Monday, December 14, 2009

The Gift of a Great Story

I was thrilled when my brother suggested, “Let’s just all give each other books this year for Christmas.” Even if you don’t have relatives dictating that you give nothing but books, a great novel can make a great gift – and can fit into most budgets. I tend to read a lot. So far in 2009, I’ve read or listened to 106 books. I will spare you a complete list. But here are a few of my favorites if you need some help with your holiday shopping.

For the young artist on your gift list: A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch – This beutifully illistrated picture book is about a young girl who colors on the wall and has all her crayons taken away. She then learns how to see colors everywhere in the world around her and creates art out of everything she touches from leaves in the park to old shoes in her bedroom. Combined with an assortmant of creative art supplies, A Day with No Crayons is the perfect gift for the budding artist in your house.

For the young adventurer on your gift list: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – This middle grade adventure novel is the first of five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s series. This exciting series perfectly blends modern Manhatten and Ancient Greece in the next chapter of Greek mythology. The movie of the Lightning Thief comes out next spring. Help the demi-gods in your family read about the magic of Olympus before they see it on the big screen. See a longer review of the series here.

For the rapidly aging teenager on your gift list: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen – This YA novel is the opposite of the classic coming of age tale. An 18 year old girl who grew up to fast goes on a quest to live an entire childhood in one summer. The story encourages teens to hold onto their youth, while acknologing the complexity of growing up. See a longer review of all nine of Sarah Dessen’s novels here.

For the Science Fiction buff on your gift list: The Host by Stephanie Meyer – This is the first novel in Meyer’s next series. Instead of staring Vampires on the Olympic penisela, it’s about an invading parisitic alien species that takes over the Earth, and one sympathic alien that goes native and finds a home among a cell of rebel humans. I enjoyed The Host a lot more than the Twilight series, and can’t wait until the next book in the series is released. (Note: Unlike Twilight character’s in this story are adults and while teens can enjoy it, this is not a YA novel.)

For the bleeding heart on your gift list: Grace by Richard Paul Evans – This heart felt tale of a modern little match girl is sure to bring a tear to your eyes. When a fourteen year old boy discovers that one of his classmates is being physically and sexually abused by her step father, he helps her run away from home and hide out in the clubhouse in his backyard. The story might be set at Christmas, but it doesn’t have a happy ending.

For the unussal thinker on your gift list: Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison – This is a memoir by a very interesting man with aspergers syndrome. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing several people with aspergers in my life, but still learned a great deal by reading this book. I hope the memoir I’m currently writing about my life as a dyslexic will one day come close to the caliber of this book.

For the know it all on your gift list: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – This non-fiction book is a cliftnotes version of all scientific history. It begins with the big bang and ends with the evelusion of man. It doesn’t cover anything in detail, but provides a nice refresher to basic scientific study of the last few centuries.

For the partier on your gift list: I Like You by Amy Sedaris – This humerous hospitality book includes great recipies and party throwing tips that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Combined with a sporting apron, it’s the perfect gift for the consument host.

Joke of the Day
A guy bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas.
After hearing about htis extravagant gift, a friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty four-wheel-drive vehicles."
"She did," he replied. "But where was I going to find a fake Jeep."

1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

I had no idea Stephenie Meyer had begun a new series. Good for her! I was worried she'd be pigeonholed. She's in a position where publishers will let her do what she wants, pretty much, because they know she's a hot commodity. It's really tough to write an adult novel that doesn't alienate your teen readers, though. I'm assuming it's teen-friendly too? Heck, I was reading Stephen King when I was 12.