Monday, December 1, 2008

As You Shop this Season . . .

Books, books, and more books. They are always at the top of my Christmas wish list. I love waking up on Dec. 26, knowing the fridge is full of leftovers, there's nowhere I have to be, and I have a stack of new books to dive into. If I want, I can spend the day in bed, cozy under my down comforter, and read the day away.

I also love to give books as gifts. They are easy to wrap (you never have to wait for some surly clerk to find a box for you) and they are always a perfect fit. They never go out of style.

Now, I know, that this year especially, people are throwing their hands in the air and acting as though the book business is dying if not already dead. Well, to paraphrase one of the gods of American Literature, I DECLINE TO ACCEPT THE END OF BOOKS.

Books allow us to visit worlds and lives that are far removed from our own. Books take us on journeys we could never plan or afford. Books introduce us to characters who become friends.

When I was teaching, I'd tell my students that they were to always write about books in the present tense because, as I'd explain, when you open the cover of a book and dive into it, the story is happening right then. Those characters are living their story right at that moment. They are always alive in those pages. Cool, huh? Every time I read it, Atticus is guiding Scout and defending Tom Robinson. And Boo Radley is watching and protecting.

So, you see, books will never die. Elizabeth Bennett is smitten with Darcy over and over again (even though she can't admit it!). Caddy Compson will keep trying to help Quentin even though she knows she'll never be successful. But her love is too strong to give up.

These characters live anew every time someone opens the covers of the book. That's what you give someone when you give a book as a gift.

If you're looking for suggestions, check out all my posts on this blog labeled Book Recommendations or Writers or GCC.

My author buddy Carleen Brice has a new blog full of book suggestions.

And every Monday I'll be posting suggestions, ideas, etc.

Today my plug is for memoirs. I know memoirs have gotten a bad rap because some folks wrote ones that weren't. But real memoirs, good memoirs, are wonderful. They read like novels with the added poignancy of knowing a real live person is behind the story. Here are three that I'm a fan of this season:

~Gail Konop-Baker's Cancer is a Bitch about how having cancer helped her reexamine her life and start living the life she wanted. It's funny and inspiring and not what you think of when you hear "cancer book". Just trust me and read it, okay?

~Kin Reid's No Place Safe, a riveting look at what it was like to be 13 and have her mom leading a serial killer investigation. It's a coming of age tale in every way.

~Kathleen Flinn's, The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry about her experiences at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.


Larramie said...

With books one size fits most and, if you truly know the person, you know his/her favorite genre too.

Carleen Brice said...

There's also the handy dandy gift certificate to a bookstore.

Carleen Brice said...

Let me also suggest Kinky Gazpacho by Lori Tharps--a young girl's love affair with Spain--and Meeting Faith--a young non-Buddhist's journey to becoming a Thai Buddhist nun. Both are great!!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Larramie, so true! And I love finding that "just right" book for someone.

Carleen, ah, I love getting bookstpre gift certificates! And thanks for offering up two more great titles.

Daisy said...

I love to see my students get excited about books. Last year my class (boys and girls!) were all excited to read more of the Little House series and find out how Almanzo and his brother did. Oh, yeah, and laura, too. :)