Books for the Holidays
Last week, my sister called and asked if our family should choose names out of a hat for Christmas this year. “That way, we’d buy just one present for one person.”
I admire the simplicity of this idea . . . really, I do. But I can not embrace it because I adore giving books for the holidays. What fun to browse Eugene’s Smith Family Bookstore–volumes stacked two feet high beneath the shelves–and the UO Duck Store which has the added benefit of bins of mini Toblerone bars for twenty-five cents apiece.
Here are a few books I’ve reviewed for various publications over the past year that you might want to consider giving:
Everyday Writing: Tips and prompts to fit your regularly scheduled life by Midge Raymond. Ashland Creek Press, 137 pages. Paperback, $14.50. Author and teacher Midge Raymond shows us how to incorporate a regular writing practice into just a few minutes a day. Stuck in a waiting room or traffic jam without a pen and paper or your laptop? She further empowers readers by reminding us of how to think like a writer. Read my review of Everyday Writing in the August 2012 issue of The Writer Magazine.
Tributary by Barbara K. Richardson. Torrey House Press, 300 pages. Paperback, $15.95. I stayed awake several nights in a row to devour this novel by Colorado author, Barbara K. Richardson. Set in nineteenth-century Brigham City in Utah Territory, the story follows the life of young Clair Martin, set apart both by a facial birthmark and by her rebellion against conformity. This compelling story takes readers to a disease-stricken New Orleans hospital and a desolate sheep ranch in the desert. This is a novel to get lost in, and to savor. Read my review of Tributary in High Country News.
The Case of D.B. Cooper’s Parachute by William L. Sullivan. Navillus Press, 411 pages. Paperback, $14.95. I love Oregon almost as much as my Eugene-based colleague, William L. Sullivan. Every time I ran across an Oregon landmark–The Grotto, Timberline Lodge, Portland’s Dragonboat Races–in his new novel, I gave a little internal shriek of delight. Sullivan is fearsomely smart, and he’s written a complex and colorful mystery novel which incorporates the Russian Old Believers, art theft, murder, recycling, and D.B. Cooper who parachuted down over the Cascade mountains in 1971 after demanding $200,000 from the FBI . Look for my review in High Country News very soon!
You Should Really Write a Book: How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir by Regina Brooks and Brenda Lane Richardson. St. Martin’s Press, 240 pages. Paperback, $14.99. As the author of the memoir, Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood (Seal, 2009) I teach memoir writing at conferences, and I’m delighted to be able to point attendees to this book by Brooks–a literary agent–and Richardson–a journalist and social worker. It’s full of good advice, from how to shape a memoir around a key event and/or era to marketing the published product. Read my review in the February 2012 issue of The Writer Magazine.
Catch ‘n Release: The Game by Susan Hart Hellman. Luminare Press. Paperback, $15.95. It’s very odd to find oneself engrossed in a vivid murder scene from a psychological thriller and then to surface with the unsettling realization: My mother wrote that. And indeed, she did. Shamelessly, I’m recommending my mom’s debut novel set in Southern California. Dr. Savanna Jamison, neuropsychologist and defense witness, finds herself–after the murder of a sorority girl –working unexpectedly as an underground sleuth. A complex and powerful thriller from an author who also makes a killer peach cobbler. Buy it here!