Whether you’re looking for books to give as gifts, or titles to read while on a holiday vacation (or stuck in the airport), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has a list for you. On Tuesday, Gates, revealed five books — one novel and four non-fiction works — that he thinks are good reads to wrap up the year.
“As the clock ticks closer to midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s fun to look back at what you’ve accomplished this year,” Gates says. “December is a great time to take stock of everything you’ve done over the last 12 months, including all of the books you’ve read.”
Here’s a look at the five titles Gates suggests checking out as 2019 slips into 2020.
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
Gates’ daughter Jenn recommended An American Marriage to her dad and it’s the only fiction book on his list. It tells of a black couple whose marriage is torn apart by a horrible injustice. “The subject matter is heavy but thought-provoking, and I got sucked into Roy and Celestial’s tragic love story,” Gates writes.
These Truths, by Jill Lepore
Need an 800-page refresher on US history? Gates recommends These Truths, noting that the author makes a deliberate choice to include diverse points of view, resulting in what he calls “the most honest and unflinching account of the American story I’ve ever read.”
Growth, by Vaclav Smil
Gates has been doing this book recommendation thing for a while, and he always gravitates to at least one big-idea book about a hard-to-grasp but vital concept. He praises Smil as one of his favorite authors, while acknowledging the two don’t always agree. “Two years ago, I wrote that I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie,” Gates writes. “I stand by that statement.” Read long, and prosper.
Prepared, by Diane Tavenner
It’s tough enough to get kids through school on a daily basis, but parents also have to prepare their children for a life after high school. Gates praises Tavenner’s book as “a helpful guidebook about how to make that process as smooth and fruitful as possible.”
Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker
It’s unsurprising the busy Gates is a night owl, and that he often skimps on sleep. This book, he says, convinced him that’s a bad idea. “Walker has persuaded me to change my bedtime habits,” Gates writes. “If your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier in 2020, his advice is a good place to start.”