A week for writers and lit lovers

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ten Great Christmas Book Gifts

No fuss gift buying – just pick up a few books.  Here are ten  suggestions that are sure to please.
For your friend who loves to read: The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich – A  masterpiece. A young mother is raped and her thirteen year old son wants revenge. The father, a tribal judge on the North Dakota reserve, wants justice but the law sets up barriers. The story carries a family under extreme stress  to a stunning denouement.  A winner of the US National Book Award for fiction by one of the greatest writers of our time.  A masterpiece.

Adventure fiction: Caught by Lisa Moore. Newfoundlander David Slaney escapes from prison and is on the run trying to meet his buddy for the greatest drug deal ever. Will he succeed? Moore dives into the character of her hero, who often does not know his own motives.

For the reader who loves autobiography: Belonging by Isabel Huggan A gentle meditative book, an account of her sojourns in many countries. Her effortless writing carries the reader around the world.

For the lover of true adventure: Little Ship of Fools: Sixteen Rowers, One Improbable Boat, Seven Tumultuous Weeks on the Atlantic by Charles Wilkins. Wilkins' best book ever. A thoughtful book with a humanistic approach to the fools on board as they endure storms, illness, low rations  and still they row, row, row—three thousand miles across the Atlantic  Into the quaking heart of high endeavour  to expose the highs and lows of the human spirit.

For the history buff - The Massey Murder: A Maid, her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country  by Charlotte Gray.   A young maid kills her boss, a member of the wealthy Massey family, and a sensational trial follows. The defence claims the maid was defending her honour. Will the jury buy it?  Gray fills in the history so well. A top read.

For the lover of historical fiction: The White Princess by Phillippa Gregory. The heroine,  the wife of Henry VII, is also the daughter of  his enemies. Not a great situation to find oneself. Plus did one of the princes in the tower live on to become a pretender? Anything by Gregory satisfies the lover of historical.

Blockbuster reading: Paris by Edward Rutherfurd – Wonderful tales all connected in some way to the city of Paris from Medieval times to the present.  Rutherford never bores, never drags.  A master story teller.

Short Stories. Keeping the Peace by Colette Maitland. Good stories, solid characters and interesting family events.  A very accomplished writer.  Also Hellgoing by Lynn Coady, this year’s Giller winner and Everything is So Political, a short story compilation edited by Sandra McIntyre.

Mystery and Humour. A toss up between Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich. Evanovich is back with the latest in the series  Takedown Twenty, featuring inept bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and the same nutty New Jersey characters: Gramma Mazur, on the prowl for love; Lulu, former ho and now useless detective; Joe Morrelli the hot policeman and Ranger, the hotter man in black.

Mystery – anything by Louise Penny.  Or you could move to the dark side with the Scandinavians such as the acclaimed Jo Nesbo. Or The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling writing as Kenneth Galbraith. A very good, complicated story. A down and out gumshoe tries to figure out who killed a top London model.


Janet Evanovich Author of the hilarious Stephanie Plum mystery series.






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