RHYS: A newspaper called me to ask me which were my favorite books of 2014. Needless to say there were Reds among my recommendations, but also Louise Penny's The Long Way Home. and Jacqueline Winspear's The Care and Management of Lies. I felt it was a good year for the sort of books I enjoy--great sense of time and place, strong likable characters.
So which books did you particularly enjoy?
And my second question: which books are on your holiday list?
I have a couple (one was given to me early as a present by Barbara Peters. It's a Hundred Special places for a woman to visit in France..., and the other I've suggested my husband might want to order for me. It's called Lisette's List by Sophie Vreeland, and is about Impressionist art, hidden from the Nazi's in WWII I love books that are set in France/span generations/have an element of mystery/and are about Impressionist art. So I can't wait to read it.
How about you? What books are on your wish list?
LUCY BURDETTE: Books are all I tell family members if they ask what I want for Christmas. This year, my choices seem to be all about food (natch!) and France. I jumped the gun and bought myself David Lebovitz's new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. But I'm also dying for Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi, and Anne Willen's One Souffle at a Time.
It has been a great year for Red books, of course--have adored reading the latest from Hank, and Susan, and Debs, and Rhys--and can't wait for you all to get your hands on Hallie's new one, Night, Night, Sleep Tight! And I just ordered Mary Kennedy's NIGHTMARES CAN BE MURDER, and Sherry Harris's debut, TAGGED FOR MURDER. Yay, you'll hear more about her next week!
HALLIE EPHRON: #1 on my wish list is "The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words" edited by Barry Day. Chandler was such a thoughtful writer, one of the reviews quotes him on writing "The Long Goodbye, Chandler": “I watched my wife die by half inches and I wrote the best book in my agony of that knowledge . . . I was as hollow as the places between the stars.” He's a prose poet. I love reading great writers talk about writing.
And my recent favorite to recommend is a wonderful collection of short stories, "In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon," edited by Leslie Klinger an Laurie R. King. Michael Connelly writes one where Harry Bosch meets a medical examiner who's earned the nickname Sherlock. In one by Michael Sims, the Silver Blaze (the horse) is the narrator. Fun!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I have been reading like MAD as a judge for a contest, so I can't say anything. I am reading so much my eyes are hurting. (And yes, it was indeed a wonderful year for Reds books. Quite extraordinary.) I did give in and buy a book for myself,which I could not resist, and it's called WHAT IF. I hoped it as a book of mystery ideas (As if!) but it turned out to be a wonderful book of serious answers to hilarious hypothetical questions. Like: What If: everyone in the world went to the same place, and then jumped up and down at the same time? And: Could you make rocket ship out of a whole lot of hairdryers?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Yes, a very good year for REDs, wasn't it. Now if we could just all manage to get in the same calendar year, we'd have a sweep:-) Now I'm struggling to remember what else I've read... (One of these days I swear I really am going to keep up a book journal. 2015???) Just finished Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, which I loved. I discovered author Mark Pryor when I did a panel with him on book tour. I've started with the first in the series, The Bookseller, and am now on the second, The Crypt Thief. Loved Karin Salvalaggio's Bone Dust White. Loved Louise Penny's The Long Way Home. And, this is cheating a bit because it's not actually out until January, but I LOVED A Fine Summer's Day, the new Charles Todd Rutledge novel.
I have so many books I need to read that I haven't thought of asking for any for Christmas, just for fun, but now I want the books on Hallie's list! And Lizette's List from Rhys's list.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: A GREAT year for Reds! Woo-hoo! I'm reading galleys for an award, so I'm a little bombarded (in a good way) with fiction, so I'm hoping for some non-fic — DRINKING WITH MEN by Rosie Shiap (my Brooklyn neighbor!), THE GRAMERCY TAVERN COOKBOOK, Amy Poehler's YES, PLEASE, and Alan Cumming's NOT MY FATHER'S SON.
I'm also obsessing over — get this — a wine scratch-and-sniff book. Yes, you read that correctly! It's called THE ESSENTIAL SCRATCH AND SNIFF GUIDE TO BECOMING A WINE EXPERT: TAKE A WHIFF OF THAT by Richard Betts. I mean, I haven't actually sniffed it yet, but... c'mon.... it sounds so fun!
RHYS: Some great suggestions here for Christmas presents, and if I might include a small plug here (since it's the last day of my week as host) If you have a child in your life and you are looking for a stocking stuffer, or you are seriously missing Harry Potter, please give my new children's book a try. It's called Dreamwalker--an adventure/fantasy novel set at a strange boarding school in Wales and it's available as a paperback and an e-book.
Now please share your favorite books of the year and your wishes for holiday gifts!