Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Writers Give for Christmas

(Note from Laura: This group post of the books we're giving for Christmas was supposed to go up last week. Does it  make me sound less belated if I say that not posting until today at least preserved some Christmas surprises for our friends and family who read this blog? In any case, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

GINGER:  It's Christmas, David  by David Shannon. My youngest son in particular loves the David books. Cute, funny, to the point--the David books are like children you can stick on a shelf and take down when you have the energy to enjoy them.

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer. My daughter never quite forgave me for not buying this at Colfer's signing event at our library. I bugged him so badly during his signing of the books we did buy that I'm sure one more second with me would have brought upon us some evil curse. Sorry, Mr. Colfer--I promise to just smile politely and be quiet in future! And for all you who may have a chance to see Mr. Colfer in person, do everything in your power to go. I would pay just to see his presentation again. If he wasn't an author, he could very well be a stand-up comic. Just don't, you know, say stupid things to him while he signs your books.

And unconventional: The Murder of Napoleon by Weider and Hapgood. For the person in your life fascinated with power and crime. Or my teen daughter who recently discovered that history depends on the book you're reading.

PAT:  The first two books I’m giving as Christmas gifts are going to my mother as a pair. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter and Gene Stratton Porter: Novelist and Naturalist by Judith Reick Long.  When my mother was a girl, Gene Stratton-Porter was her favorite author and I know she’ll be delighted to revisit it. She’s also a fan of biographies, so the second book was a natural choice. As a writer, I think Limberlost is a great example of how a story can speak to the heart of the teen experience for generations. And who doesn’t love a book with swamps and moth selling?

The other book I’ve order is for me. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts. Instead we buy our own treats around the holiday time. I’ve preordered The Madman's Daughter. It’s a young adult gothic thriller inspired by H. G. Well’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.  The enthusiastic rumbling and fantastic reviews I’ve seen about this book put it at the top of my must read pile. Luckily, it comes out in January.
BECCA:  Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer. One of my favorite picture books of 2012. For those who know me, I live in a household of boys. I am always looking for excuses to buy books for the girls in my life, but be pleasantly warned--this isn't your typical "pink" book.

Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I'm impatiently awaiting book three, due out next year. In the meantime, this trilogy will satisfy friends and family who are fans of The Hunger Games and Twilight, for it has a perfect blend of dystopian grit and action, and broiling romance. 

SUZANNE:   First is Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.  I read the first in the series some time ago, then re-read it again while my daughter devoured it.  She's since bought herself the second and third in the series, foiling my plan to a) Check them out from the library so she couldn't and then b) give her both copies for Christmas.  Instead I've had to settle for sewing a pair of dragon decals on a new pair of slippers.  I hope she likes them!

A second book I'll put on the list cause I always seem to be giving it to someone is The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye.  It's just such a fun read, and I challenge anyone to walk away from it without feeling better about the world and their place in it.

Thirdly (do I get a thirdly?) I have to include The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.  It's such a timeless classic, and while I know kids often read it in school I think it's easy to overlook on the bookshelf.  I love it, and feel it's one of those books that resonate all the way down to my soul and thrum deep in my pinkie toes.

LAURA:  Some of the books given this year are esoteric and (cough, cough) ones I haven't read. Like Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson. That's going to my physics major college son and I although I love him enough to die for him, I see no need to read the philosophy of physics for him.

Redshirts by John Scalzi. I discovered Scalzi through this year's release about a starship on which an unusual number of fatalities occur to low-ranking crew members (the title references the unnamed, redshirt-wearing ensigns that so often died in the first five minutes of Star Trek episodes.) Laugh out loud funny and cleverly constructed. You need not be a Trekkie to enjoy.

Possession by A.S. Byatt went to two friends this year. I give this book sparingly, because it's one of my all-time favorites and it's rather like sending my children into the world for approval. It's an intricate, beautiful story of two literary researchers who fall in love as they trace the history of two Victorian poets through fairytales and epic poetry and personal secrets.

Tell us, readers: What books did you give this year? Even better, what books did you get? 


  1. Gah, now I have a bunch more books I need to buy!

  2. Oh, I love the David books. I showed the first one to my son when he was 18, and he rolled on the floor laughing. I've showed him every one since, and we enjoy howling with laughter over them.