests he may have gone to see his own mum... At the end of the level Evelyn apologies for Edward's behaviour to John, and John goes too far (again). Now Evelyn will need to apologise to Edward!

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock John Tones.

Mice by Level
01. Peeking over the couch next to Emily.
02. Peeking over the counter next to the cocktail.
03. Next to the ribs.
04. Next to the cream for the waffles.
05. Peeking through the left pot-hole (I hope he's got a snorkel!)

Episode 8: The Spa, 'The Grand Gestures'

We head back to The Spa, where Antonio is still crushing on Brigid. He is our Cleaner for this episode. Brigid hasn't seen Patrick, but she tells Emily to stay put for a while - surely Patrick will come by soon... (oh dear!)

Level 1, Tip: Always keep an eye-mask sitting ready on the ice. At the end of the level 'Casanova' aka Antonio is still try to charm Brigid - unfortunately for him, she is NOT interested... and he can't take the hint.

Level 2, Despite Emily's advice, Antonio continues to court Brigid by sending six bouquets of red roses! The next extra challenge is to receive all six deliveries during the level. Tip: You need to grind the sugar and almonds for the scrubs - unfortunately you can't leave prepared scrubs in the grinder, so grab them before they disappear. Brigid unleashes her temper on the poor delivery guy (his name is Chuck - he pops up in other Delicious games).

Level 3, Patrick still hasn't shown up, but Brigid puts it down to him being scared Emily will yell at him again. Emily's attempt at yoga is the Memorable Moment hehe And Uncle Antonio's attempt at a poem for Brigid is hilarious :)

Level 4, Roses didn't work, poetry didn't work, so now Antonio is trying to paint Brigid! That's the next extra challenge this level: paint Brigid before the level is over. Have him paint when he's not cleaning up.

Level 5, No grand gestures this time (Antonio promises). A customer hears them talking about Patrick and shows them the video of him getting knocked out on the beach! Emily freaks out, rushing off to borrow Angela's phone so she can call Patrick!

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Chuck the Delivery Guy.

Mice by Level
01. To the very left, by the lavender.
02. In the pot for the roses.
03. Peeking in the window.
04. On the bar.
05. By the faux counter (that has lotions and potions).

Episode 9: The Boutique, 'Fashion Victims'

Emily rushes into The Boutique, completely out of breath. Brigid helps explain what has happened to Patrick, and Emily tries to use Angela's cellphone to make a call... except there is no reception! Angela tells Emily to wait until there's a signal. At the end of the first level Jewel Jacobs drops off a box of fabrics for Angela. There are three models onboard and Jewel wants Angela to create a mini-collection for a private viewing. That's exciting for Angela, but a lot of pressure...

Level 2, There is still no cellphone signal! Angela needs some inspiration for her new designs, and that's the next extra challenge: find the inspiration Angela asks for, and then put it in her sketchbook (the order is random). There are five things to find. At the end of the level disaster strikes: Kate drops perfume over the new fabrics and ruins them. Angela isn't fazed though; she's going to use fabric she has around the store.

Level 3, Look out for the Memorable Moment - Emily trying on some stylish sun-wear. At the end of the level Emily talks to her sister about her fight with Patrick. And Emily still tries for a signal!

Level 4, Heidi, one of the models, arrives at the Boutique. It turns out the other two models stayed on the beach with Patrick! Heidi expects to be paid and Angela doesn't have enough money... so she recruits Emily and Kate to model instead. She still needs one more model... I wonder who it will be?

Level 5, Angela has to start sewing her collection, and Francois is the third model :) The next extra challenge is to sew clothes on Kate, a mannequin, and Francois before the end of the level. Jewel Jacobs ends up making Angela cry. Poor Angela. Even her friends and family telling her how great her designs are doesn't help :(

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Kate and Jewel.

Mice by Level
01. At the counter by the charms.
02. Next to the skirt pattern.
03. Next to Emily's couch.
04. Above the two wall mirrors.
05. On the male mannequin's head.

Episode 10: The Kid's Club, 'Small Steps' 

Emily finds herself back at the day-care centre. The children unsupervised (Jimmy!) - she decides to take over. We play as Emily, with Jayden as our Cleaner. Again, Eric and Emma take over as the Golden Heart earners.

Level 1, The children ask after Patrick, making Emily burst into tears. They try to comfort her. Level 2, The children arrive early to clean-up as a surprise for Emily! She is impressed and let's them play while she finishes tidying the rest. That becomes the next extra challenge: tidy four messes before the end of the level.

Level 3, A sleep-deprived couple drop off a baby, much to Emily's shock! Make sure you watch the baby to see what she needs (milk bottle, pacifier, or nappy change). The Memorable Moment is Eric and Emma drawing a picture of Emily and Patrick - so cute :)  Emily does really well with the baby - she even gets called "ma-ma"! Perhaps Emily is better with children than she thinks ;)

Level 4, The extra challenge this level is to tickle Jayden seven times, which means we lose our Cleaner. At the end of the level the parents finally return to pick up their baby! Level 5, The children band together and convince all the passengers that the ship should be turned around - and finally Jimmy agrees too! Looks like we are heading back to the Beach, and poor Patrick, soon.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock The Cruise Kids (Jayden, Eric, and Emma).

Mice by Level
01. By the milk box.
02. Behind the soft-toys at the back table.
03. Peeking through the left-hand window.
04. By the doll (Emily doll hehe) and the block.
05. By the cash register.

Episode 11: The Pool Deck, 'Revenge is Best Served Wet'

Emily heads back to The Pool Deck to watch for the beach. She finds Francois decorating the deck for a crowning ceremony for Josh, 'The King of the Pool'. I don't like the look on Francois' face though... Tip: The pool rings have to be retrieved after they've been used. Click them and they will return to the pile.

Level 2, The next extra challenge is to make a throne before the level is over. Francois seems to be having second thoughts about being mean to Josh - let's hope so! Level 3, Magazines have blown all over the deck. The extra challenge is to find eight.

Level 4, Josh has told his parents about the ceremony, and even bought Francois a present - his own crown! The Memorable Moment is Emily surrounded by friendly seagulls. At the end of the level, Josh's mum comes to thank Francois for being such a good friend to her son. Francois is definitely starting to feel bad...

Level 5, Francois is desperately trying to remove the bucket from the top of the throne! At the end of the level Francois tries to save Josh...

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Jimmy's Parrot.

Mice by Level
01. By the salad.
02. Peeking over the side of the ship, under the water-slide.
03. By the back table, by the lifesaver (could be hidden behind an order bubble if customers are seated, so keep an ear out for Carl's squeak).
04. At the bottom of the water-slide.
05. In the middle of the pool-rings.

Episode 12: The Beach, 'Landlocked'

It's back to The Beach, and poor Patrick. This episode takes place "a few days earlier". Patrick gets to help out Brad while he waits for the ship to return. Adding water-skiing is very cool - I love seeing the customers whiz past the screen hehe. Instead of seating and looking after Emily and Patrick, we look after happy new couple Georgeopolos and Jenny-Lee.

Patrick can't believe Brad's behaviour towards women, and hopes Emily will be back soon. Level 2, Brad is exhausted, lying on the beach - so the next extra challenge is to clean up 15 items! There are three different bins (glass/plastic, paper, food), and items must be tidied into the right bins at the right time! At least Georgeopolos steps in as our Cleaner, which means we have only Jenny-Lee to serve.

At the end of the day Patrick learns that Brad had his heart-broken, and that is why he is dating so many girls at the moment. The name of Brad's lost-love... Ivy! (the same Ivy from Brad's broken bead necklace).

Level 3, the Memorable Moment is between Georgeopolos and Jenny-Lee.... and a clam! Brad even gives Patrick some advice about his fight with Emily.

Level 4, Patrick spots a strange purple flower unlike anything he's ever seen. He wants to take a sample to show the World Wide Flower Association (WWFA). That's the next extra challenge: spot ten flowers. They pop up randomly, and you will have more chances if you miss any.

Level 5, WWFA offer Patrick a job! He's going to have to talk to Emily first... At the end of the level, Emily arrives at the beach! They both apologise for the fight and hug, happy to see each other.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Georgeopolos and Jenny-Lee.

Mice by Level
01. By the luau/pig.
02. Peeking over the counter, at the left end (opposite end to the cash register).
03. Next to the drinks and Patrick.
04. By the tree trunk.
05. Peeking out from the top of the tree.

Episode 13: The Boutique, 'Stitching Up'

Happily back on the boat, we start the third cycle of all the locations. Emily and Patrick check on Angela, who is still very upset - she has lost faith in herself. Eddie, the Cleaner, has brought in his brother, Freddy, to help. Freddy works the sewing machine, which is a big help.

Level 2, watch for the Memorable Cinderella Moment between Patrick and Emily. Emily finds Angela's design book - her and Patrick have an idea to get Angela back on track... They just need to get Angela out of the boutique for a while. Tip: Click on the lipstick to see four different colour choices - red, pink, purple, and orange. Clicking once will make the colour wheel spin around twice (it will stop when you've clicked your choice). 

Level 3, They don't have to try very hard to get Angela away! The extra challenge is to build a runway (in two stages) before the level is over - could this be a surprise fashion show?! Tip: The nail polish works like the lipstick - there are three colour choices (red, blue, magenta/fuchsia).

Level 4, Emily gets Freddy to help make Angela's designs. The results are fantastic. All Emily needs now is some flower arrangements - this reminds Patrick about his job offer. He tells Emily that she doesn't need to worry about kids now because he's going to investigate rare flowers... Poor Emily is confused all over again!

Level 5, The surprise fashion show with Angela's designs goes really well (don't Emily, Francois, and Kate look fantastic?!)! People want to buy her designs right away :) Angela is finally smiling again.

The extra challenge this level is to sell Angela's fashion: keep an eye on the orders for Angela's designs from the runway too. At the end of the level Angela thanks her sister, and Emily reminds her that she is a great fashion designer :)  Patrick suggests they head back to the Spa for some relaxation after all the work at the Boutique.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Eddie and Freddy.

Mice by Level
01. Behind the makeup counter.
02. By the table.
03. By the earrings and the watch.
04. Top of the very left changing room.
05. Peeking through the glass at the top of the stairs.

Episode 14: The Spa, 'Trial and Error'

Brigid jokes with Patrick about his time on the beach (poor Patrick). But she's too busy for much else. Antonio is the cleaner, while Emily and Patrick get to take a break.

Level 1, At the end of the level Emily and Patrick talk to Antonio about his love-life. He's not having much luck winning Brigid's heart. Level 2, Brigid gets a call from her ex that leaves her angry. Emily and Patrick advise Antonio not to pressure her... Watch out for the awesome mud-monster Memorable Moment with Emily and Patrick hehe.

Level 3, Brigid is still getting calls from her ex. The extra challenge this level is to answer the phone four times. At the end of the level Antonio suggests some relaxation techniques... which does not go down well with Brigid (or the telephone, which ends up in pieces)!!

Level 4, Antonio wishes he'd listened to Emily and Patrick's advice and not pushed Brigid so hard. Brigid arrives - Emily takes over the cleaning so that Antonio can help put the phone back together. The extra challenge this level is to find the eight phone pieces. Don't forget to keep Patrick happy for that Golden Heart. At the end of the level Brigid says that no-one sees how hard she works; that she just wants things perfect. Antonio tells Brigid that she has done a fantastic job with the Spa - that is was nothing before she started running it.

Level 5, Brigid seems in a much better mood - could it be because of what Antonio said? Emily is back relaxing with Patrick, and Antonio is the Cleaner again. At the end of the level Francois turns up with a gorgeous indoor picnic! Antonio had arranged it all before Brigid's breakdown. At first it seems like Brigid is going to be angry... but she gives Antonio a kiss on the cheek :)

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Uncle Antonio.

Mice by Level
01. By the almonds and sugar.
02. By the mud-masks.
03. In the spa :)
04. Peeking out from the left-hand spa.
05. In the camomile flower pot.

Episode 15: The Pool Deck, 'A Magical Reunion'

Emily and Patrick make their way back to the Pool Deck and Francois. Francois needs Emily's help - Josh hasn't been back :( It's going to take a LOT to make it up to Josh after what Francois did. This means Emily steps in as the Cleaner.

At the end of level 1 Emily asks Francois what kind of things Josh likes: wizards and castles... Where will they find a castle on the ship?! At the end of level 2 Jimmy turns up with flyers for an open mic night - Francois is hatching a plan...

Level 3, Emily has gathered some stuff... for Francois' plan?? The extra challenge is to put together the prop before the end of the level - that looks like a castle ;) Watch for Patrick's Memorable Moment.

Level 4, Francois tried to talk to Josh, but Josh said he will never come back to the pool :(  Patrick has a plan to use "magic" to get Josh to come back...

At the end of level 5, Patrick is dressed as a wizard... and he brings Josh to the pool! Francois dresses as an evil king, so that Josh 'the hero' can defeat him. To turns out there is one more challenge before the level is over: a three-part sword fight. Watch Josh's moves and click to replicate them.

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Josh.

Mice by Level
01. On the deck by the ladder into the pool.
02. Peeking over the plants.
03. Near the bottom of the slide.
04. Between the counter and the BBQ.
05. Peeking over the top of the BBQ.

Episode 16: The Kid's Club, 'Kid-Friendly'

The props from the Pool Deck need to be returned to the right places, so Emily and Patrick find themselves back at the day-care. Emily declares it open again, with her serving, Patrick cleaning, and Eric and Emma earning the Golden Hearts.

At the end of level 1 Patrick tells Emily he heard that she run the Kid's Club while he was on the beach. I think he's impressed :)

Level 2, Patrick and Emily try a little reverse phycology on the kids, getting them to try something different: Hide and Seek!  The extra challenge is to find ten kids by the end of the level, so keep an eye out for Jayden (he appears in a random order each time).

Level 3, Eric and Emma are playing puppets as Patrick and Emily - too cute :)

Level 4, Patrick gets a call about his job offer. He asks if can bring someone with him... then tells them he will have to think about it... Watch Eric and Emma for the Memorable Moment. At the end of the level Emily tells Patrick that maybe they should start looking for a bigger house when they are back. Patrick agrees, but it turns out he's not really listening - he's too distracted by his job offer!

Level 5, Emily rocks a baby to sleep saying "grá mo chroí" - this is Irish meaning "my love, my darling" / or "love of my heart" is the literal translation. What she says next surprises Patrick, making him drop a box of balls...

The extra challenge this level is to find 16 balls.

At the end of the level, Patrick tells Emily they need to talk: his new dream job means lots of travel and time without Emily. Emily reminds him how much they love each other and that they will make it work... Evelyn visits, looking terribly sad. She hasn't seen Edward for days :(

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Robodog 3000 XT.

Mice by Level
01. Peeking over the top of the top crib.
02. Peeking over the top of the cake decorating station.
03. Peeking over the ice.
04. Peeking through the window, above the lolly-pop.
05. On top of the pink bookshelf.

Episode 17: The Piano Deck, 'End-ertainment'

Emily and Patrick visit Evelyn at The Piano Lounge. She explains that Edward saw John kissing her! Emily offers to help her mum set-up for the talent/open mic show. That means it's just Patrick earning the Golden Heart, while Emily cleans-up.

Level 1, The extra challenge is to receive six boxes, so keep an eye out for Chuck the Delivery Guy. At the end of the level Jimmy arrives with the news he's sold a ton of tickets for the talent show. Patrick leaves to search the ship for Edward.

Level 2, Emily talks to her mum about her confusion now that Patrick has a job offer. And the talent show starts! First up is Francois and Josh sword-fighting - the extra challenge is to follow Josh's moves for two fights (like we did in Episode 15-5). Unfortunately Patrick still can't find Edward...

Level 3, Second act is Angela showing off her new fashion line, 'Sailing the Seven Seas'! The extra challenge is for Angela to take six photos - watch for the signal from Angela. Edward is still MIA...

Level 4, Third act is Brigid and Antonio... Playing the banjo and the harmonica, errr no the violin and the flute!! The Memorable Moment is Francois snorkelling by (followed by a very large shark!), so keep a look out. The last act is a surprise... Evelyn is picked as a 'volunteer' from the audience to announce... Edward and The Studs?!!

Level 5, Evelyn is on the stage dancing with her stud ;)  So Emily is serving and Eddie is on clean-up duty. At the end of the level there is an extra challenge: follow Evelyn and Edward's dance moves three times (like the sword fighting). The pair make up :)

There is one last surprise act: Patrick, with Eric and Emma! He tells the story of their honeymoon, with Eric and Emma acting it out hehe: They had a huge fight, then Patrick got stranded on the Island, and they both worked during their honeymoon. On top of that, he received a job offer that would mean lots of time away from Emily.

Patrick invites Emily on stage telling her that it was still a perfect honeymoon because he got to spent time with her... And that he is turning down the WWFA job to be with her :)

Josh announces that they have reached land - and that they are back in Snuggford. Emily and Patrick are glad to be home - and so is everyone else :)

At the end of the Episode, if you have all the Golden Hearts, you unlock Emily and Patrick.

Mice by Level
01. Peeking above the cash register.
02. Between the table and the open mic poster to the left of the stage.
03. Above the oven.
04. In the white coffee mug.
05. Peeking through the big port hole.

If you're luckily enough to have the Premium Edition, then you get:

Episode 18: The Beach, 'The Epilogue'

We kick off THREE MONTHS LATER: Everyone is gathered on the beach with Brad... for his WEDDING! It looks like Brad made up with Ivy :)

Brad is serving, with Ivy as the Cleaner. Emily and Patrick are back in relaxation mode - and need to be served for the Golden Heart.

At the end of level 1 Brad proposes a toast to Emily and Patrick - they helped him have the courage to call Ivy :)

Level 2, Angela is on the phone - she is now the proud owner of her own boutique!! She has a lease in New York and fabrics on the way. How exciting for her! Ivy gets Angela's attention so that her wedding dress can be finished. Now it's Brad's turn: the extra challenge for this level is to have Brad's suit fitted. At the end of the level... Jimmy is selling the ship?! (I think the whole family will be happy to hear that hehe).

Level 3, Antonio and Brigid arrive on the beach. It turns out the pair are opening a Spa together in Snuggford... just around the corner from Emily's restaurant... uh-oh... hehe Watch Emily and Patrick for their Memorable Moment of romance :)

Level 4, Francois is a bit sad because everyone is moving on and he still doesn't know what to do with his life; he can't always be 'Emily's Francois'. Emily tells him he will always be her Francois :) Plus, Francois is missing Josh. I guess all that time on the pool deck together made them great friends. At the end of the level Edward and Evelyn zoom past the beach in a speedboat. On the beach, Evelyn tells Emily that Edward took her to a beautiful cove... that was perfect for skinny dipping! Emily's face when she hears this is hilarious! TMI Evelyn LoL

Level 5, Tonight is Brad and Ivy's Wedding. Unfortunately there is a seagull infestation! The extra challenge for the LAST level is to shoo away eight seagulls.

At the end of the level, Brad and Ivy get married :)

(The speedboat driver is watching from his boat hehe)

Then it's party time! Patrick tells Emily she is more beautiful than when he married her, and he gives Brad a piece of advice: DON'T GO ON A HONEYMOON CRUISE! hehe

(Is that Antonio with his arms around Brigid?! His persistence paid off hehe)

Mice by Level
01. By the statue of Neptune.
02. Peeking over the salt and pepper mills/shakers.
03. By the feta cheese and olive.
04. In the speedboat!
05. Peeking out from the top of Emily and Patrick's swinging seat.

The end of the game unlocks a special scene that hints at the next Delicious/Emily Game... If you miss this the first time, you can play it from the Collectibles section (bottom right hand corner: the film strip with Emily and Patrick's face on it).

If you have: all the Golden Hearts, reached Expert, and found Carl the mouse on every level, as well as purchased all the items from the shops, you should have ALL the Collectibles.

Wow, what a HUGE game - so much happened! Don't forget to post your comments and questions below! The fun keeps going with the next game in the series: Delicious 10 Emily's New Beginning.

We asked the staff of Farrar, Straus and Giroux to pick the best book published this year, name their favorite titles—old, new, or forthcoming—that they read or reread this year, and to share which FSG books they’ll be gifting during the holidays.

The Best Books Published in 2017

Transit by Rachel Cusk

More than 60 books were nominated by the FSG staff as worthy of the “best book of the year” title but the top spot, with seven votes, was claimed by Transit, written by FSG’s own Rachel Cusk. (Transit is the second installment in a trilogy that began with Outline; the final novel, Kudos, will be published in June 2018.)

Lincoln in the Bardo, the first novel by George Saunders, came in a close second with six votes.

Tied for third place, with five votes apiece, were Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Other titles that received multiple votes were Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides, Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry, Half-Light by Frank Bidart (also a National Book Award winner), Life in Code by Ellen Ullman, Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr., and Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli.

—Sarah Scire

Our Favorite Reads This Year

Édouard Louis’s Histoire de la Violence (to be published in English in June 2018 as History of Violence): The author’s account of his own rape. A subtle and precise novel that examines shame and guilt, violence and racism, and what it means to tell your own story. Louis’s honesty and kindness, and his willingness to look at all aspects of the event from all angles, are remarkable.

John McPhee, The Survival of the Bark Canoe: I was the production editor of McPhee’s Draft No. 4, and that book’s quotes from his past work sent me on a binge: La Place de la Concorde Suisse, Looking for a Ship, The Curve of Binding Energy, The Pine Barrens, and The Survival of the Bark Canoe. They’re all equally wonderful, and if I put Bark Canoe at the head of the list, it’s only because it made me, for about a week, wish I were an outdoorsy, nature-type person, which is a real testament to McPhee’s descriptive power.

William Wordsworth, The Prelude: To be honest, this drags a bit around the French revolution, but Wordsworth’s descriptions of the splendor of the natural world are just wonderful. Maybe this is a sign that I should read less and spend more time outside. Or just read more books by people who go outside. Probably that.

• • •

Border Districts by Gerald Murnane

In June I said this was my favorite book of the year and I haven’t changed my mind since then— The Plains, by Gerald Murnane. Technically a “fiction,” as opposed to a novel, this book is deeply internal and explores the infinite variations a personal geography can take. Border Districts, another of Murnane’s fictions, is also brilliant—FSG will publish it in April 2018.

Stoner, by John Williams, and Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin, are classics I read for the first time this year and will reread—beautiful and intimate and generous books.

• • •

I wasn’t expecting Ready Player One by Ernest Cline to be as good as it was; I checked it out three times from the library before I finally opened it, but then I did not talk to anyone until I’d finished it. There’s the thrill of playing video games combined with the escapism of reading about a future world with a dose of an unparalleled reverence for ’80s culture that all make it exceptional, and it was very pacey.

I’m a tad biased because I think everything Gabrielle Zevin does is perfect, but Young Jane Young has just become more and more relevant in the months since it was published.

• • •

The Mountain by Paul Yoon. It’s an excellent antidote to the grieving world around us. Not that there isn’t grief in this book. But there is so much heart and so much understanding. It’s a seriously beautiful collection.

• • •

Trouble on Triton by Samuel R. Delaney

For the third time I read and loved Trouble on Triton by Samuel R. Delany. There’s a scene in which the main character, a white man named Bron, travels to Earth for the first time. Having just discovered cash, he throws the bills at the people who labor on his behalf. It’s an attempt, I think, to impress his date, a woman who is also white. I also read and recommend In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe.

• • •

I loved Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado and The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt—both story collections, both poking at weird moments that are mundane and fantastic. These stories evoked reactions in me that I often didn’t even understand—why would a description of a ribbon make me squeamish?—and I’m still mulling them over.

Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth really stuck with me this year—it’s one of the most inventive and collaborative bits of storytelling I’ve read (she wrote it with input from factory workers in Mexico), and the result is absurd and thought provoking, and oddly touching.

• • •

Truth be told (and we know how rare that is!), I have found it hard to read this year. It’s not just that there’s so little time, what with two hours of Morning Joe when I wake up, and two more with Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell before I crash. But the craziness of the world makes my brain skittery; I lose the thread of a storyline easily. I am lost a lot.

How did we get to this terrible moment? When did Americans come to shun reality? One of the few books I read—and I devoured it—was Kurt Andersen’s brilliant and endlessly entertaining Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: a 500-Year History. On every page, there’s a revelation about and a reevaluation of the American spirit and soul that makes you sit up. I was dazzled by it, and by the audio version too, which Kurt Andersen reads with wit and energy. (I alternated between reading it and listening to it.)

Feeling doomed, I also fell in love with a stunning and original book of art history called Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past by Zoe Lescaze, with a preface by the artist Walton Ford. I’ve never seen anything like this. It was in 1830 when an English scientist named Henry De la Beche painted the first piece of paleoart, a spectacular, macabre vision of prehistoric reptiles battling underwater. Since then, artists the world over have conjured up visions of dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, and other creatures shaping our understanding of the primeval past through their exhilarating images. Lescaze traveled around the world pulling these paintings, prints, drawings, and mosaics out of museum basements, and it’s a treasure trove. It’s a huge book; it lists at $100. Ask someone to give you a copy for Christmas.

What I want for Christmas is A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard by David R. Foster, who is an eminent ecologist. I’ve flipped through this book on friends’ coffee tables and I covet it. It is beautifully illustrated, and also clearly a deeply thoughtful analysis of how my favorite place on the planet, the Vineyard, has been shaped by nature and human history, and how its glorious landscape can be protected. I hope someone gives it to me. And maybe they’ll loan me a house to read it in. A house with a big fireplace—and no TV.

• • •

The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent: A masterpiece, and not for all the geopolitical reasons one so often sees cited: this is more Nabokov than Unabomber, thanks.

George V. Higgins, Cogan’s Trade: Hot damn but Higgins could write. There’s a plot, sure, but what this novel is really about is simply “listening” to Higgins’s lowlife characters talk at one another.

Shirley Jackson’s The Sundial: If, like me, you’ve been inexplicably uncurious about the works of Shirley Jackson preceding her two final and most famous novels (The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle), I can now testify that this is a big mistake. The Sundial is about the funniest and nastiest and strangest novel I’ve read in recent memory.

Ben Metcalf’s Against the Country: Late to the party, again. But what a party.

Michael McDowell’s Blackwater and The Elementals: Blackwater is a five-volume Southern Gothic tale of an Alabama family’s rise and fall. Which occasionally features immortal, omnipotent sea monsters who can take human form. Oh, and a few ghosts. McDowell’s great strength, however, is in relating the little day-to-day details—feuds and business deals and courtships—that fill out these books between the occasional intrusion of the supernatural.

More focused, concise, and frightening, his The Elementals is probably the better book, but the smart reader should just indulge in both. These aren’t guilty pleasures but real books—or, rather, are both at once, and are better for being so.

Ricardo Piglia’s The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Piglia died this year, still largely unread in English. A sad state of affairs for one of Argentina’s greatest post-Borges writers. “Emilio Renzi,” a recurring character in Piglia’s oeuvre, provides the author with a semi-fictional lens through which to view (one assumes) his own life. Fans of Bolaño (stop rolling your eyes!) owe it to themselves to check this out.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel: There’s plenty of fiction out there about tortured novelists, but few about absolutely terrible novelists too self-deluded even to torture themselves properly. While the eponymous Angel is a monster, Taylor manages to make her a charming and even tragic figure without undercutting her curdling awfulness in the least.

Donald E. Westlake’s Memory: One of the greatest American crime writers produced a classic existential novel, with a program belonging more to the nouveau roman than the pulps, and wound up being unable to publish it because of it being too “literary.” One is apt to despair, some days.

• • •

Stoner by John Williams

Stoner was the most enjoyable reading experience I had this year. A blurb on the book calls it a “perfect novel,” which seemed like hyperbole to me. That is, until I read it and agreed.

Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped about the early deaths of her brother and her friends is a necessary book about poverty, race, and growing up in the South. Her writing is beautiful and powerful. A great book.

Lincoln in the Bardo was one of the more inventive and touching novels I read this year. It wasn’t until the last twenty pages that I knew Mr. Saunders had done something incredibly special with his book.

Last year, one of my favorite books was Donald Antrim’s amazing story collection, The Emerald Light in the Air. This year, I read The Afterlife, his devastating memoir about coming to terms with his mother after her death. The book is so truthful, it would be hard for me not to include it here.

• • •

Confessions by Kanae Minoto: I wish I could remember how I first came to pick up Confessions at my local bookstore. All I know is that I had been looking for a different title among the precariously stacked books in my house and stumbled across it, wondering, What is this? I cracked it open and read a few pages. And then a few more. And suddenly it was an hour later, and I was late for . . . something. It didn’t matter because I was lost in a delicious, smart, sharp puzzle of a book. Haunting and gripping and twisted and perfect.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: I was vacation-book-browsing when I picked up A Gathering of Shadows. That cover blew me away, and I wanted some fantasy to round out my list. On my trip, maybe 50 pages in, I realized I was reading book two of a trilogy (whoops), but it didn’t matter, it was spectacular. Such a rich, vivid world with characters you fall in love with and just know deep in your bones. I loved it. I plan on reading book three next (gasp!), and then going back to book one.

Any book by Louise Penny: I am a relatively new fan of Louise Penny, and I am utterly, completely in love with her world. Her series is the balm to my beleaguered, frustrated, cynical soul. Whenever this bizarro world we’re living in gets to be too much, I know that I can turn to Chief Inspector Gamache (the patient, wise, kind lead of her series) and everything will be alright.

• • •

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

Pachinko: Pachinko absolutely deserves its place on the many end-of-year lists where it has appeared. In a conversation that appears at the end of my paperback copy, Min Jin Lee writes, “My subjects are history, war, economics, class, sex, gender, and religion. I think my themes are forgiveness, loss, desire, aspiration, failure, duty, and faith.” Expect all of that and more.

Sentimental Education: I think I still prefer Bovary, but a novel taking place partly during the Revolution of 1848 seemed vaguely relevant. I nurtured the obsession by reading Peter Brooks’s Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Perpetual Orgy.

John McPhee: The publication of Draft No. 4 occasioned a feverish romp through some of McPhee’s shorter books. Levels of the Game was a particular favorite of mine.

• • •

Cesar Millan’s book How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond. A luminous, masterfully wrought and compelling—OK, not really. But it’s a great, very helpful book that I highly recommend. I know there’s some controversy surrounding his techniques asserting dominance over large and aggressive dogs, but thankfully I didn’t have to use any of them in dealing with a six pound puppy. When it comes to that size range, he nails pretty much everything.

• • •

I finally read James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, which was so rich, relatable, and insightful that I can’t believe I put off reading it until this year. It speaks as much to the queer experience in 2017 as it does to 1956.

I deeply enjoyed Elif Batuman’s The Idiot, too—funny, understated, and so intelligent, it took me straight back to college, and to every awkward, unrequited crush I’ve ever had.

I absolutely adored Lindsay Hunter’s novel Eat Only When You’re Hungry. I think Lindsay is so brilliant, and this novel is overflowing with flawed but lovable characters whose attempts to make sense of their lives are framed with precision, sympathy, and eloquence.

Finally, I read and loved, in no order, Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End, Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, Frank Bill’s The Savage, André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, Katherine Faw’s Ultraluminous, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Jon Pineda’s Let’s No One Get Hurt, and Richard Lloyd Parry’s Ghosts of the Tsunami.

• • •

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib: I didn’t think I needed an(other) essay tracing the rise/demise of emo pop-punk band Fall Out Boy, but I did. I also needed essays on what Chance the Rapper means to white people, Bruce Springsteen’s deluded America, and respecting the roots of a religion you no longer practice (and that the country you live in largely rejects). There’s all of that (and more!) in poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (published by one of the best small presses in the Midwest, Two Dollar Radio). Abdurraqib is a natural critic—his eye is sharp, multi-dimensional, and restrained—but distills an emotionality he manages to maintain throughout the book; we never forget he’s a poet, too. Abdurraqib has been writing for over a decade, so it’s hardly fair to call him a “fresh voice,” but with the publication of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Abdurraqib should emerge as a prominent cultural essayist of the post-aughts, post-fact, post-Obama America.

Log of the S.S. The Mrs. Unguentine by Stanley Crawford: This novel was the escapist fiction I needed over the summer, in the midst of threats made to my rights to my body and the rise of white nationalists and our president provoking nuclear war. Following her husband’s suicide, the titular character recollects the forty years she spent sailing the open seas with her husband aboard a garbage barge turned “garden of Eden with very little joy and not one dose of shame.” The sea craft features a mature arbor beneath a greenhouse fitted with a geodesic dome, flocks of tropical birds, and impressive feats of salvage and architecture, and is the most original book I’ve read in years. The garden, the birds, the trees—all of it is only backdrop to a powerful meditation on the complexities of long-term love, and what binds the Mrs. and Mr. Unguentine, or any persons, until death.

• • •

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I reread Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry because it’s my favorite book of all time and it makes me want to drink too much, throw my life away, and move to Mexico.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, because I lost a friend this year and it gave me immense spiritual comfort.

The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehlrich: just because my body was stuck in a 90 degree apartment didn’t mean my mind couldn’t be snowed in in Wyoming.

Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson—RIP to an unhinged legend.

• • •

Things That Are by Amy Leach and Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello: I’m mentioning these together because this year’s publication of the latter sent me (joyfully!) back to the former, one of my all-time favorite essay collections, and because both bring together nature and art, human and animal, electric prose and catch-you-off-guard humor, loneliness and the inevitably communal, the mundane and the transcendent. They are both delightful escapes from our everyday.

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe: In one of the early chapters of this memoir, Sidibe describes herself as someone “sneaking in on a conversation I wasn’t meant to hear about sneaking into a world I wasn’t meant to be a part of.” You might feel that way, too, sneaking into her now starry Hollywood life through this book, if she weren’t so fundamentally engaged and engaging and funny and smart. This is not the usual celebrity fare. She zooms around topics, uses her own Twitter feed for epigraphs to guide your way, unpacks the complications of social media and the way it plays with who we are even to ourselves. Her life finding solace (and, for better or worse, solitude) in books will resonate with any bookworm. And her willingness to lay bare her feelings and fears about taking chances and making art are nothing less than demandingly inspirational.

Monk Eats an Afro by Yolanda Wisher: This poetry collection was published in 2014 and I haven’t put it down for a whole month since. It’s been particularly heartening to have at hand in the past year, because it’s just so very much alive and reminds you in every line that you are, too. I can’t begin to do justice to the vibrancy and transcendence and surprising turns in these poems. So I’ll just let you have a bit from her “Tin Woman’s Lament”:
i’d rather have
a heart born of the lust
between a sonnet & a blues song

• • •

Alia Malek’s The Home That Was Our Country: It is a fabulous read.

• • •

I have been a long-time fan of E. B. White’s essays and novels, and this past summer finally read his collected letters. It’s a very entertaining chronicle of his life in Maine with his animals and in New York City with a variety of other New Yorker writers, and always with his wife Katherine. A dream life from the golden age of magazines and cocktails at lunchtime, with a certain New England crankiness and plenty of dry humorous observations on the people in his world.

I reread A Room with a View, which was even funnier and more entertaining than I remembered, and more nuanced and detailed than the film, great as that was.

The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis: Dennis is best known for creating Auntie Mame, but I found this book much funnier. The entire story is told from the perspective of Kerry, the ten-year-old son of parents who decide to get divorced on Christmas Day. I know this doesn’t sound like a set-up for comedy, but it’s a hilarious read, with many entertaining characters.

• • •

Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin

L.A. Son by Roy Choi: This isn’t where I expected to find one of my favorite reads of the year—I picked this up at a friend’s house in LA last December—it was the most used cookbook in the kitchen. Then another friend recommended actually reading it, claiming it was a hidden classic of LA lit, disguised as a cookbook but really an unrivaled story of contemporary Los Angeles in all its crazy energy and surprising glory. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for hidden classics and LA lit (and delicious tacos), but, purely objectively speaking, damn if my friend wasn’t right.

Sneakers by Rodrigo Corral, et al.: I own all the books about sneakers and have published a few of them too, but leave it to Rodrigo and friends to upstage us all. They talked to all the right people—a couple highlights for me were Virgil Abloh, Tinker Hatfield, and Kobe Bryant—but of course it’s the design that steals the show—as expected, it’s beautiful and brilliant and full of surprises. Design-wise, it was a rare year for books—I’d call out This Book Is a Planetarium by Kelli Anderson, Field Study Handbook by Jan Chipchase, and, if I weren’t so modest, our own Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin as extraordinary examples of design and content working together to create something near sublime—but Sneakers is still special because . . . Rodrigo.

• • •

It’s been three days since I finished André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name and I haven’t stopped thinking about it—it was the first book to ever make me cry. Read it, see the film, cry through the credits, etc.

Other crucial 2017 reads were Goodbye, Vitamin, in which Rachel Khong made me laugh about terminal illness, Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead, which gave me chills on multiple occasions, and Meghan Daum’s My Misspent Youth, which is (aptly) about moving to New York and pursuing publishing.

• • •

So many memorable books entered and reentered the world this year: Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile, Eileen Myles’s Afterglow, and Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead were among my favorites. But the one that’s haunted me most is a lost classic of queer fiction from the mid-1970s, Terry Andrews’s The Story of Harold, now out of print and mostly forgotten (despite Edward Gorey’s cover art and illustrations for the first paperback edition!).

Terry Andrews is the pen name of FSG’s own George Selden, who wrote the beloved children’s book The Cricket in Times Square. It’s also the name of this autofictional novel’s protagonist, who’s written a beloved children’s book that’s also titled The Story of Harold. In diary entries full of urbane wit and gallows humor, Terry narrates his double life as a celebrated author for young people and a closeted bisexual who spends his nights cruising New York’s less wholesome underbelly. This tension torments him until he meets his #1 fan, a listless little boy named Bernard, who responds to no one but the characters in Terry’s book. At wit’s end, Bernard’s harried mother recruits Terry to chaperone her son and cheer him with more stories of Harold and friends, and the peculiar bond they form buoys them both in unexpected ways.

Set in New York in the late ’60s, a few years after Cricket’s publication and just before the Stonewall riots, The Story of Harold sheds light on a much darker time in queer history, when folks like George Selden needed hidden passages to seek each other and secret codes to signal their deviant desires. It’s a sobering reminder of the risks many queers face in balancing their public and private lives, even in 2017, but also a weirdly jolly account of the unconventional kinship with which all kinds of misfits have helped each other survive. The story of how I found the book and why it’s meant so much to me is a long one for another time—but if you get yourself a copy, I might tell you! I hope Harold gets its long-overdue revival soon.

• • •

Human Acts by Han Kang

Human Acts by Han Kang: The sneaky, lyrical horror of Kang’s The Vegetarian gives way here to horror of a different nature: the devastating wounds inflicted by the South Korean state in the aftermath of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising. Beautiful, absolutely shattering. I will read anything Kang writes.

Transit by Rachel Cusk: The trilogy kicked off by 2015’s Outline is unlike anything I have ever read, and in Transit Cusk is funnier, warmer, and more personal than ever. Her sentences are marvels of insight and clarity. I am lucky enough to know that the third and final volume represents another evolution in this form Cusk has inaugurated—the most political of the three, it will startle and satisfy. The ending is crushingly good.

Family Lexicon by Natalia Ginzburg: A hilarious family memoir of art, language, and anti-fascism. The translation by Jenny McPhee is note-perfect.

The Return by Hisham Matar: The author narrates the audiobook version of this 2016 Pulitzer winner for Biography & Autobiography, and I couldn’t recommend it more. The pain Matar’s family has suffered and the loveliness of his words are even more evident in his (gorgeous) reading. Lines from this book made me gasp aloud while listening and many still haunt me, including Matar’s description of a photograph of a deceased loved one: “the skin is clean, the eyes are shut, and the lips open. It cannot be described as an expression but rather as the absence of one. An infinite rest that was always there, behind all of the other faces of his life: the boy sitting proudly by the window on an aeroplane, the young graduate in a suit and tie, the freedom fighter in a beard and red beret . . . It makes me think that we all carry, from childhood, our death mask with us.”

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen: I was thrilled that this year’s National Book Award went to such a worthy book by an author I so deeply admire. Gessen, undoubtedly one of the most important journalists of our time, delivers in The Future Is History a compulsively readable account of Russia’s reversion to totalitarianism, one with the scope and humanity of a tragic novel.

• • •

One of my favorite books I read this year was Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. Each chapter alternates between a world that seems more or less like our present reality and a dream world removed from markers of time and space, but as the book goes on, more and more links between these worlds emerge. The writing is surreal and beautiful and leaves openings for readers to imagine these spaces in ways that resonate with them.

Another favorite is To Die In Spring by Ralf Rothmann, which was haunting and beautiful and painful all at once. I really liked its concept of a son filling in his father’s WWII memories and its questions of how trauma moves through generations and how the process of confronting the past is ongoing and necessary.

Point Omega by Don DeLillo was a book that slowed things down and focused on the small moments and the process of looking, which seemed especially important when set against our world that feels all too fast-paced.

• • •

In January, in quick succession, I read three of Clarice Lispector’s novels: The Hour of the Star, Near to the Wild Heart, and The Passion According to G.H. Then I read Why This World, Benjamin Moser’s biography of Lispector. Her writing is often about humans at the brink of their humanness, or thrust up against it, and is hypnotizing, crystalline, probing, and eerie. The story of her life is equally as fascinating. I’ll be reading more of her work.

• • •

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

The inauguration steered a lot of my reading in the early days of 2017, but I can’t say the 1,000-page book on Hitler’s ascent or the longreads on the alt-right were my favorite reading experiences of the year. I want to give all the glory to the books that made me forget the push alerts. Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy made me laugh so hard that a nearby flock of pigeons took flight. I loved how seamlessly Robert Moor blends science, philosophy, history, and nature writing in On Trails, a fascinating book on paths of all kinds. I was also charmed by Sally Rooney’s smart debut novel Conversations with Friends and Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking.

• • •

I’ve loved all of Alan Hollinghurst’s novels—not equally but all well (and my favorite is unlikely in the universe of Hollinghurst fandom: The Folding Star). What I admired especially about The Sparsholt Affair is that the reader gets dropped smack into each new section of the book and has to re-orient himself—where are we and when and what’s going on and how does this connect to where we’ve been before? It’s structurally like a literary Outward Bound. The prose and settings and cast are all great, and the fragments add up to a panoptic view of how gay life in Britain has changed over three generations.

John Jay Osborn wrote The Paper Chase before I was in publishing, a very long time ago. I read the manuscript for his new novel, Listen to the Marriage, on a plane trip home from the Wordstock Festival. It’s as streamlined as can be: three characters—a husband and wife, and a marriage counselor, and one setting—the counselor’s office. I tore through it, and at the end of many of the chapters—each one a session with the counselor—found myself in tears. I wouldn’t say I liked it or loved it so much as that I was overwhelmed by its grasp of the complex emotional truth of a relationship.

And on vacation this summer, I visited two old friends: Barbara Pym’s No Fond Return of Love and Some Tame Gazelle. They are comfort food and the times seemed to call for something shrewd and funny and sharp but also, ultimately, kind.

And two more books in this apparently mostly English series for me, one old and one new: Edward St. Aubyn’s hyperkinetic live action retelling of King Lear, Dunbar, a departure for him—and who better suited to rewrite this classic of disinheritance?—and Henry Green’s eccentric Loving, a novel I can’t believe it took me this long to arrive at, but one which my younger self is unlikely to have appreciated, or even tolerated, for that matter. It’s a “caviar for the generals” version of Downton Abbey.

• • •

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott: This novel took my breath away.

An Uncommon Reader by Helen Smith: I couldn’t put this book down. Reading about Edward Garnett, whom I’d never heard of before, and his work with Joseph Conrad, D.H. Lawrence, T.E. Lawrence, John Galsworthy, and others was absolutely fascinating.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: What a gift from Dr. Kalanithi.

• • •

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid: This novel by the Pakistani author contains the single most resonant sentence I’ve read this year: “We are all migrants through time.”

• • •

Two of the best books I read in 2017 were Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture and Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. The first is about how to understand everything and the second is about how to experience nothing.

• • •

I read the collected works of Jane Bowles (the FSG Classics edition, of course) earlier this year. The humor and strangeness in Bowle’s work—especially the novella, Two Serious Ladies—felt refreshingly contemporary to me. I’d like to learn more about her life; February House by Sherill Tippins and A Little Original Sin by Millicent Dillon are both now on my list of things to read someday.

I also enjoyed Samuel Zipp’s Manhattan Projects, about big mid-twentieth-century urban renewal projects in New York. And, more recently, I got a lot from Sarah Gerard’s essay collection, Sunshine State. It brings together beautifully written pieces of personal memoir and more journalistic pieces of reportage and history, but despite the wide range of the material, it reads great as a whole.

The FSG Books We’re Giving This Year

Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim

Eugene Lim, Dear Cyborgs: I read this over the summer, and when I finished it I had no idea what the heck I’d just read (I mean that as a very high form of compliment), and I gave it to my wife and to my good friend from childhood so that we could all figure out together its competing realities and multiple narratives.

Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs (reissue): Another offbeat story; this one is going to my wife’s best friend, who appreciates good science fiction (and probably talking dogs, too, if I had to guess, because who doesn’t appreciate talking dogs?).

Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: This insightful essay collection is going to my dad, because reading it was like reliving one of our conversations about books.

• • •

I’m looking forward to giving my mum a copy of Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I’ll also give it to various high school friends from San Francisco, who will find it rather odd, but they’ll enjoy it and appreciate the moments that reminded me why the city is lovely. Hopefully afterwards someone will feel compelled to bake bread with me.

I’m going to casually slip Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer into the hands of another friend—she doesn’t need to know what it’s about until she’s already sucked in—and I also want to give the fabulous Cartoon Introduction to Economics to one of my political science major friends who could never quite understand the economy.

• • •

I’ve already given the timely and important Ramp Hollow, by Steven Stoll, to a few people and will keep giving it.

The Joan Didion reissues with the original covers are perfect gifts—all of my friends want them!

• • •

Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry

I’ll be giving Ghosts of the Tsunami to my sister and her new husband. They just returned from their honeymoon in Japan and are longing to return. This book locates the reader in that beautiful, broken place with such a powerful grip—it’s essential reading for anyone who considers themselves a Japanophile.

Speaking of grips—I’m giving Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It to my aunt who says she never reads. I will put it in her hand and watch with glee when she’s unable to put it down.

And I will be giving Isadora to my father. Actually I won’t, because he’s already read it. And he said it was a masterpiece. This from a man who reveres Updike and Kafka. Amelia Gray just may be their love child. So I’ll be giving it to my father-in-law. And every other older white man I know.

• • •

Caleb Scharf and Ron Miller’s The Zoomable Universe, to my most meticulous family members.

Bill Knott’s I Am Flying into Myself, to friends who think they don’t like poetry.

• • •

My mom, a rabid Laura Van Den Berg fan, already has her galleybrag copy of The Third Hotel. My dad, who, like me, is vainly trying to read his way out of our current political moment, will get Age of Anger. My parents will share in the gastronomic pleasures of The Gourmands’ Way. I hope my grandmother hasn’t already gotten to The Ninth Hour, but I’m doubtful. My grandfathers will each get something by John McPhee.

• • •

Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw: A primer on the inevitable female world takeover, for all my friends who are feeling bleak about the general state of everything in the world.

Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin: I’ve found myself sending this one not just to my friends who design or illustrate, but to people I know who possess a particular fondness for cities, storytelling, and irreverence.

Sourdough: Possibly the only book I read this year that’s suitable for my pie-baking grandma and my friend who refuses to participate in unencrypted communication.

• • •

The Bughouse by Daniel Swift

The Bughouse by Daniel Swift: For everyone looking for a break from thinking about politics who would feel guilty if they weren’t thinking about politics. But also poetry lovers and history lovers and anyone who has ever wondered about the line between art and madness.

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee: For the many who want to be writers.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: For the budding sci-fi readers around and the many, many people who argued over “Westworld.”

New Collected Poems of Marianne Moore: For the poets and perfectionists, to meditate a while on the sacred duty to improve and on the beauty of precision.

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe: For all the music lovers and secret artists, to read while they listen to some kind of restorative music in the weeks that will end this crazy year.

A Grace Paley Reader: For every New Yorker. And everyone struggling with how to maintain the necessary pace of activism.

• • •

Kristi Coulter’s Nothing Good Can Come From This is perfect for that family member that drinks one too many glasses of wine, Lindsey Fitzharris’s The Butchering Art for the cousin that pulls too hard on your dog’s tail (textbook sociopath behavior deserves a gruesome literary outlet), and I almost always give Freedom by Jonathan Franzen to one family member or another because the drama is delicious.

• • •

I’m looking forward to gifting Sourdough! My brother is an aspiring chef and I think he would appreciate how weird but enticing the story is.

• • •

Cartoon County by Cullen Murphy for the great art and totally charming story. The Zoomable Universe by Caleb Scharf and Ron Miller, also for the great art, and for a very interesting tour of the universe (I am a huge fan of the Eames’s Power of 10, part of the author’s inspiration). Keeping On Keeping On, for Alan Bennett’s entertaining stories and reminiscences.

• • •

Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion

This holiday season, I will be gifting multiple copies of the vintage reissues of Joan Didion’s The White Album, Play it as it Lays, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Also, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Fresh Complaint, because he’s quite the celeb in my home state of Michigan. ALEXIS NOWICKI

• • •

I have several expansive anthologies for the poetry lovers in my life to savor, including Frank Bidart’s Half-light, August Kleinzahler’s Before Dawn on Bluff Road / Hollyhocks in the Fog, and Marianne Moore’s New Collected Poems. I’ll be giving Lawrence Joseph’s gorgeous new collection of poems, So Where Are We?, to readers at a loss for words in response to the present moment’s political turmoil. And readers just as fond of prose filled with brilliant insights about poetry will be getting Alan Fishbone’s Organ Grinder; Louise Glück’s American Originality; August Kleinzahler’s Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs; and Adam Zagajewski’s Slight Exaggeration.

To fans of experimental fiction addressing serious concerns in playful forms, I’m giving Laurent Binet’s The Seventh Function of Language, Eugene Lim’s Dear Cyborgs, and Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Knots. To admirers of moving and beautifully crafted nonfiction—chronicling timely subjects like mass incarceration, natural disasters, and identity theft—I’ll be giving James Forman Jr.’s Locking Up Our Own, Richard Lloyd Parry’s Ghosts of the Tsunami, and Andrew O’Hagan’s The Secret Life. And I’ll be giving Alan Bennett’s Keeping On Keeping On, a generous collection of diary entries documenting both the quotidian pleasures of the writer’s life and the outrage provoked by political corruption, to readers looking for a cozy fireside companion with fierce claws.

• • •

Rachel Cusk, for anyone who hasn’t yet been indoctrinated. Notes on a Foreign Country by Suzy Hansen, for Americans (in particular, white Americans) trying to be more conscious of their place in the world.

• • •

Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.

I’m going to give Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr. to friends and family—it’s a fantastic book and especially timely. And I am going to give Ants Among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla to the memoir lovers I know. I’ve already given Fresh Complaint to some friends who are big Eugenides fans who were very excited to read his short stories.

• • •

Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr. for my aunt, a criminal justice activist.

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe for my parents.

The Gourmands’ Way by Justin Spring for my best friend who is in culinary school in Paris.

• • •

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe: A portrait of Joni Mitchell for the boomers on my list.

• • •

I’ve already given Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin to a dozen friends and family members, so I can definitively declare it the home run of gift books. The memoir, about growing up in a pre-gentrified Greenwich Village in the ’70s, is hilarious, sweet, and profound. You can give it to anyone interested in living an unconventional, creative life, especially designers, artists, and illustrators like Shopsin herself. A New Yorker of any stripe—young or old, new or life-long, current resident or displaced—will love it too.

I’ll also be handing out Lauren Elkin’s brilliant chronicle of women, cities and walking, Flaneuse; Durga Chew-Bose’s ambitious and compelling debut Too Much and Not the Mood; Lindsay Hunter’s masterful novel Eat Only When You’re Hungry; the beautiful, inventive story collection Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor; and two page-turners, Catalina by Liska Jacobs and Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw.

• • •

A favorite FSG gift book will be The Zoomable Universe by Caleb Scharf and Ron Miller. These days, the realms of the very large and the very small often seem more appealing than the world at hand.

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