Monday, December 11, 2017

The Yule Book Flood

RHYS BOWEN: I recently read an article about the happiest places on Earth. And at the top of the list were the Scandinavian countries. They have great social welfare programs. They pay high taxes but they know they will never be without healthcare, homeless, hungry or neglected when they are old. They have the right idea about how to enjoy life and it's not acquiring more things. My friend visited Denmark this summer and the family always ate together, spending the evening talking and laughing. They went everywhere by bicycle, took picnics, enjoyed the outdoors.

Okay, you say, but some of those countries spend half the year in darkness.  Ah, I reply. But Iceland has the Jólabókaflóð.

Yes, it's The yule book flood! On Christmas Eve everyone gives and receives a book, and they spend the night reading them. What a brilliant idea, and hooray for Iceland! What a wonderful country that values books and reading. Can you picture curling up with a rug in an armchair by the fire, a mug of hot chocolate or spiced cider and a plate of cookies beside you and reading all night? Big sigh of content.

So I’m trying to think what books I would want to give my nearest and dearest on Christmas Eve.

Daughters Clare, Anne and Jane would be easy to please because they read a lot and enjoy the same sort of books I do. So Kate Morton, or historical WW1 or 2. Then we would pass them around after we’d read them.  Of course Clare is brilliant and might enjoy a book on Quantum Physics. (yes, she reads things like that for pleasure) And Anne is an activist and dog lover. A funny book of dogs might go down well on Christmas Eve. 

Granddaughter Lizzie is going off to college so a book on
surviving alone might be good. Granddaughter Meghan loves art and design. Clare's kids love dystopian novels.(eek). A few years ago when I gave them the Hunger Games they hugged the books and jumped up and down. Tim would want something on theology, Sam on robots.

Years ago I gave son-in-law Tom a Daniel Silva and he rushed out to buy everything else Silva had written. So he’d be easy too. Dominic and Meredith are into house renovation, inspirational self-help and healthy cooking. Plenty of choice there.  I’m not sure about John. When he loves a book he has to read it straight through, not pausing to eat, sleep or visit the bathroom. But he doesn’t always love books I think he will.  One of mine would be good, but he’s proof-read them all.

And now I’m writing this I’m thinking that half the fun would be choosing the books, lying in bed and thinking which book would be perfect for which person.  I think I’d want to share the book I’d been given with those around me that night, so I’d choose a book to receive that could be read out loud. One of my favorites and perfect for the occasion would be the POEMS OF ROBERT FROST.  His poetry is so evocative and so right for cold winter evenings. What’s more his world is one of simplicity, of peace, and safe havens that so many of us crave right now. I once visited his farm with friends and we did the poetry walk, each taking turns to read the appropriate poem at the site about which it was written. One of the most memorable things I have ever done. And I am now inspired to do this myself this year: so picture me sitting by the fire and reading “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep….”

So, dear Red family, what books would you give and which would you like to receive?

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm especially looking for books for my 4-year-old granddaughter and 1-year-old  grandson. The problem is they already have SO MANY books (and toys and clothes and...) and we saved the keepers that belonged to our daughters. So finding just one special book, that's the challenge. I just bought myself a copy of Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey and I'm looking forward to curling up with it.


INGRID THOFT: Help!  I need a book suggestion for an eight-year-old!  Any thoughts?  I love to get people hooked on series, and one of the series that I find pleases just about everyone is C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett books.  Men and women, city mice and country mice alike seem to enjoy these books.  There are a couple of people on my list who would enjoy “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” the coffee table book by Pete Souza, the official White House photographer during the Obama years.  I’d love to get a dessert cookbook that isn’t too complicated, but full of yummy options.  Any favorites all of you can recommend?

RHYS: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Everyone loves that series. If the child is an advanced reader she can tackle the first Harry Potter at 8.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: OH, there's great YA mystery called SUMMERLOST,  about a young girl who gets a summer job at a local theater that does Shakespeare.  And Peter Abrahams' Echo Falls Mysteries. I think they're okay for an eight-year old...oh! The main character in the Echo Falls books is named Ingrid!  So that solves that. 

And all the Edward Eager books--like HALF MAGIC (where you only get half your wish so you have to figure that out) and KNIGHTS CASTLE (where the main characters take part in Ivanhoe). SO great.

Ben Mezrich (of the Facebook movie fame) has a new YA called Charlie Numbers--it looks adorable.

Hallie, the one year old should have Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom. I got the new book on RFK for my step son and his sons. And the Stephen Kinzer book on Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain (so fascinating--there was "fake news" back then, too, of course) for Jonathan's brother. 

For me? Sadly, I just want my own book to be finished. But I have miles to go before I sleep.

LUCY BURDETTE: A couple kids books that I recommend are Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell and Some Writer! The story of EB White by Melissa Wweet. Both are gorgeously illustrated and good for both boys and girls. I bought the first one for 18 month old Dorothea but I think it’s probably skews older than that. The second one would definitely be for a 4 to 7-year-old and her parents to read. And if you are a huge fan of Mr. White as I am, this is a great book. 

If you have someone on your list who loves food and Paris, David Lebovitz has a new memoir out called L'APPART about his travails buying and renovating his apartment in Paris. Absolutely chilling, I have assured John that I no longer want a French pied a terre for my birthday!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Ingrid, I'm going to add to everyone's suggestions: anything my Dav Pilkey for a boy (the Captain Underpants series and the Ricky Riccota's Mighty Robot series are huge at our local library. For a girl, try the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows. 

For me, one of my cherished personal Christmas traditions is to snuggle down in the comfy reading chair in front of the fire after all my dinner guests have left, and to crack open a book I received that morning (or have been saving for the occasion.) It's lovely to get into my flannel pajamas after a long, long day and read late into the night. (Because I don't have to get up early for anything on St. Stephen's day!)

What would I gift for Jólabókaflóð? For my sister who likes to travel, National Geographic's DESTINATIONS OF A LIFETIME. For her husband, the Trekkie, THESE ARE THE VOYAGES: The Original Series, Season One. For my brother the history buff, Ron Chernow's magisterial biography GRANT. And for my sister-in-law, who loves to cook,
Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner by
Ashley Christensen.

As for my fiction-loving mother, there's only one novel she wants to read... my next one! Better get cranking.

JENN MCKINLAY: How funny. I just wrote a post about Jólabókaflóð for my publisher's newsletter. They wanted me to choose the one book I would gift to a book lover for the "flood of books"? For me, it's THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. I love that book on so many levels. Now, if we're talking kids, I am all over the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Parks. June B is the sassiest first grader whoever was! I love her and most kids do, too, even boys! For me, I collect knitting books. I don't have time to knit as much as I'd like but I love reading the patterns. I recently found a book of Japanese knitting patterns by Hitomi Shida that reshaped my brain like fingers in Play-Doh. It's my latest favorite. 

RHYS: Jenn, I had to write that same post for our joint publisher--which is what gave me the idea for this! And I also love knitting patterns. When I'm next in Arizona I'll gift you a book of impossibly fabulous but difficult patterns.

So now it's your turn, everyone. What books would you like to give and receive for the  Jólabókaflóð.?

  

58 comments:

  1. Oh, a book is just the greatest present to put under the tree!

    Ingrid, grandson Zach is nine; he really likes the Magic Tree House Books, so that might be a possibility for you.
    Another is Chris Grabenstein’s wonderful Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series.

    Granddaughter Raylah is getting two poetry books; her brother Kyle is getting a book on coding. Isaac is two; he’s getting a Little Einsteins book that has sound accompanying the story. Mia’s mother says she’s too little to care about Christmas, but she’s getting a book, too, even if she’s only four months old!
    Zach, the older of the Colorado grandbabies, is getting Magic Tree House books; Oliver is getting a Pete the Cat book.
    Since John likes to read about the Second World War, he’s getting a book written by a Pearl Harbor survivor. My sister’s getting a book about the classic Star Trek episodes.

    Me, I’m anxious to read Krysten Ritter’s “Bonfire,” but I’ll take any book anyone wants to give me.
    And whenever that next book comes along, Julia, I’ll be racing to the bookstore for a copy . . . .

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  2. Yes, I heard about the tradition of Jólabókaflóð when I visited Iceland. It's great how a whole nation decides to enjoy the winter season and READ.

    Despite already having an overwhelming TBR mountain of books at home, I do want to get more upcoming books. Top of my list is Robert Crais' THE WANTED (Dec 26 is the release date) so a gift card may need to be put in my Christmas stocking.

    And the book that I would gift for any book lover is FOOTNOTES FROM THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKSTORES: TRUE TALES AND LOST MOMENTS FROM BOOK BUYERS, BOOKSELLERS AND BOOK LOVERS by Bob Eckstein.

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    1. Oh, this sounds wonderful, Grace. I always enjoy the tales booksellers tell me when I'm visiting.

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    2. Yes, and I always look for new bookstores to visit when travelling. There are 75 bookstores highlighted, and I would love to go to as many of them as possible. I know, just another excuse to go globetrotting!

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  3. All of the kids in my life are of the older persuasion so I've been gifting Linda Fairstein's books - but don't tell them, I want it to be a surprise. For those younger, I give the Paddington series all in a box. I still have my bear - and my books. Love them. And for those even younger it's the Velveteen Rabbit. Yep, I'm into the classics.

    With things as unsettled as they are in addition to any special interest novels or non-fiction (and Kinzer's The True Flag would satisfy everyone on me list--me too) I think the Desiderada and The Little Prince (in the language of choice) need to make the rounds. Something comforting for adults, too.

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    1. Paddington! I still enjoy those as an adult.
      Rhys

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    2. Me too. I love Paddington the Bear and still do as an adult.

      Diana

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  4. Ingrid, how advanced is your 8 year old reader? There must be a mystery series out there that you could introduce them to? What about Linda Fairstein's Devlin Quick series? I got those for my cousin this year. She's 10.

    As for what else I'm giving, another cousin is getting some kid friendly books as he's 5. My newphew is getting a collection of Richard Scarry stories that his father will be reading to him.

    Other than that, I'm not really buying any other gifts of any kind for anyone else.

    As for books I'd like to receive, I make it simple for people. Just gift me a Barnes and Noble gift card, I'll pick up what I want and thank you for the specific title afterwards.

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  5. For myself, I really want to pick up DANGEROUS TO KNOW, both of Joe Ide's books, and of course I'm eagerly awaiting Hank's next.

    For my husband, something about history or theology.

    The Girl...well, I'm not sure. She's eclectic. She bought Joe Biden's memoir of his son, Neil Degrasse Tyson's astrophysics, but she also loves things like GIRL ON A TRAIN. One of HRC's books? Or wander the store until a cover grabs my eye.

    The Boy would be the most difficult as he really doesn't read much at all.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Mary, is your son interested in any kind of science? There are so many amazing illustrated books in the bookstores these days. My grandson has enjoyed ones on anatomy, and electricity, the Biosphere, and a bunch of other topics.

      One author he enjoys, who happens to be a local friend (and whose book club I've belonged to for years), is Mary Kay Carson. She and her husband Tom Uhlman, who is a photographer, have a great list of intriguing titles, full of great photos.

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    2. He likes chemistry. I think he'll like physics. He's taking an Intro to Engineering class next semester. Maybe that will spark some reading desires.

      Mary/Liz

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    3. I loved the She Persisted children's book by Chelsea Clinton. Sounds like your children are older. Yes, one of HRC's books sound great. All of the books you listed sound great. For the boy who likes chemistry, physics and engineering, perhaps Science Fiction books? Star Trek books?

      Diana

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    4. I had a thought for the Boy. How about Graham Moore's Last Days of Night? Westinghouse v. Edison, with crazy brilliant Tesla thrown in. Narrated by the very young lawyer charged with fighting Edison's lawsuits against Westinghouse. There's science, history, mystery.

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  6. We need to think how to make Jólabókaflóð a thing in the US. We borrow everyone elses holidays - have you noticed how some ads have started calling the day after Christmas Boxing Day? Or the fact that girls outside the Latin community are beginning to celebrate quinceañera? Okay, maybe they don't need to while away long winter evenings in Arizona, but I bet it would be very popular in New England, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, etc.

    (Mostly I just want all my friends and relatives to give me books.

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    1. Julia, I second this idea! As much as I love to read, the best is always when everyone has a book in their hands--and oh yes, one of the books I'll be happy to get my hands on (after your mom, of course), is your next!!

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    2. Yes, Julia, that is my perfect idea of a holiday. I think we should adopt it! If only I knew how to pronounce it...

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    3. This reminds me of when I was a kid. I learned that in Japan, they celebrate Children's Day in June and I told my parents that it was Children's Day in June. I got something that I wanted on that day.

      Diana

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  7. A friend of mine used to manage the children's section at my local Barnes & Noble, so I would speed to her side any time I had to buy books for kids. Now I fall back on many of her classic suggestions. For kids who are old enough to snuggle on you lap as you read aloud, Graeme Base's "Animalia," with all those gorgeous pictures you can point to as you expand your child's vocabulary. For slightly older kids, I'm all about well-illustrated fairy tales that you can read aloud or they can begin to read for themselves. (Yes, my mother was an art teacher. Yes, I figure I might as well treat a kid's eyes while I challenge his brain.)

    If a child is reading on her own, books on science and history, as well as fiction. I gobbled up books about flowers and dinosaurs and such when I was just starting school, and it looks like National Geographic and Time both publish interesting science books for kids of all ages these days.

    If they're old enough to start on Harry Potter, you might tempt kids with some other outstanding fantasy writers, including Lloyd Alexander's "Chronicles of Prydain," Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series, or anything by Zilpha Keatley Snyder or Diana Wynne Jones.

    For adults? If they like mysteries, anything by the Reds, although they probably already have a stack of those. Other books I've given recently include "The Lion in the Living Room," by Abigail Tucker (for all my cat loving friends) and Jim Butcher's "The Aeronaut's Windlass," for folks who like steampunk fantasy. For myself, fun stories about rescue dogs are always welcome, as are books about beautiful gardens or antique carousels. This year I've treated myself to a great book on the history and Art Deco wonders of Fair Park, the area of Dallas where I office. There is so much I didn't know!

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    1. Animalia is one of our favorites! The kids enjoy looking for the boy hidden in every illustration, too. Graeme Base has a long title list, by the way.

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    2. Gigi, wonderful book recommendations. I loved Kate Greenaway's flower books. They were small books for children and they had beautiful illustrations of different flowers.

      Diana

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  8. When I was a kid, all I ever wanted for Christmas was a good book I could read during the school vacation! And, I still feel that way!

    My 92 year old mother loves biographies -- She is getting three. I had recently sent her a book about the ANZAC nurses in WWI (I had seen a TV series) and she loved it.

    Grandchildren? The 13 year old is a challenge, but I found a sort of true adventure/crisis book for him. The 10 year old boy is getting a "how it was made" book. For the girls -- the 8 year old loves graphic novels and stuff like Dork Diaries. WONDER was a big hit, and there are sequels to that. She has been inspired by quotes lately so I found a book that has Shakespeare quotes (One to a page, graphically designed).

    Both the 8 and the 6 year old girl love biographies of women -- there are great series "Who was" and "Who is."

    The babies are getting adorable board books.

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    1. Denise Ann, for toddler board books, have you seen the Dinosaur Vs series? (As in Dinosaur Vs. Mommy, etc.) They are adorable!!!!

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  9. It's tough to figure out what my young adult kids are reading. I have a "houseguest" shelf in the family room with all the Daniel Silva books on it.

    Once upon a time, my 14 year old "I hate books about country boys and dogs" son discovered Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar sports agent books. I gave him the entire series for Christmas one year, and except for meals, I didn't see him for days. So wonderful when that happens!

    For me? Until Ann Cleeves publishes a new book, Donna Leon's latest Inspector Brunetti. And the new PD James short story collection.

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  10. Rhys, I had to laugh when you said you would want the book of poems because you'd want to read them out that night. I have to tell you that if I had just received my own wonderful tome, I would not be thrilled to have you keep interrupting to share moments from yours! I'm guessing your loved ones are less grumpy when interrupted in a book than I am.

    It's been some years since I have had a need to buy children's books but there are a few that I still remember vividly because they were so impactful. I cannot find strong enough words to recommend "Knots on a Counting Rope." It is rated as suitable for kindergarten to fourth grade. The book uses the dialogue between a blind Native-American boy and his grandfather to illustrate the struggles the boy has overcome. It is so beautiful and lyrical! Though it is prose, it almost feels like poetry to me.

    My son was a lover of the fantasy genre, so he and I also really enjoyed absolutely all the works of Cornelia Funke, the "Artemis Fowl" series, and the series Christopher Paolini's series that starts with "Eragon." Most of those are a little advanced for an eight year old, but I think some of the Cornelia Funke books would be suitable. They would DEFINITELY be suitable for reading aloud together.

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    1. Susan, you are so right! That thought did occur to me after I'd written this. I can just see the family all looking up and saying, "Shut up about the ***** woods. we want to read!"

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  11. Books are my favorite gifts, and I'm known on both sides of the family as the Book Aunt. Of course. I just bought a beautiful edition of Tarzan of the Apes for my 12-year old grandson. He has loved so many books, including the one based on the Greek gods, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. I hope he enjoys the Tarzan story.

    A great book for an eight-year old is the first Lemony Snicket book, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

    For me, I want an additional 24 hours in the day, so I can read the hundreds of books I already have! Between the TBR pile and the unread books on my Nook, I will never finish the ones I have now. Naturally, I would love to have more, including all those mentioned in this blog, you temptresses!

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    1. Reading through all these comments, I was just thinking about how the Percy Jackson books would have so been on my childhood list of books I wanted! And it's not impossible that some will sneak onto my now-grandma bookshelf this month, my own gift to me.

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  12. We're getting ready to move, and Mount Tooby is already too tall to stand, so I don't want any new books at the moment. Maybe the perfect gift would be more time to read. Even better, a promise of a new book from each of you in the coming year! I'm especially looking forward to more Clare and Russ. I'm already looking forward to Ellen Crosby's new one, and Katy Munger says she's working on a new Casey Jones--if you haven't read those, they're tremendous fun.

    My two-year-old grandson loves books that have little flaps that can be pulled up to reveal something, it doesn't matter what. Others that age might like that sort of thing. The six-year-old is getting started with chapter books, so I'll check out some of the titles and series mentioned here.

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  13. I always looked forward to getting a book (or better yet, books!) but that doesn't seem to happen much any more. The whole idea of settling down Christmas night and reading a brand new book really does appeal to me. I usually give several books each year; it is such fun searching for just the right one. Thinking I get more pleasure out of that than my family members do.

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    1. I love getting a book for the holidays, too. For those people I can't decide upon, it's the old Poisoned Pen, BN, or Amazon gift card.

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  14. What a great topic and idea, Rhys. I love the Icelandic tradition almost as I love most any book coming out of Iceland. Julie and I used to exchange books without exception, but now I do almost all my reading on Kindle and we share that library. Therefore, there aren't many books we want that we don't buy on the spot, even at midnight in our own bed!

    However there is a book I'd like this year for Christmas; the hardcover edition of
    Ann Cleeve's SHETLAND. Inscribed would be nice. Kicking myself for not taking a copy to Bouchercon.

    And for those of you with grandchildren, particularly boys although my girl would have loved it, try this: A BOOK WITH NO PICTURES, by B.J. Novak
    https://smile.amazon.com/Book-No-Pictures-B-Novak-ebook/dp/B00INIXTKE/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513004581&sr=1-2&keywords=childrens+books%2C+no+words

    My youngest grandsons adored this and always bring it out for us to read together. It is full of raucous boy humor, almost-but-not-quite words their mother might cringe at, and more fun than a barrel of, well, little boys.

    And for the gifted child, a book by my neighbor Rosemary, an educator whose speciality is the exceptional child. She has published a fair amount of textbooks on the subject, but this book is directed to the high achiever who is having difficulty fitting in with the herd. I know every one of us has an exceptionally bright grandchild, right? So I'm flogging Rosemary's book, OLIVER. K. BRAND, A VERY KIND AND INTELLIGENT LITTLE BOY. https://smile.amazon.com/Oliver-Brand-Very-Intelligent-Little/dp/1483915255/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513005077&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=rosemary+callard+zulgit


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    1. As for settling down on Christmas Eve and reading a book, obviously Icelanders are feeding everyone seven fishes and then girding their loins for a trip out to Midnight Mass, with the entire family in tow!

      What a dream that would be.

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    2. And I'm someone who needs her sleep or I'm cranky, Ann. Those of us who have been baking and making beds all Christmas Eve would not be able to read all night!
      Rhys

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  15. For the dog lover - The Dogist and also Dogist Puppies, Elias Weiss Friedman, photos of dogs (and puppies) and If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You, Valerie Shaff and Roy Blount Jr., photos of dogs doing what they do, accompanied by the wisdom of Mr. Blount.

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  16. For some of the writers/creative types on my Christmas list, I'm getting Neil Gaiman's The View from the Cheap Seats. That man is a treasure--creative, original, thoughtful, funny, smart. He has a lot to say about the value of books, writing, and creativity that should speak to writers (and readers). Rhys, for your granddaughter who likes dystopian, you might consider my YA INCUBATION series. Just a thought!

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    1. Oh, I don’t know that Book! Thanks Laura… I will look for it instantly!

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    2. My dictation software somehow always capitalizes Book. Wonder why… So funny!

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  17. My granddaughter loves ballet, and The Nutcracker, so I was looking for a really beautiful illustrated Nutcracker ballet book... we have storybooks, but not ballet storybooks.

    And a shout out for mystery lovers on your list, Rhys's new book THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST (a Molly Murphy) is just out!

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    1. Thanks for the reminder about the new Molly book, Hallie.

      I'm taking my grandson to see The Nutcracker over the holidays. We're both very excited.

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    2. Thank you for mentioning this, Hallie!

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    3. Definitely already got the new Molly Murphy book. Always have, always will.

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    4. I've just read Rhys's new Molly Christmas book and loved it!! A great gift!

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  18. Apologies for not getting in on the front end of today's post!! I was out of town with daughter and toddler (Traveling with Toddler could be my new book...) and not only did I not take my laptop, but I forgot my phone charger!!! It was very weird to be Internet-less for a couple of days, but I think that would be a nice requirement for our Jólabókaflóð.

    I'm looking for two-year-old books for Christmas for the Toddler. We have quite a few of the classics, but would love suggestions.

    For anyone gifting toddlers up to early school age, I highly recommend any books by the English author and illustrator Shirley Hughes. We saved all of Kayti's, but they are easily available now in the US, and at almost ninety, Hughes is putting out lovely books every year or so.

    My own to-read pile is so huge that I would only ask for time!!! Although I'd love The Obama Years book for my coffee table. Those photographs are so wonderful.

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  19. Rhys, is the Icelandic tradition similiar to the Danish hygge tradition? I had heard of the Icelandic tradition of giving everyone books on Christmas Eve, though I did not know the name until now. I love the idea of giving everyone books for Christmas. My local indie bookstore has a theme of giving everyone books for Christmas.

    What do I love to give as gifts? A relative studied to become a herbalist and I got the impression that she was interested in the environment too. I gave her Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. A dear friend loved a whimisical book about Hanukah Harry subbing for Santa Claus one Christmas Eve when Santa Claus had a cold that she bought copies of the book for her relatives and friends. I wish I could remember the title. It's difficult to give books sometimes because we are big readers. Often I would give a book as a gift and the person already read the book, ha ha. A friend loves Stephen King and I found a new book by Stephen King so I'm giving a copy to this friend for Christmas. I bought a lot of books at Bouchercon to give as Christmas gifts.

    What would I love to receive as a Christmas gift? Rhys Bowen's new Christmas book. Always love receiving Rhys' books as Christmas gifts. I would love to receive the new book by Charles Finch. I think it's called Woman in the Water. I would love to receive Cold as Ice by Julie Mulhern. There are many books that I would love to receive as gifts. I just read How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry and I would love to receive other books by her as a Christmas gift. Some of my favorite Christmas gifts in the past were books. One year I received Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear as a Christmas gift. Another year I received Maggie Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal as a Christmas gift.

    So wonderful to learn about new book recommendations in your post. I was thinking about the 8 year old. I loved the young adult books by Jennifer Weiner. I think it's called Little Bigfoot. Another children's book that I liked was the Devlin Quick mysteries by Linda Fairstein.

    Everyone, thank you for sharing your book recommendations!

    Diana

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  20. Thanks for all the terrific suggestions, everyone! My shopping will be infinitely easier!

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  21. And after watching the movie The Man who Invented Christmas, I will never look at a Christmas Carol the same way! Lovely movie, and it makes the book even more fabulous.

    Maybe movie tickets, in addition to the book, will encourage people to read the original!

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  22. My Christmas wish list was almost all books this year. No idea when I will get them read, but I really do plan to. Honest!

    I actually give my aunt books for Christmas every year (including Rhys's books), so she'd be easy. And I love to give my niece and nephew books.

    Hallie, have your grands discovered the joys of Mo Willems? His Elephant and Piggie books are outstanding. And Bill Peet books are well worth tracking down as well.

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    1. Mark, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" is one of my favorites! Love Mo Willems!

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    2. Me, too! He's so gifted - even the expression on the pigeon are fantastic.

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  23. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman was one of the books that I read this past year that keeps returning to my mind to think about - so I think that might be one I would give, also for fun get them started on M.C. Beaton ... her books are nice and short and you could really read them in a night, also they series are lengthy so there is always another book to read, plus they are fun!

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  24. For quite a few years, I have been giving myself a Bag of Books for Christmas, and it always includes non-fiction as well as fiction. I don't read much non-fiction these days, so it's a great time to look at the non-fiction books and pick some out. Of course, there's always fiction and always mystery/crime. On my reading blog, The Reading Room, I write up a post entitled "My Christmas Bag of Books," listing what books I know so far will be in that bag. I almost have the list finished and will publish it this week. The two non-fiction titles I've selected are American Wolf:A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakelee and Bellevue:Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky. David Oshinsky also wrote the amazing Polio:An American Story that I've read, and he is the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in History. I'm also gifting American Wolf to my son-in-law (whose middle name happens to be Wolf), and I'm giving him a copy of Nicholas Evans' The Loop, fiction book dealing with pro- and anti-wolves people in Montana. Oh, I will say that my Christmas Bag of Books will contain fewer books this year because of all the amazing books coming out in January. If you haven't taken a look at what's coming up then, you might want to save a few book dollars for after the New Year.

    Giving books for Christmas to my family is one of the great pleasures of the season for me. Ingrid, I have an eight-year-old granddaughter, but she's been reading Harry Potter for at least a couple of years. She's quite the voracious reader. I'm giving her this year's illustrated book in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban. But, just because she can read advanced material doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy books written more for children her age. Not long ago I gave her the book Pax by Sara Pennypacker, a story about a boy and his fox, and she really liked it. It does deal with some heavy issues, too. Wish Tree (ages 8-12) by Katherine Applegate is one I've gotten for this granddaughter for Christmas, too. Oh, and for eight-year-olds and around that age, Ann M. Martin writes wonderful dog-themed books. The other granddaughter is a teenager, and I've bough her the same Harry Potter illustrated book as the younger granddaughter, because the older one likes collecting them, even though she's already read them. She will also get another book, but I haven't decided what yet. I'm still deciding on my daughter and son and husband, too.

    I have to agree that Rhys' Molly Murphy book, The Ghost of Christmas Past, would be a great gift for mystery lovers this Christmas. Also, one of the British Library Crime Classic books edited by Martin Edwards, Silent Night, is a great collection of classic "Christmas tales of crime and detection." David Baldacci's The Christmas Train is a good Christmas read, too.

    I do think the Icelandic tradition of Christmas Eve reading is wonderful. Maybe, I'll do that this year.

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  25. Our youngest grandchild is 10 months and one of her gifts from us to celebrate her first Christmas is the 50th Anniversary edition of Ezra Jack Keat's THE SNOWY DAY. What makes it extra special is not only was this a favorite "winter" read for our children when they were young,.....but.....a little drum roll here......USPS just issued in October, 4 commemorative stamps of illustrations from the book, of Peter in his snowsuit! We purchased the first day covers of the stamps to give with the book.....to celebrate 2017....the year of her birth.
    Ingrid, for 8 year old readers....both boys and girls......The Boxcar Children is a long loved mystery series. One of our daughters is a third grade teacher and in addition to "official" classroom reading, she has initiated small "book club groups" within the class, where the small group picks a book and reads and discusses it together. One of the groups just finished book one of the Boxcar Children series and they loved it!
    Rhys, have you seen the Robert Frost edition of STOPPING BY WOODS on a SNOWY EVENING that is illustrated by Susan Jeffers? A small treasure.

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  26. Those Keats Snowy Day stamps will be on all my holiday cards this year. A pretty new book when I began workings a children's librarian, a lifetime ago, and still a perfect classic.

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  27. A great book for the little ones and one I loved when I was a kid is Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup With Rice. I loved it so much my mother gave me a new copy for Christmas when I was in my 30s. It teaches the months of the year and the pleasure of chicken soup with rice. "Sipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice." And made into a song by Carole King. What could be better?

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  28. My favorite books have always been the children's picture books that I grew up as a child with. I still read them when I have a copy. (I tend to give them away to my friends (on a whim). Two which come to mind at the very top of the list are: Many Moons by James Thurber and The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame.

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  29. When I first heard of Jólabókaflóð I was so excited! Books, reading in bed, hot chocolate! What could be better? My husband's comment? "And how would that be different than any other night at our house?" LOL. He has a point.

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