Adult Holiday Recommendations 2023

Adult Books


Fashioned by Sargent Edited by Erica E. Hirshler. This exquisite catalog explores the complicated relationship of painting and dress through lavish reproductions of Sargent’s works alongside exquisite costumes of the period—including garments actually worn by his sitters. Essays by leading scholars illuminate topics such as portraits and performance, gender expression and the New Woman, and the pull of history and the excitement of new ideas, offering readers new insights into masterworks by a beloved American artist. Exhibiting this winter at the MFA Boston, the show features approximately 50 paintings by Sargent along with more than a dozen dresses and accessories. Click Here for More Titles

Biography / Memoir

In the Form of a Question by Amy Schneider. In eighth grade, Amy was voted "Most likely to appear on Jeopardy!" by her classmates. Decades later, this trailblazer finally got her chance. Not only did she walk away with $1.3 million while captivating the world with her impressive forty-game winning streak, but she made history and won an even greater prize--the joy of being herself on national television and blazing a trail for openly queer and transgender people around the world. Now, she shares her singular journey that led to becoming an unlikely icon and hero to millions. Her super power: Boundless curiosity and fearless questioning. Click Here for More Titles

Cooking / Food

Rintaro: Japanese Food from an Izakaya in California by Sylvan Mishima Brackett with Jessica Battilana. Rintaro, the debut cookbook from this groundbreaking restaurant, translates the experience of a Tokyo izakaya to the home kitchen. With over 70 recipes showcasing inspiration and detailed instruction in equal measure, this is a book for anyone who loves Japanese food, from the curious novice to expats craving the tastes of home.   Click Here for More Titles

Essays / Short Stories

Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri's stories are quiet and acutely observed - a series of poignant reflections on issues of estrangement, exile and discrimination. I was flooded with the feeling of Rome in reading these stories - the history, multiple cultures, and both the spareness and vibrancy of the environment and the lives lived there. Larihi, living in Rome since 2011, composed this collection in Italian, then translated it beautifully into English with editor Todd Portnowitz. Jhumpa breathes life into the barest of sketches. Read the stories slowly and savor them! Click Here for More Titles


Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward. "Let us descend now into the blind world," wrote Dante in Inferno: Canto IV, and Ward resuscitates that descent, conjuring the harrowing coming-of-age journey of Annis, torn from her mother's side and uprooted from one life of enslavement into a deeper Hell. Sold from one "master" to the slave market in New Orleans and into the hands of another, Annis' story is told with an arduous immediacy, the luminous poignancy of Ward's writing in stark contrast to the cruelty on the page. Gripping and powerful. Click Here for More Titles


Garden: Exploring the Horticultural World. A richly illustrated survey celebrating humankind's enduring relationship with the garden, explored throughout art, science, history, and culture. Garden takes readers on a journey across continents and cultures to discover the endless ways artists and image-makers have found inspiration in gardens and horticulture throughout history. With more than 300 entries, this comprehensive and stunning visual survey showcases the diversity of the garden from all over the world - from the garden of Eden and the grandeur of the English landscape garden to Japanese Zen gardens and the humble vegetable plot. Click Here for More Titles


The Wager by David Grann. Grann is a master of enthralling historical nonfiction. Like his previous books, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z, The Wager is as engaging as it is informative, a tale of adventure and empire, plague and death, mutiny, starvation, and shipwreck on the high seas, all culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. The powerful narrative - set during the mid-18th century -  reveals the deeper meaning of the events on The Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire. Click Here for More Titles

Music/Performing Arts

My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand. One of entertainment’s living legends tells her own story, from growing up in Brooklyn to her first appearances in New York nightclubs to her breakout performance in Funny Girl (on stage and in film) to the long string of successes in every medium. She recounts her early struggles to become an actress, eventually turning to singing to earn a living; the recording of some of her acclaimed albums; the years of effort involved in making Yentl; her direction of The Prince of Tides; her political advocacy; and  her fulfilling marriage. One of Fall’s most anticipated books - and rightly so. Click Here for More Titles


The Golden Gate by Amy Chua. Boy, is this a good one! Set in Berkeley in 1944, the story starts out with a bang (literally) in the Claremont Hotel, where a presidential candidate has been assassinated. For homicide detective Al Sullivan, solving the case means dealing with white privilege at its most imperious, with the formidable Bainbridge heiresses and their intimidating grandmother - all suspects - offering up flirtations, misdirection, and disdain. Throw a tragic death years earlier and Sullivan's precocious niece into the mix and you have a terrific story.  Click Here for More Titles

Natural World

Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe by Carl Safina. When ecologist Carl Safina and his wife, Patricia, took in a near-death baby owl, they expected that she'd be a temporary presence. But Alfie's feathers were not growing correctly, requiring prolonged care. As Alfie grew and gained strength, she became a part of the family, making a home for herself in the backyard. Carl and Patricia began to realize that the healing was mutual; Alfie had been braided into their world, and was now pulling them into hers. Click Here for More Titles


The World Keeps Ending, and The World Goes On by Franny Choi. Each poem in this collection will knock on the walls of your heart to be let in, and you will be blessed if you do as you witness Choi working poetic magic. Everything Choi writes is a revelation, an offering, an excuse to pause the thrum of the outside world and exist within Franny's world, where history and inheritance and grief and love collide, where a line or a turn of phrase casts a spell and can take your breath away with its poignancy and grace. Click Here for More Titles

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Ebony Gate by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle. Emiko Soong was the Blade of Soong - an elite warrior pledged to defend her famous magical family.  Then she lost her temper, and innocent people lost their lives. She broke her sword and left her family’s service, and she barely speaks to them now.  She’s just an antiques dealer in San Francisco these days, far from the bad memories and family politics. When what should be a simple errand goes awry, she finds herself sucked back into the politics and intrigues of several magical families. If she fails in her quest to seal the gate to the underworld in Golden Gate Park, her soul will be forfeit.  There’s an intriguing non magical White guy who keeps showing up in her life. And weirdest of all, she seems to be making some friends. Click Here for More Titles

Society, Culture, Politics

50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution edited by Katherine Spillar. This splendid celebration of the groundbreaking and influential magazine offers up the best of 50 years of writings, photography, magazine covers, and more. The book's content is divided into decades, and the magazine's activism and influence is reflected throughout. While the book is a salute to past accomplishments and changes wrought by the feminist movement, it also serves as an important cautionary tale at a time when renewed assaults on equality and womens' rights are rampant. A great gift for a new generation.  Click Here for More Titles


Other Gifts

Gift Certificates are an efficient way to knock out your list and can be purchased in any denomination. We’ll send them to your recipient for free. A gift certificate bought today helps 

Mrs. Dalloway’s now and promises leisurely shopping tomorrow. Available online (, by phone, or by email. Shopping local has never been so easy.

We offer gifts for a diverse range of interests. For the nature-lover, choose from high-quality gardening tools, seed saving kits, unique bud vases, seed starter sets, and live orchids, succulents, paperwhite bulbs, … and more. For the host/hostess, enjoy quality tea towels, aprons, japanese ceramics, botanically-based teas, divine jams, serving trays, french soaps, beeswax candles, Motawi tiles… and more. For the lover of the written word, choose from a unique selection of bookmarks, book lights, journals, and Blackwing pencils, … and more. And for yourself, choose from a variety of tote bags, pouches, Tarot Card sets, stickers, … and more.

Need more ideas? We’d love to help. Write to us:, explore Personal Shopping on our website, or call the store (510) 704-8222. We ship anywhere. Advice: SHOP EARLY. Our stock is limited and when it’s gone, it’s gone.