Eight Books for Your Holiday Reading List (And the Bags to Carry Them)

Memoirs, thrillers, briefcases and duffel bags — a selection of holiday essentials to suit every taste.

  1. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
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    Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

    By Shonda Rhimes (Simon & Schuster, $24.99)

     

    This memoir/call to arms from the one-woman force behind Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away With Murder is basically a New Year’s resolution between two covers. Wherever you’re going, bring it with you in this Anya Hindmarch Smiley Maxi Featherweight Ebury tote ($1,445; anyahindmarch.com) to reinforce the lesson.

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  2. Numero Zero
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    Numero Zero

    By Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24)

     

    Perfect for an overseas journey. Pack this thriller by the celebrated Italian author inside a briefcase from a celebrated Italian brand—Giorgio Armani black leather briefcase with top handle, to be specific ($2,145; armani.com)—and you’re already halfway to where you’re going.

     

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. The Early Stories of Truman Capote
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    The Early Stories of Truman Capote

    Foreword by Hilton Als (Random House, $25)

     

    Recently unearthed in the New York Public Library Archives, Capote’s heartfelt vignettes of human struggle just might make you more compassionate to your fellow passengers. If that doesn’t work, let the hydrangeas on this stately Gucci GG Blooms duffel ($1,550; gucci.com) put you in a genteel mood.

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  4. Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist
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    Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist

    By Niall Ferguson (Penguin Press, $39.95)

     

    The first volume of this Henry Kissinger biography by the controversial historian, who received unprecedented access to his private papers, comes with one caveat: It’s 1,008 pages. Maybe leave it at home unless your idea of a winter vacation involves multiple weeks and a steamer trunk, or this Globe-Trotter Centenary 21-inch trolley case ($1,930; mrporter.com).

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  5. The Grownup
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    The Grownup

    By Gillian Flynn (Crown, $9.99)

     

    A bite-size scary story from the author of Gone Girl that you can devour while waiting at airport security. When you’re done, stash it in this zippy Rimowa Topas mini trolley ($815; worldtraveler.com) and just try to fall asleep on the plane.

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  6. M Train
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    M Train

    By Patti Smith (Knopf, $25)

     

    This funky, fringed Wendy Nichol Basket Whip bag ($1,995; wendynicholnyc.com) channels the spirit of the music legend’s second memoir, a meditation on travel, literature, and coffee that glides between dreams and reality, past and present. The mystical rhythms make it ideal reading for rail travel.

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  7. Hotels of North America
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    Hotels of North America

     By Rick Moody (Little, Brown, $25)

     

    A protagonist whose life story is told through online reviews at (the fictional) rateyourlodging.com. If you can relate, you deserve new luggage: Upgrade to this handsome Ghurka Charlie II No. 595 overnight bag ($1,595; ghurka.com).

    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek
  8. Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel
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    Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel

     

     By Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (Harper Perennial, $19.99)

     

    From the creators of the hit podcast comes this mystery about a town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are just how it goes. If the paranoia starts getting to you, stick it in this camouflage Longchamp Le Pliage Néo Fantaisie backpack ($370; longchamp.com) and disappear into the night.

     

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    Photographer: Jordan Tiberio for Bloomberg Businessweek