It is no secret that I read a lot of books. Also, I give a lot of books to friends and family. It is the way I show how much I care. The connection with a book is a deep and spiritual experience for me that I try to share with others. I am quite particular about the books I give people because I want them to understand that I listen to them and connect to their essence. Sounds a bit hokey? Perhaps, but I am teaching my daughter it is important to read and give books that are meaningful. It is a rule in our house to always bring a book as a present to a birthday party!
So, it should come as no surprise that books will occupy a great deal of physical and virtual space under the tree. Over the past month, I have sifted through my Book DNA map, must-read lists and other resources to select the following books to give and to get. Please enjoy:
- Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose – This was a holiday gift from husband last year. I am rereading the classics with new eyes!
- Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – This book is comprised of two novellas with such elegant prose that leave you reflecting about how you act and caused a ripple effect in time and space.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Ack, Cinderella as a cyborg! I devoured this novel just this month because of a Books on the Nightstand recommendation. What a brilliant blend of scifi and YA fiction.
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Another gift this year from my husband. This YA tale weaves a tale of a female warrior.
- Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset – Earlier this year, I asked my husband to come home with a book from his business trip in Oslo and this is what he brought home. Beautiful book that I found comforting and familiar like the story of Anna Karenina.
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – I cannot say enough good things about this book. You will either love it or hate it, but either way, I encourage you to dig past the surface level story and read between the lines.
- The Art of Racing In The Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein – It is impossible to determine if this is my favorite book of the year or the above title. Do not read in public. You will cry. And if you are like me, keep a highlighter handy.
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – I was not the only person inspired by her TED talk, so it is no surprise that her latest book is a treasure to be read repeatedly.
- Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People – Twelve authors write short stories inspired by portraits of unknown people in the National Portait Gallery in London. I found this pocket-sized book in the local book store and was transported through time.
- Learning from the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease by Rafe Sagarin – If you saw me speak about community management this year, you will know this book was my guide and has me practicing my craft using the lessons from nature.
- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card – Don’t stop after you read Ender’s Game in preparation for the upcoming movie. The second book is the best in the series.
- The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis – I read this book in January and have yet to able to shake the underlying question of how our culture is evolving and squeezing out what is not mainstream.
- The Culture of Fear by Barry Glasner – An older book, but incredibly relevant.
- History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor – A past Book DNA vlog topic.
- Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present by Eric R. Kandel – This book is a Brain Pickings recommendation, but what sold me was listening to him speak at Boston Book Festival 2012.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – This is a writing book that is really a book on life lessons.
- Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real-World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness by C.C. Chapman – The book to continue your journey after Anne Lamott…
- Grimm Tales: For Young and Old by Phillip Pullman – Check out the UK book jacket-Gorgeous!
- The Twits by Roald Dahl – My favorite book to give to people to introduce them to this amazing author.
- E –mergency by Tom Lichtenheld and Erza Fields-Meyer – This book was a hit last year for the kids who received.
- Press Here by Herve Tullet – I bought this earlier this year for four-year-old twins and they had me read the book at least five times in a row, but my nine-year-old still adores this book too!
- Big Questions for Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds by Gemma Elwin Harris – A Brain Pickings recommendation that does not disappoint.
- Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini – A favorite of both daughters! I think I may have more fun reading this book aloud than the girls have listening to me read.
- The Giving Tree 40th Anniversary Edition Book with CD by Shel Silverstein – A classic for any age to enjoy about a story of true love.
For additional recommendations, some of our favorite books are on the Brain Pickings: The Best of Children’s Books of 2010.
Dear Santa, if you are reading this please consider the following books to stuff my stocking:
- Inviting the Wolf In by Loren Niemi and Elizabeth Ellis – A recommendation (by a real storyteller) for writing/talking about tough issues.
- Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy By William Irwin and Richard Brian Davis
- Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mandel – Historical fiction is my guilty pleasure!
- A History of Reading by Steven Roger Fischer
- Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel – (Graphic Novel)
This year, we are breaking down and getting the kidlette a Nook. The following e-books will be loaded for her pleasure on Christmas morning:
- The Last Dragon Slayer by Jasper Fforde
- Who could that Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney – Getting her Book 7.
- Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
- The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente and Ana Juan
Next week, the vlog is back with another five selections from the updated Book DNA map (link to map). I am never without a book and have a must-read list a mile long. For additional recommendations, visit the Brain Pickings Bookshelf, check out the Books on the Nightstand Holiday Give/Receive List (yes, there is overlap with this list) and listen to the Books on the Nightstand podcast. Your brain will never go hungry.