Books have been an important part of my life since I was a child. Every Christmas morning I knew I’d find a book under the tree and in those long days when the Minnesota snow was blowing, dark came on at 4 pm, and school was out, I knew I could cuddle up in front of the heating vent and read until the book was finished. Some of my fondest book memories were the Betsy, Tacy, Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace, a fictional series set in the town next door to mine. For any child (or adult) who loves history, or is looking for the next Anne of Green Gables, I can’t recommend this enough. I feel a great love for Betsy and her best friends.
I’ll also never forget the first book my dad picked out for me. I still have it. The Bloodroot Flower by Kathy Calloway is another book set in Minnesota and, sadly, no longer in print. I remember loving this story, but I also remember knowing that my dad had shopped for this himself, when usually it was my mom or my aunt who bought my books, made it extra special.
Tatterhood was another long-ago Christmas gift that I still own. It was given to me by my mom’s friend and sat by my bedside for years. I read and reread the stories in this book. They brought me comfort and joy. In today’s #metoo movement and in the year of the Women’s March I feel this book has a renewed power. It’s one I would love every girl to own.
This year I’ve focused my book buying mostly on the kids in my life and I fear I’m not gifting as many as in year’s past. Although, there’s still time to change that.
The Pain and The Great One by Judy Blume. I couldn’t resist this and bought the entire box set. I love when I can share my favorite books and authors with young readers and books that make kids laugh will surely turn them into readers for life.
I am having an extremely difficult time finding books for middle school boys. As kids get older it seems “boy books” become harder and harder to find, especially for those kids who don’t love fantasy (this is hint BookEnds Team). So when it comes to boy books I always turn to James for advice. This year I got Ghost by Jason Reynolds which looks wonderful for so many reasons and, on my own, I grabbed a copy of Gone by Michael Grant. Gone is definitely more fantasy (dystopian to be exact), but it looks exciting enough to appeal to a contemporary fiction reader.
When I first met Junie B. Jones I wasn’t a fan. She’s a smart-mouth version of Ramona Quimby. A little too much of a smart-mouth for my tastes. But the more I’ve read the more I’ve warmed to her. Okay, let’s be honest, I laugh right out loud while reading these books. For that reason, I made my own box set and got three Junie B. Jones books for one of the youngest readers on my list. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!, Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten, and Aloha-ha-ha!
And in the non-kids gift section, I’m going to bring it up again. I bought The Little Book of Hygge. I know. I’m obsessed. I think it’s pretty clear this is my book of 2017. The great irony? I don’t even own it! I have however checked it out from the library multiple times. I love this little book. It’s everything I am and everything I want to be and there’s something about the layout and design itself that is Hygge. I haven’t said this yet, but I do think the designers of this book should get credit. Why isn’t there a book award for book design?
As you can see, there are very few book gifts for the adults on my list although, in fairness, there aren’t many adults left on my list. And if I might pat myself on the back a little, I did use all of my strength to avoid buying anything for myself although the new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and any fiction I can lose myself in were all calling my name. Although, I’ll be honest, what I’ve really been craving are some classics. It must be the cold weather. I’ve been dying to curl up with Little Women, Pride and Prejudice or The House of Mirth. Some of my favorites.
Whatever books you gift or are gifted this year (even if it’s too yourself), take the time and enjoy and have a wonderful holiday.