SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Happy 2015, everyone!
If your home's anything like ours, books played a big part in the seasons festivities. My bookish presents included VINTAGE SPIRITS AND FORGOTTEN COCKTAILS: From the Alagazoozlom to the Zombie 100 Forgotten Recipes by Ted Haigh.
It was from the Hubby, who knows how to give gifts that keep on giving — and one that also counts as research for more Maggie Hope novels!
As did the Kiddo, who got the Knopf Everyman's Library edition of Charles Dickens's classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL, as well as the entire set of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN (which, er, just happens to be one of my favorite series, too, hmmm....)
One of the great things about being a Red is getting advanced copies of books. I nearly fainted away like a Victorian maiden when I opened the package containing Charles Todd's newest Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery: A FINE SUMMER'S DAY. Yes, it was an advance copy, but the book will be out soon — January 6, 2015, so not long to wait!
And I'm delighted to announce that Charles Todd (really the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline Todd and Charles Todd) will be guests here on Jungle Reds! Join us here TOMORROW, Tuesday, January 6, to meet the illustrious Todds!
Reds, what new tomes are you most itching to get your hot little hands on in 2015?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Happy New Year! Susan, I understand your swoon over the new Todd (s)! And how brilliant of them to... well, we can hear about it tomorrow. Cannot WAIT to read. I am in love with Rutledge.
Anyway, I have been telling everyone about a book called WHAT IF, which I picked up by chance, hoping it was a compendium of mystery plots (:-)) but it turned out to be a completely fascinating and hilarious book of "real answers to ridiculous hypothetical questions" — like, what if everyone in the world showed up at the same place and the same time and jumped up and down? And — could you make a rocket ship if you had enough hair dryers? I love it, I must say, I am enchanted and enthralled.
We also got a wonderful book called A YEAR IN ART, which is a huge volume, with a date on each day, and each day has a gorgeous color plate of a painting and info about the work. So we wake up to looking at our painting of the day. Plus, it has the added benefit of letting me know what day it IS, for which I am grateful.
HALLIE EPHRON: Friends and family know better than to get me books because I get so many sent to me and then I have to agonize over what to get rid of since my office is tiny and shelf space limited. But this year I bought myself a book/present: THE WORLD OF RAYMOND CHANDLER: IN HIS OWN WORDS. It's a compendium of quotes from his novels, essays, letters strung together with connective tissue about his life by editor Barry Day. A cross between a biography and a memoir.
It's so nice to have a book that doesn't have to be read, start to finish. Where the ending is pre-ordained (he dies.) I dip into it regularly for inspiration... and to remind myself what writing is all about.
So right now I'm opening at random as I often do... and find this from THE BIG SLEEP: "Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without a sound, like a thought trying to form itself on the edge of consciousness."
DEBORAH CROMBIE: It wouldn't be Christmas without books, now, would it? My daughter gave me HUMANS OF NEW YORK, which I absolutely adore, and has been given pride of place on the coffee table. She also gave me the new Jamie Oliver cookbook, Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food, which I am less enamored with even though I asked for it. I have most of Jamie's books, love them and use them regularly, but I think this one will not be a fave--too many things I would never cook, although it may come in handy for the feeding-lots-of-people recipes. (I gave my daughter Ottolenghi's Plenty, which I love so much I've now had to order a copy for myself...) And my friend Gigi gave me Cary Elwe's The Making of The Princess Bride, which is huge fun.
Hallie, I love the Chandler quote! Shivers...
And Susan, I brought my daughter Enid Blyton books every time I went to England (the days before you could just order them) so she grew up with The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, as well as The Boxcar Children. Brilliant stuff!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Add me to the list of readers anxiously awaiting A FINE SUMMER DAY - which, btw, got an excellent review from Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Sunday Book Review yesterday. For Christmas, I got A BETTER WORLD, the second book in Marcus Sakey's BRILLIANCE series, and I have to say it was just as good as the first. Can't wait for the third book to be released! I also got FOXGLOVE SUMMER, the fourth in Ben Aaronovitch's RIVERS OF LONDON series, a marvelously conceived world where London's Metropolitan Police has a department of magic, and where ancient British nature gods are real. Debs, you might really enjoy these books.
For Ross, I found (at a used book store) almost the entire run of Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin saga in a very nice trade paperback edition. He's happily reading THE COMMODORE as I write. Youngest got a book on the pre-revolutionary Russian royals (she's the only 14-year-old I know who has a thing about the Tsars) and all three of my kids were lucky enough to get generous Amazon gift cards from their Uncle Pat and Aunt Julia, so I'm sure more books will be forthcoming soon.
DEBS: Julia, I ran across the first Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London, quite by accident when I was staying in a flat in Covent Garden a few years ago. I saw it in the window at Waterstones, went in, bought it, then stayed up all night. (He used to work at that Waterstones.) You'll understand when I say I've never looked at Covent Garden in quite the same way again! I've since bought every book as soon as it came out--must have the UK editions, not even sure they're being published here now. I loved Foxglove Summer. Not quite as dark as the previous two books. I just wish Aaronovitch would write faster. Oh, where have we heard that???
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Lovely readers, what mysteries and thrillers did you get for the holidays and what titles are you itching to get your hands on in the new year? Tell is in the comment section!