6 Books for Your Christmas Wish List
Christmas decorations are already up in some stores, which means that it’s about time you started giving thought to what you want for Christmas, as well as what you’re going to give. It’s still way too early to laminate the list (it’s a Friends thing) but you can definitely start considering all the options out there. We look at six books that you might want to pencil in.
1) Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
It’s the much-anticipated sequel to The Shining. King always said he wondered what happened to Danny, and now we all get to find out. As you would imagine, he came out of the hotel with some lingering issues and is basically a functional alcoholic trying to forget the past while working in care home, helping old folks pass peacefully to the other side. But some nasty pieces of work are after kids with a touch of the ‘shine’ and Dan is pulled into a battle with super dark forces.
(Bonus: King actually has two new books out, although Joyland seems to be slipping beneath most people’s radar. It’s a crime/mystery/ghost story that one reviewer referred to as a “smart, sweet, spooky gem”. If you’ve read The Colorado Kid, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, then all you need to know is that King does crime just as well as he does horror and that this is a worthy addition to you Christmas list.)
2) Bonkers: My Life in Laughs – Jennifer Saunders
Did you know that Jennifer Saunders once shot Lulu, or that she’s an award-winning horse jumper? You know her best as Edina from Absolutely Fabulous, but there’s a lot more to her than that. This is more than just another celeb memoir; this is a masterpiece in non-fiction storytelling. Saunders has a knack for putting the funny in everything. As the write-up on Amazon says, the book is filled with “laughter, friends and occasional heartache – but never misery”.
3) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened – Allie Brosh
Perhaps you’ve encountered Hyperbole and a Half on your travels through the net. If you haven’t, get over there and enrich your life right now. It’s random, it’s funny, it’s honest, and the artwork is astounding. The book features some old favourites, as well as some wonderful new material. If you like The Oatmeal or any kind of dry wit and satire at all, then you should enjoy this.
4) Sycamore Row – John Grisham
Remember Jake Brigance from A Time to Kill? Well, he’s back in Sycamore Row where he once again has to confront the racism that continues to plague the US south. It’s been called his most assured and thrilling novel yet, but you’ll have to judge that for yourself.
5) The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
If you like your fiction hauntingly beautiful, then you’ll like Donna Tartt. You’ll be especially taken with The Goldfinch. It follows 13-year-old Theo Decker as he tries to come to terms with his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment by burying himself in the underworld of art. It’s vivid, mesmerizing and one of those books that really is can’t-put-downable.
6) An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything – Chris Hadfield
It’s a self-improvement book from a slightly different perspective. Hadfield has spent nearly 4000 hours in space, doing things like using a Swiss army knife to break into the Space Station, and clinging to the outside of a spacecraft while temporarily blind. His story is awesome – literally. It’s also insightful in ways that make other self-improvement books look like Sweet Valley High.
Quick: 4 bonus books
1) I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai
The inspirational story of the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize will you give you new perspective on and appreciation for your life. You’ll also be filled with admiration and should, hopefully, be inspired to find your inner strength.
2) The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew – Cracked.com
Cracked is another iconic website that views the world from slightly left of centre. If you’re easily offended then it’s probably not for you. But if you value the truth – the real truth – and like it told in a brutally honest, yet witty way, then this should appeal to you.
3) One Summer: America, 1927 – Bill Bryson
Few people can tell a story like Bill Bryson, and few people can make history as fun as Bill Bryson, so you know that you’re in for a treat as he explores the summer of 1927 in the US. Why 1927? Well, it was the summer of Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, natural disasters, Al Capone, Al Jolson, and sneaky meetings that led to the Great Depression.
4) Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett
Moist von Lipwig returns as the steam engine – the Discworld equivalent, at any rate – makes an appearance in Ankh-Morpork. Vetinari is not happy and Moist has to find out why. It’s classic Pratchett and no more need be said.
Written by Sandy Cosser
Image credit: Microsoft Images, Royalty Free