Before I start spouting off about my holiday book recommendations, I’d like to thank the members of 7 Criminal Minds for inviting me to join the party. This has long been one of my favorite blogs, and I am thrilled to be part of it. You’ll find me here every other Monday, alternating with my good pal Susan Shea.
Last week was a tough one, whether or not you were happy with the outcome of the election. So give yourselves a chance to recover, and let’s talk about books!
As my part of the gifting theme, I’m choosing to talk about four different types of people and the books they might like.
Children: I’m recommending an old favorite. I have a grand-nephew who has been experiencing some (ahem) challenges with discipline in kindergarten. Yeah, I know—kindergarten! He’s a boy with lots of energy, a bit of a temper, and he’s used to speaking his mind with impunity. Sometimes he comes home discouraged because he didn’t get a good report for the day from his teacher. So I recently sent him Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. A classic, it’s still a great one for a gift list. I’m hoping to find a humorous book about the difficulty of learning to behave in school, but so far I’ve come up empty. If any of you readers have a suggestion, please let me know. I may have to write it myself!
Grayson has started reading and I’m looking for books for new readers. He has always been a Curious George fan, so I’ll probably pick up a copy of Curious George Subway Train Adventure, coming out this month. His favorite subject is science, and I found a wonderful book that just came out this year called, Children’s Book of Experiments: 30 Incredible Experiments for Young Scientists. That should keep him busy!
My sister: Like me, my sister loves to read most everything, especially mysteries. Here are a few of my favorites from this year that I’ll be sending her: Attica Locke’s book Pleasantville, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction, set in an upscale African American suburb of Houston, TX during a time of political upheaval. Staying on the Texas theme, I want to introduce her to Mellisa Lenhardt, whose second book The Fisher King, set in east Texas is a gem. Moving farther afield, I have to recommend author Reece Hirsch. He’s one of the few thriller writers whose books I read as soon as I can get my hands on them. Fast-paced and intelligent, they always give the reader a peek into a scary future. My most recent read was Surveillance, which makes me want to start wearing a mask when I go out where there are cameras. And for a lighter read, I will buy the latest Rhys Bowen. Her series Her Royal Spyness never ceases to make me laugh out loud. Finally, I’ll be adding pretty much anything by Catriona McPherson. I suspect she would love Quiet Neighbors, since she has some of those herself! Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, if she hasn't started reading James Ziskin's Ellie Stone series, she's got to! The perfect combo of writing, social commentary, and good story.
Sci-fi fans: I love dystopian fiction, and discovering Ben H. Winters has been particularly satisfying. I zipped through his Last Policeman Trilogy and this year enjoyed his Underground Airlines, an alternative history book exploring what might have been had Abraham Lincoln been unable to free American slaves. Another one I highly recommend for its social value is The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber. This is sci-fi at its finest, exploring the unintended consequences of ideas put into action, and of assumptions made about alien beings.
Fans of darker crime novels: Here goes: Lamentation, by Joe Clifford, and its follow-up December Boys, bleak books, beautifully written. I’m a huge fan of Adrian McKinty, whose “Troubles” trilogy has now blossomed into whatever a 5-book version of a trilogy might be called. Every one of them is exceptional. I would also add in Taylor Stevens’s books. They are chilling and intelligent.
EXTRA; I have one final category. (Cheating? I think not):
ME. In case anybody wants to buy me a book:
I haven’t gotten around to Rain Dogs, the latest in the Adrian McKinty troubles series. I haven’t read Taylor Stevens’s latest, The Mask. And I haven’t purchased Rhys Bowen’s latest, Crowned and Dangerous. Too many books, too little time!