RO: ....then again a candle or a cashmere sweater never changed anyone's life (see Hank's comment below) so we're going to recommend some books (not our own or each other's) that would make great holiday presents or stocking stuffers.
Whether you shop at the big box stores, the chains, your favorite indie or online bookseller, books are wonderful gifts. They don't make you fat or get you drunk. They'll never shrink or pill, and you can't possibly buy the wrong size. They're easy to wrap. And there are a zillion to choose from....Here are some of my favorites from this year.
Merry, Merry Ghost by Carolyn Hart
The Living Witness by Jane Haddam
A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory
The Witch Doctor's Wife by Tamar Myers
and my non-mystery selection, which I confess I haven't yet read but my husband read so many passages aloud to me I almost feel as if I had,
Vanderbilt, The First Tycoon by TJ Stiles
ROBERTA: I can't recommend hardcover mysteries because I'm sitting on the Edgar committee this year. But here are some others:
LIT by Mary Karr (memoir, haven't read this yet, but I can't wait)JEREMY DRAWS A MONSTER (a very cute kid's book that I first saw at the New England Booksellers convention)THE FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass--for the writer on your list.
Any of the Kristan Higgins books for stocking stuffers for ladies who love smart romance
RHYS: I'm a big fan of Connie Willis, the science-fiction/speculative fiction writer and I'm just re-reading all her books in anticipation of the new one coming out in February. I heartily recommend her blissful romp TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG. In cheerless times what a fun read this book is. And her Doomsday book evokes Christmas past in a most realistic way.At this moment I can't think of any newly published books that I thought were outstanding. I don't believe it was a stellar year--what do you think?
JAN: Hey, this is what I just did on the radio (Reading With Robin) but minus your books, which according to these rules we can't suggest.
My absolute favorite book: Recommended to me by Julia Spencer Fleming -- although not a mystery, was Here If you Need Me, by Kate Braestrup. It's a memoir about a mother of four whose husband, a state trooper, gets killed in a car accident and she fulfills his DREAM of being a minister. She works with the Maine Game Wardens going out to find people lost in the woods and often has to offer support to the survivors. The funny thing -- and yes, this book is actually funny as well as poignant -- is that she was raised atheist. Her views are wider and deeper than merely ecumenical.
Next is Lynn Griffin's, Life Without Summer, which is sort of a mystery, but also Women's Fiction. And in the mystery category, Spencer Quinn's (aka Peter Abrahams) Dog On It -- which is laugh out loud funny.
HANK: I brought DOG ON IT to the last SinC meeting...as one of my fave books! I can't talk about recent mysteries, since I'm judging for the Mary Higgins Clark category fo the Edgars. But--I'm loving BEAUTIFUL CREATURES...a wonderful mystical strange and beautiful book. I can't wait to read U is for UNDERTOW, the new Sue Grafton, since after Crime Bake, I'm such a ridiculous fangirl. And people are loving the new Stephen King, UNDER THE DOME. (I'm going to read it..as soon as I get finished judging.) I love the INDIEBOUND slogan: "Buy books. A scented candle never changed anyone's life."
HALLIE: 2009 was an outstanding year for crime novels. Just a few of my favorites:
LOOT THE MOON by Mark Arsenault
THE BROKEN TEA GLASS by Emily Arsenault (no relation to the above)
A BAD DAY FOR SORRY by Sophie Littlefield
JUMP by Tim Maleeny
THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE by Alan Bradley
BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell
And yes DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn (aka Peter Abrahams)
RO: So, opinions and choices as varied as - well, as we are.
Come back tomorrow to meet Jen Forbus and learn about the 6 Word Memoir Project.