I think we can all agree – books make great gifts and great gifts make great stocking stuffers! There is so much more to a book than the actual book. A book says an adventure awaits; cozy is just around the corner; make time for yourself; etc, etc, etc. Really, if you are fortunate enough to have some time off during the holidays, the anticipation of curling up with a good book and getting your winter time cozy on is such a treat! Here are a few suggestions for books we would love to find in our stocking this year!
1) Writers on Knitting – Ann Hood: Just looking at this book makes me want to both open it up and get started reading, and it makes we want to touch all the yarn in my craft room – and then get started on a project! Think about how much writing has in common with knitting. Writers and knitters are both weavers, one of stories and one of projects. Also, there has to be a reason why good stories are often referred to as good ‘yarns.’ I found this as way of explanation : The difference between story and yarn is that whereas story is the conventional word for a fictional account, yarn often has the idea of a story told by a colourful character and it has a lot to do with the storyteller’s personality. When you hear the word “yarn,” you imagine a group of people gathering round to hear a story from someone who has had interesting experiences over a long time. and Merriam Webster defines a yarn as an interesting or exciting story.
I had not heard of this book before El tossed it my way, but I can’t wait to settle in and get my ‘yarnin’ on!
2) 642 Thing to Write About – San Francisco Writer’s Grotto and Po Bronson: Now that I’ve got my yarn ‘yarnin’ on, I could use a little nudge to get my word ‘yarnin’ on. Just like a ball of yarn can get me going on a project, a clever prompt can get me going on a story or blurb or post. I would imagine not all the ideas are going to generate fantastic tales, but what a great way to exercise our writing muscles. For the ‘writer’ in your life (we all know of at least one), stuff their minds with ideas for writing in the new year.
3) All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr: This one I have actually read and absolutely LOVED. I had recently returned from an unexpected and perfectly wonderful-in-every- way trip from Paris, so it was even more fun to read about the neighborhoods in which the story took place because I could think of them as they are now. But I digress. The story is told from two different vantage points – a blind girl in Paris and a young boy in Germany during World War II. Their stories briefly intersect and tell such amazing tales of hardship, loss, love, courage, and integrity that I was quite sad to end the book and thus my interface with their lives. Isn’t that always the way with a good book? This book won the Pulitzer Prize for 2015. It is just stuffed with wonderful imagery!
4) A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole : This title came to me by way of an NPR (National Public Radio) episode. I didn’t hear the title of the book, but came in as they were explaining it was initially being considered for publication by some ‘house’ in NY but it fell through and the author at some point committed suicide. His mother then took up the crusade of getting this book published which it eventually was – six years after Mr. Toole’s death. AND then it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1981! What a testament of a mother’s love!!! The NPR episode was actually about a cookbook that was published based on some of the food the characters stuff themselves with during the course of the story. I’m curious enough now to want to pick up this book at my local library (although Barnes and Noble is selling the hard copy for $1.99). Here’s the Barnes and Noble overview: Set in New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces outswifts Swift, one of whose essays gives the book its title. As its characters burst into life, they leave the region and literature forever changed by their presences – Ignatius and his mother; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, wan Patrolman Mancuso; Darlene, the Bourbon Street stripper with a penchant for poultry; Jones, the jivecat in space-age dark glasses. Satire and farce animate A Confederacy of Dunces; tragic awareness ennobles it.
5) H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald: This is definitely not a M is for Murder style book. A New York Times review describes it as: Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator. That overview seems perfectly stuffed with intrigue! It came up on several top book pics for 2015.
I would love to have any of these books tucked away in my stocking to delight me on Christmas morning! I get excited about almost any book – couple that with the thrill of a new book (when I may actually have some free time to devote to the indulgence a good yarn brings) and I can’t believe my good fortune!
Here’s wishing you find all the stuff a great read can deliver!