Great Cristmas gifts and reads: fiction and facts

Are you looking for books to give away or read during the upcoming holidays? Here are a few inexpensive books I really, really like. Above: two novels I cannot get out of my mind! Both are beautifully written (very important to me) - poetic and realistic at the same time, explaining a few of the traumas of our time. I cannot recommend them too much! Don't take my word for it. Check out the reviews below. But first something about each book.  

About the book: Deep in an Estonian forest, two women, one young, one old, are hiding. Both women have survived lives of abuse. But this time their survival depends on revealing the one thing history has taught them to keep safely hidden: the truth. A haunting, intimate and gripping story of suspicion, betrayal and retribution against a backdrop of Soviet oppression and European war.
Reviews:  [A] bold combination of history, politics, and suspense. Sunday Times (UK). Purge is that very rare thing, a sheer masterpiece. A marvel. I hope that everyone in the world who knows how to read, reads Purge." Nancy Huston, author of Fault Lines. A stunner. A compelling look at what we do to survive. Karen R. Long, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland). This wonderfully subtle thriller... captures the universal horrors that war inflicts on women. With a tone somewhere between Ian McEwan’s Atonement and the best of the current crop of European crime novelists, this bitter gem promises great things from the talented Oksanen. Kirkus Reviews. Purge stands out. Murder, sexual violence and political history combine to place Oksanen in the front rank of crime novelists. Sunday Times Books of the Year. 

About the book: Welcome to the house of the mosque...Iran, 1950. Spring has arrived, and as the women prepare the festivities, Sadiq waits for a suitor to knock on the door. Her uncle Nosrat returns from Tehran with a glamorous woman, while on the rooftop, Shahbal longs only for a television to watch the first moon landing. But not even the beloved grandmothers can foresee what will happen in the days and months to come. In this uplifting bestseller, Kader Abdolah charts the triumphs and tragedies of a family on the brink of revolution. 
ReviewsAn impressive book [telling] a tragic story illustrating the power of the human spirit to conquer. The Bookseller. Expertly mingles fiction and personal history to create a thought-provoking novel. Waterstones Books Quarterly. Sensual, beguiling and elegantly translated. Herald Arts

Maybe you prefer to give, or read  (well... more like: look at pictures) about some great Scandinavian design and interiors? Here are two inexpensive books I can recommend: Scandinavian Design and Sweden Style, both published by Taschen. 

About the books:

SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN provides a detailed look at Scandinavian design from 1900 to the present day, with in-depth entries on featured designers and design-led companies, plus essays on the similarities and differences in approach between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.

SWEDEN STYLE brings together a warm and colorful selection of cozy, quaint country interiors in the land of northern lights and white nights, from seaside cottages to traditional farmhouses and royal manors.

Happy Reading! 
What books would YOU recommend? 
WABI SABI interior design art photography
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