This time, the FAIL blog got it kinda right about books (sorting)! (Previously they thought book rental stores are a stupid concept.)
That aside, so what books are you wishing for Christmas? And what books do you plan to give out for Christmas?
Any Roald Dahl book
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Any books by Edward Monkton
Quidditch Through the Ages – Kennilworthy Whisp (Trying to complete my Harry Potter collection, heh) Got it from warehouse sale, yay!
Penguin asked the same question to a group of authors recently. Here’s what they chose:
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
* My absolute favorite book of recent memory: The Principals of Uncertainty, by Maira Kalman—an exquisite and delightful and peculiarly illustrated memoir about…well, the search for the meaning of life. I will be giving this book to everyone I love.
* A similarly wonderful, quirky gift book is Learning to Love You More—by Harrell Fletcher and the extraordinarily multi-talented Miranda July. The book is a collection of photos and documentation of a project the authors undertook together, wherein they would give little assignments to strangers, such as, “Write your life story in less than a day,” or “Recreate a poster you had as a child,” or “Make an encouraging banner”—and then they would document the sometimes beautiful, sometimes bizarre results.
* Another memoir I’ve loved of late is called Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas—a surprisingly non-depressing story of a woman coping with her husband’s brain injury after a serious accident. It’s a book that fills me a sense of wonder and awe, and I have a lot of friends who will be getting it in their stockings this year.
* What I wish for this year, more than anything are books about the golden age of exploration—the writings and biographies of great adventurers like Captain Cook and Ernest Shackleton. With travel as expensive as it is these days, I’m looking forward to spending much of 2009 at home, reading about other people’s magnificent journeys!
Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
* The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz: Hilarious, engaging, and profoundly moving and sad. A feast of language.
* What is the What by Dave Eggers: A chronicling of the hardships, disillusions, and hopes of the long suffering people of southern Sudan. It is impossible to read this book and not be humbled, enlightened, transformed.
* City of Thieves by David Benioff: A riveting war novel and an engaging coming of age story. City of Thieves is tender, illuminating, and, be warned, often shocking.
* Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri: Gorgeous, effortless prose; characters haunted by regret, isolation, loss, and tragedies big and small. A quiet, emerging sense of humanity.
* The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb: I loved his first two books and am anxious to read his follow-up.
* Drown by Junot Díaz: Loved Oscar Wao. This older selection, which I shamefully have not as yet read, will be my Díaz fix until the next one.
* The Boat by Nam Le. I have read nothing about this book that has been less than glowing.
* Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Companion to the Ultimate Graphic Novel: This is a must have for any fan of the groundbreaking graphic novel. I read it when it was first released, read it again this year. It’s just as good.
Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity, About A Boy, and most recently Slam
* I’m evangelical about Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution, a loving, brilliantly-researched account of the five movies nominated for the 1967 Best Picture Oscar, from conception to ceremony. It’s not only one of the best books about film I’ve ever read, but one of the best books about any artistic process.
* America, Zoe Strauss’s book of her brave, touching, occasionally shocking photographs. She’s my favorite contemporary photographer.
Titles other authors mentioned in their get/give list:
– A GIFT CERTIFICATE TO ANY BOOKSTORE (because nothing beats browsing books on a winter night)!
(Robert Alexander, author of The Romanov Bride)
– I want somebody to give me that Penguin Library classics collection, because it’s too expensive for me to buy for myself!
(Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo)
– The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
(Ann B. Ross, author of the Miss Julia series)
– For every father in America: Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, as a reminder of the preciousness of a child’s life and the fundamental importance of paternal responsibility. It is the most visceral and visual novel I have read in memory and I think of the message and the images every time I hold my little son’s hand.
(John O’Hurley, author of It’s Okay To Miss The Bed On The First Jump)
– I hope someone will give me a great novel I don’t know about that I can curl up with over the holidays.
(Leonard Maltin, author of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guides)
– Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy, His Dark Materials
(Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker)
– The Diary of a Nobody – George & Weedon Grossmith
(Jasper Fforde, author of Thursday Next)
(Read this, it’s really quite funny!)
– Fiction is great, but I also love learning about, well, everything! I think I’m the only person who hasn’t read Freakonomics, so I wouldn’t mind seeing that in my stocking. Books make the best gifts, especially when the economy is down! How else can you transport someone to a new and exciting world for less than $20?
(Danica McKellar author of Kiss My Math and Math Doesn’t Suck)