Mrs. Dalloway's Gift Guide


HOLIDAY RECOMMENDATIONS 2020 (Click on any cover to get more details or to order online)


Humans by Brandon Stanton. The creator of Humans of New York now widens his lens to include representations of our species from around the world. Traveling to more than 40 countries, Stanton conducted interviews across continents, borders, and language barriers. Humans is the definitive catalogue of these travels. Available now.

The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers and Art at the Edges of Literature by Peter Mendelsund. Covers make an all-important first impression. This book examines art at the edges of literature through notable covers and the stories behind them, galleries of the many different jackets of bestselling books, an overview of book cover trends throughout history, and insights from dozens of literary and design luminaries. Available now.

The New Farm: Contemporary Rural Architecture by Daniel Gregory. Recent generations have reinvented the family farm and its traditions, embracing organic practices and sustainability and with them, a bold new use of modern architecture. Here are 16 contemporary farms around the globe that highlight the connections among family, food, design, terrain, and heritage. An introduction places the design of these farms in a lineage of celebrated architects including William Wurster, William Turnbull, Edward Larrabee Barnes, Marc Appleton, and Tom Kundig. Available now.

What Becomes a Legend Most: A Biography of Richard Avedon by Philp Gefter. The first definitive biography of Richard Avedon, a monumental photographer of the 20th century, from award-winning photography critic Philip Gefter. “Imagine the offspring of Marcel Proust and the Energizer Bunny--that's who Richard Avedon was, a chronicler of fashion, an analyst of social types, the author in pictures of his era. And Philip Gefter captures him. His biography is an Avedon of Avedon.”--Louis Menand  Oct. 13.


Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang. In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in Manhattan’s East Village. Its young chef-owner, David Chang went on to become one of the biggest names in the world of restaurant empires. Full of grace, candor, grit, and humor, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s switchback path. He lays bare his mistakes and wonders about his extraordinary luck as he recounts the improbable series of events that led him to the top of his profession. Available now.

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham. An intimate and revealing portrait of the civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change. Available now.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey. A deeply personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy. Available now.


A Promised Land by Barack Obama. In the first volume of his presidential memoirs, Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency. Nov. 17.

This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear. The beloved creator of  Maise Dobbs offers a memoir of her family's resilience in the face of war and privation. Her chronicle of a post-war childhood in the English countryside depicts working class indomitability and family secrets, artistic inspiration and the price of memory. Nov. 10.


Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France by Melissa Clark. “Just what the chef ordered. Her recipes are traditional yet fresh, her writing is informative yet playful, and the whole package is achingly chic.”—Yotam Ottolenghi. Available now.


Eat California: Vibrant Recipes from the West Coast by Vivian Lui. Thanks to our fertile soil and temperate climate, we are blessed with local produce that is varied and abundant. Beyond the impressive range of produce available, our cultural diversity means vendors hawking handmade tacos next to Korean BBQs. It is this genuine love of food -preparing it, eating it and sharing it--that fuels the positive energy in kitchens around the state and makes California truly golden. Available now.

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. Here are 85 new recipes that will feed your deepest cravings. Many of these dishes are inspired by childhood favorites and tweaked, such as Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese sandwiches (the perfect match for Creamy Tomato Bisque), Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions, and the crispiest hash browns that are actually made in a waffle iron! Available now.

Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. The renowned chef and influencer who has captured the hearts of home cooks looking for inspiration and great-tasting vegetable cooking here collaborates with longtime colleague Ixta Belfrage to identify the principles behind his stylish, innovative brand of cooking with a new collection of revolutionary plant-based recipes. Oct. 13.

See You on Sunday: a Cookbook for Family and Friends by Sam Sifton. An aspirational cookbook for our times from the food editor of the New York Times. How we long to rediscover the art of Sunday supper and the joy of gathering with friends and family. Regular dinners, says Sifton, are about connection, a place where memories can be shared as easily as salt or hot sauce. Available now.


The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly. The latest in Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer series finds Mickey Haller framed for murder and stuck in a jail, cell, from where he mounts his own defense with the help of half-brother Harry Bosch. Old pro Connelly delivers another fast-paced thriller set in the world of LA law and order. Nov. 10.

The Searcher by Tana French. A retired Chicago cop seeks a change of scenery by moving to a remote village in Ireland’s West Country.  His hope for a bucolic existence doesn’t last long, and he’s soon drawn into a mystery that also unearths local secrets. French creates a flawed but likeable  protagonist and builds suspense slowly and skillfully. Available now.

The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and Andrew Child. As big brother Lee transitions his iconic lone hero to his younger sibling, fans are antsy about the change. Not to worry. Reacher is a bit less laconic and perhaps more thoughtful here, but for the little guy up against nasty people in ugly conspiracies, there’s still no one better at your side. Oct. 27.

Snow by John Banville. Booker Prize-winner Banville offers up a character-driven period piece set in a decaying Irish country mansion in 1957 where a local priest has been murdered. The pace is leisurely and the mystery uncomplicated, but the sense of place is compelling and the crime’s resolution deeply satisfying. Curl up with this one! Available now.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time. Mesmerizing, seductive, and impossible to put down. Available now.

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. A fascinating personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams. Akhtar’s novel blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque tale, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home. Available now.

Jack by Marilynne Robinson. The fourth novel (a prequel) in the classic Gilead series tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Gilead's Presbyterian minister, and his romance with Della Miles, a high school teacher who is also the child of a preacher. Their intensely felt, tormented, star-crossed interracial romance resonates with all the paradoxes of American life, then and now. Available now.

Just Like You by Nick Hornby. A Brexit-era romance between two people outwardly opposite in every way. Lucy's a white, nearly-divorced 41-year-old schoolteacher with two young sons. Joseph is 22, Black, living at home, and working several jobs.. She's looking for a babysitter, not love, and he's of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. So, of course, they fall for each other. Available now.

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante. Set in Naples, like her Neapolitan quartet, a young woman’s coming of age story that “reads like a distillation of adolescence itself" (Lauren Mechling, Vogue). One of the most anticipated and widely acclaimed books of the season. Available now.

Monogamy by Sue Miller. A brilliantly insightful novel, engrossing and haunting, about marriage, love, family, happiness and sorrow. Derailed by the sudden passing of her husband of thirty years, an artist on the brink of a gallery opening struggles to pick up the pieces of her life before discovering harrowing evidence of her husband’s affair. Available now.

The Party Upstairs by Lee Connell. An electrifying debut novel that unfolds in the course of a single day inside one genteel New York City apartment building, as tensions between the building’s super and his grown-up daughter spark a crisis that will, by day’s end, have changed everything. Available now.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. A graduate student in neuroscience must navigate her immigrant family’s struggles with addiction and depression while finding scientific answers and spiritual salvation for her own self. “A book of blazing brilliance...of profound scientific and spiritual reflection that recalls the works of Richard Powers and Marilynne Robinson.”--Ron Charles, The Washington Post. Available now.


The Modern Cottage Garden: A Fresh Approach to a Classic Style by Greg Loades. Here is real inspiration for mixing grasses, perennials, bulbs and edibles into an exuberant mix. Using real gardens as examples, this book shows how to combine the best of both styles--big, colorful blooms and striking grasses and native plants--into one beautiful space that requires little maintenance and has a long season of interest. Practical as well as inspirational! Available now.

The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature by Sue Stuart-Smith. A thoroughly engaging discussion of the remarkable effects of nature on our health and well -being. Written by a prominent psychiatrist who practices and teaches in London and who has built a wonderful garden with her husband in Hertfordshire. A new perspective on the power of gardening, and being in nature, to heal and restore us. Available now.

History / Politics

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. “An instant American classic.”--Dwight Garner, The New York Times  Available now.

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore. A revelatory history of the Simulmatics Corporation, founded in 1959, that mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge --setting the stage for the future we now live in. Bow down, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.  Available now.

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. A master of narrative nonfiction (Dead Wake, Devil in the White City) paints an illuminating  portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz, shining new light on the city's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family. A sterling mix of propulsive history--Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister--and intimate domestic drama.  Available now.


The Best of Me by David Sedaris. A retrospective of memorable work by the iconic humorist. Sedaris shops for rare taxidermy, hitchhikes with a lady quadriplegic, drowns a mouse in a bucket, struggles to say “give it to me” in five languages, and hand-feeds a carnivorous bird--just for starters. A great introduction for the uninitiated, a trip down memory lane for fans. Nov. 3.

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide by John Cleese. You might think that creativity is some mysterious, rare gift--one that only a few possess. But as Monty Python alum Cleese shows in this brief, practical, and often amusing guide, creativity is a skill that anyone can acquire. He shares his insights on the nature of creativity and offers advice on how to get inventive juices flowing. Available now.

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld. Stand-up comic Seinfeld gathers jokes he’s written over the course of his 45-year career, organized decade by decade, along with reminiscences on the lifestyle and craft of stand-up, providing an overview of the evolution of his career and a treasure trove of laughs. Available now.


A Wealth of Pigeons: a Cartoon Collection by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss. A welcome partnership between the multi-talented comedian and the heralded New Yorker cartoonist created this collection of humorous cartoons and comic strips, which includes amusing commentary about their collaboration throughout the project. Nov. 17.


Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels by Rachel Cohen. In the turbulent period around the birth of her first child and the death of her father, Cohen turned to Jane Austen to make sense of her new reality. The result is “a work of compassionate and meditative alchemy.”--Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for HawkAvailable now.

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith. Written during the early months of lockdown, these provocative pieces explore ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? What do other people mean to us? Available now.

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine. In brilliant essays, poems, and images, the poet extends an invitation to discover how to stay in the room together, breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Her questions disrupt the false comfort of our public and private spaces--the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth--where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices. Available now.


How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons): Poetry by Barbara Kingsolver. In her second collection, the author trains her eye on the everyday and the metaphysical in poems that are smartly crafted, emotionally rich, and luminous. Available now.


Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope by Kwame Alexander. Three powerful poems that take on racism and Black resistance in America. Includes an introduction by the author. Nov. 17.


Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz. A beautiful collection exploring themes of violence and oppression. These poems are at once grandly political and personally intimate, and always reach for love and hope: “I am doing my best to not become a museum/of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out.” Available now


Runaway: New Poems by Jorie Graham. In her formidable and clairvoyant new collection, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet deepens her vision of our futurity. What of us will survive? Identity may be precarious, but perhaps love is not? Available now.


Whale Day: And Other Poems by Billy Collins. The poet’s thirteenth collection, and first in four years, contains more than 50 new poems that showcase the playfulness, wit, and wisdom that have made him one of our most celebrated and widely read poets. Available now.


Science / Nature

The Forests of California: A California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufmann. A major work that presents a profoundly original vision of nature in the 21st century. Featuring Kaufmann's signature watercolor maps and trail paintings that explore the biodiversity that defines California in the global imagination. Spanning millions of years, 100 species of trees, and an astonishing richness of ecosystems. Available now.

The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder. Contributors include Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, Ian Frazier, Dexter Filkins, Jonathan Franzen, Eric Klinenberg, and Kathryn Schulz. The story of climate change--its past, present, and future--takes readers from Greenland to the Great Plains, and into both laboratories and rain forests. Available now.

Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C. Slaght. If falling into frozen rivers and being chased by tigers and bears isn’t enough, the bracing cold air of Siberia will make you shiver as you follow a field biologist in his quest to locate and study the rare and elusive Blakiston’s fish owl, the largest owl in the world. Available now.


Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald. The author of H Is for Hawk brings together a collection of her best loved essays with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Available now.


What It's Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing: What Birds Are Doing, and Why by David Allen Sibley. "Can birds smell?" "Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?" "Do robins 'hear' worms?" Sibley answers frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering 200+ species and with more than 330 illustrations. A real beauty! Available now.


We’ve got everything the gardener in your life needs: watering cans in festive colors, hand tools, sprouting kits and more; Japanese ceramics, fanciful linen tea towels, botanically-based teas in beautiful tins, divine Bonnie’s Jams to spread on your toast, and decorative lacquer trays to carry it all; puzzles, crosswords, cards and games for rainy days...all this and much, much more!

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 free of charge. 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.

Need more ideas? We’d love to help. Write to us: or call the store: (510) 704-8222. We ship anywhere. A piece of advice in this most unusual year: SHOP EARLY. Our stock is limited and when it’s gone, it’s gone.