Sunday, December 6, 2020

Book-Giving Ideas

 Books make wonderful gifts. What are your recommendations this year?

Hi everyone. Brenda Chapman here.

I'd like to preface my recommendations by saying that I haven't read nearly as enough books as I'd like to have in order to highlight all the worthy ones this year. I know some of my fellow bloggers have a much longer reading list than I, so please check in over the next two weeks to get more recommendations.

My top crime fiction selections start off with Conviction by Denise Mina. An original style, riveting plot, effortless writing ... a book I will reread.

I also enjoyed The Chain by Adrian McKinty. This standalone thriller, which I've read is being made into a movie, also has an intriguing premise -- a woman's daughter is kidnapped and she must kidnap another child before her own will be released. 

The Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware is a page-turner with enough suspense to keep the reader guessing. A locked-room kind of dead body plot on a cruise ship.

Fulfilling my promise to read books written by the other talented authors blogging for 7 Criminal Minds, I completed Code Four by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway, the final installment in the Tyler Garrett police procedural series. The book gives a timely inside glimpse of police corruption as well as a thrilling end to the series.  

I also read Turn to Stone by James Ziskin, book 7 in the Ellie Stone mysteries. Described as a locked room mystery, the setting of the book is beautiful Florence and the Tuscan countryside in 1963. Ellie is a strong female protagonist, ahead of her time. (I look forward to reading more books by the other bloggers in the year ahead.)

As for non-crime fiction books, here are a few that I thoroughly enjoyed.

First up, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Set mainly at an isolated hotel on Vancouver Island accessible only by boat, the central pivot of the book is a failed Ponzi scheme. Beautifully written with unforgettable characters.

I also recommend Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The book is now a series on Prime that I look forward to watching. A story of relationships, class differences that built from a slow burn (sorry).

Finally, I'll recommend the book I'm currently reading: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. A hostage-taking at a dinner party - a richly imaginative story and beautifully drawn characters with a hint of magic.

In this difficult year of the pandemic when so many businesses are struggling, please purchase the gift of books for those on your list and let your loved ones escape to another time and place in their imaginations. Not only will you be giving hours of enjoyment and escapism, but you'll also be helping to support authors, booksellers (remember the independents in particular), publishing houses, and so many others involved in the book business. 

I wish each of you a lovely holiday season and a most healthy, happy 2021 with lots of books in your future.💚💋


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Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for the recommendations, Brenda, and all the best for the holidays.

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich. Happy Holidays to you too!

Frank Zafiro said...

Thanks for the props, Brenda!

Catriona McPherson said...

Conviction was a real departure for Denise Mina, wasn't it? I enjoyed it, but I kept being surprised.

Susan C Shea said...

Lots of good books on your list, Brenda! Happy holidays.

Brenda Chapman said...

My pleasure, Frank. Yes, I found Conviction an original departure and loved it. I'm glad you liked it too, Catriona. Thanks Susan and happy holidays to all of you. I look forward to your book lists!

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Brenda!

Brenda Chapman said...

You're welcome, Jim :-)