Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Give a Book!

"Do give books for Christmas.
They're never fattening,
seldom sinful,
and permanently personal."
Lenore Hershey

Is there any better gift to give then a book? I know when I receive one I am elated. That someone took the time to think of me, to choose a book that they thought I would enjoy curling up with~~I can't think of a more generous gift.

Here are some favorites I enjoyed this year, and hopefully one will make you go "aha! I know just who love this!"

Cleopatra: A Life
Stacy Schiff
Schiff introduces us to a Cleopatra who history has not been kind to. This Cleopatra is full of warmth and humanity; smart, witty, ambitious  and very proud and fond of her children. This is not the Cleopatra we are used to~~great descriptions of Egypt during 30 BC, which I found fasinating. This was fun, interesting and an enlightening book to read.

Keith Richard with James Fox
The simply amazing thing about this biography is that Richards remembers anything at all~~much less that he is still alive to tell it. What a wild ride this man and his friends had! For those of us who grew up with the Rolling Stones this is a great insight about them from Richards viewpoint; the ups, downs, good, bad and the ugly. Richards leaves nothing out, and he gives us a book that is very profane, full of dark humor~~and strangely, charming. He proves he's not the walking dead after all~~

Emma Donogue
You won't want to put this book down. A Mom and her five-year old son, Jack, live in a Room. The Room is a soundproof, converted shed behind a house owned by Old Nick, who had kidnapped and kept Jack's mother captive for years~~where Jack was born and is the only world Jack has ever known. Talk about the resilience of the human spirit, here Donogue shows amazing it can be.

Medium Raw
Anthony Bourdain
Nobody does food-porn better then Bourdain. Here he once again will have you laugh, blush and yet, still want to go out to a restaurant to eat.  Brash, profane, spicy~~who knew that there were secret gatherings of top chefs that can be compared to mafia summits? Bourdain gives us a view inside the food industry, restaurants and chefs like nobody else...and doesn't cut slack for anybody, no matter how famous a chef they are.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Meet Louis Zamperini, juvinile delinquent, trouble maker, teenage punk; Zamperini took his anger and rage and devoted it to running, where he discovered he had a talent for it. He competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a runner and  did very well in the four-minute mile. He joined the Air Force when the war came, survived his plane crashing into the Pacific Ocean, only to picked up by the Japanese where he became a prisoner in one of the most horrific POW camps  the Japanese ran during the war.  Hillenbrand gives a true testament to what the human spirit can endure, and to Zamperini, who survived to share his story. Powerful story of survival, keeping your dignity, and living beyond what you've lived through.

I Still Dream About You
Fannie Flagg
What can I say? Fannie Flagg has had a place in my heart since Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  This is a gem, full of Southern charm, wisdom, love and look at that! A murder thrown into it that threatens secrets that members of the town would rather let lie. Delightful little heart-tugger that will make you smile while you read it.

                              Moonlight Mile
Dennis Lehane
Since I first met Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro in A Drink Before the War, they became my favorite PI couple. I was sad to hear that this is the last time we would get to hang around with them~~but at least it's a good send off. There are six books in this series, I will say that you have to read Gone, Baby, Gone before you read Moonlight Mile. It gives you the background of why everyone is where they are in Moonlight Mile. Gritty, hard-boiled noir with interesting secondary characters~~great series, terrific book. 

I'd Know You Anywhere
Laura Lippman
Eliza Benedict was fifteen years old when Walter Bowman kidnapped her and held her captive for six weeks. He also kidnapped another girl, who he killed. Eliza is now 38, married with two children. Bowman, in jail for killing and raping his latest victim contacts her. Memories come flooding back as well as questions: What does he want? What does he want from her? Why is he so insistent she contact him? 
This is one of Lippman best psychological thrillers so far and will keep you on the edge of your seat

 A Journey: My Political Life
 Tony Blair
I liked this biography by Blair. He tells us about his rise to power as head of the New Labour party in a landslide victory. What interested me the most was his view, and opinion, on the Iraqi War, and I wasn't disappointed. Blair proves himself to be savvy, charming and has quite the sense of humor.


Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Sklott
***Please read previous blog about this book. It was the best book I read this year.

                             It's a Book                                       
Lane Smith
Love this book and this is the book I am giving to those who will appreciate what it means. While this may look like a book for kids, it's definilty not for young kids, but a good gift for most ages. It's a delight to read: a digital techie donkey vs the literary gorilla. For me, a reminder that there is nothing like a book.

There you go! My very strong, and varied, suggestions of great books to give to the readers in your life.
May your days be merry and bright, your Christmas and New Year's be full of joy and peace.

Happy Reading!

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