Dec 8, 2010
Everybody's reading classics these days; we've got your next one! We help five listeners find the perfect books to give this holiday season. Two books we're giving as gifts this year.
Mark Twain is on the bestseller list. Charles Dickens will soon be there, thanks to Oprah. And now, Ann has committed to reading War and Peace in 2011. No really. She's serious this time. Ann and fellow book-lover Kalen have created a War and Peace Read-Along group on Facebook. They're starting in February. Join them!
The end of the year always brings a plethora of "Best of" lists. Well, on December 29th, we'll add to those by telling you some of our favorite books of the year. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us your 3 favorite books that were published this year, and we'll compile a BOTNS Listener's Top 10 of 2010 list and share it on that same show. Be sure to fill in the form by Sunday, December 19, so we'll have time to tally the results!
Thanks so much to the five brave souls who left their gift-giving dilemmas in our hands. We think we came up with some good ideas and we're eager to hear how we did!
Jane wanted some light reading for a 28 year old law student who will be on his holiday break. Ann recommended Star Island by Carl Hiaasen and Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. For me, a great example of light, intelligent reading is The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper, and I also mention his newest book This is Where I Leave You.
Carol from Connecticut called in asking for a gift idea for a librarian who likes adventure nonfiction, travel writing, and true crime. I re-recommended a book from this summer called Blind Descent by James Tabor, along with an older book called In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov. Ann gave Carol plenty of choices with The Tiger by John Vaillant, The Wave by Susan Casey, Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier and The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr.
Barbara needed an idea for her 96 year-old father-in-law. Without conferring ahead of time Ann and I both suggested Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, a book that will surely be one of my Faves of 2010. Ann also mentioned Atlantic by Simon Winchester, an author we both enjoy.
Kate was looking for gift suggestion for her teen nephews and her 14 year-old son who loves military nonfiction but wants to branch out. I suggested branching him out into fiction with The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. Ann recommended Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian and the companion book Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World by Richard O'Neill. She also recommends Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and the YA steampunk series by Scott Westerfeld that begins with Leviathan and continues with Behemoth.
Karen wants to buy a book for her nephew-in-law, who's pretty much a total stranger. He's not much of a reader, but when he does read, it's about computers and finance. This was the hardest one for me to solve, but I think he would enjoy The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, which is a biography of uber-successful businessman Warren Buffett. Ann suggests Fault Lines by Raghuram G. Rajan and The Master Switch by Tim Wu.
Finally, Ann recommends Potato Chip Science by Allen Kurzweil, ostensibly for Karen's nephew-in-law, but really, it's a quirky, perfect gift for so many different kinds of people!
I sure hope none of my siblings are listening to this episode, since they're all getting How to Repair Food by Tanya Zeryck, John Bear and Marina Bear. It's not that any of them are bad cooks (quite the opposite actually), it's just that kitchen disasters happen to everyone, and no matter what goes wrong, chances are the fix can be found in this book. Ann's in-laws regularly drive many hours to and from their vacation home. Ann's giving them The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, in both print and audio formats, so it can be read or listened to in the car.