Dear Santa . . .

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Dec 18 2007

Every Thanksgiving my mom takes advantage of the family being all in one place and forces us to write our Christmas lists. This year — like every year — a few books made it onto my list . . . even though I should really be asking for a bookcase to store all of the piles of books I already own! I’m eager to get to the stacks I already have, but who can resist adding a few more? So I got to wondering what books are on your wish list this year. How did you hear about them? Recommendation? Review? Just the latest from your favorite author?

Here’s what’s on the BookEnds lists this year:


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield — This book has been calling to me ever since I first saw it hit the stores. The cover screams “Booklovers! Over here!” and the copy makes it sound like my idea of the perfect book. I’m kind of shocked that I don’t already own it. I think I always succumb to the guilt of those huge unread piles sitting back at home. But this is definitely at the very top of my wish list.

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo — I loved Empire Falls. While I never got around to going back and reading his previous works, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Bridge of Sighs. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell — I have to admit that I added this to the list on a whim. I saw it recently in stores and decided to research it as a possible future pick for my book club. The starred Publishers Weekly review sealed it for me. (I bank heavily on those PW reviews!) And it’s a book all about family secrets. What’s better than that?

Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush and Mia Baxter — This is my book club’s next selection. I kind of like that we’re mixing things up with a young adult book, and the story intrigues me. Should make for a great discussion.


Putting together my list for Santa was always so much easier when I had the JC Penney toy catalog in front of me. I could pore over it for days and come up with quite an impressive list. And normally I have the same feelings about coming up with books I want for Christmas, but this year I’m truly stumped. I’m a cookbook fiend so it’s baffling that I can’t even come up with one cookbook I need. As for fiction, one would think I’m always ready to add to my list, but the growing stack of books I already own and haven’t yet read is too intimidating for me to ask for more. So my version of the Christmas list is that I’m going to ask for time to read the books I already have. I’d really like to get to The Kite Runner, as well as one of the three J. R. Ward titles that have been sitting here. Of course I’m dying to catch up on some of my own clients’ books and Karin Slaughter’s latest is also in my pile. And since it’s winter I’d like something heartwarming, women’s fiction that makes me cry a little and feel good about life in the end. It should also have a bit of a romance, I suppose. Elizabeth Berg is usually good for that, but I’m open to suggestions since I’m just not sure what that book is.


I recommend The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which was my favorite nonclient book of the year. Cormac McCarthy is an amazing, provocative writer and The Road stayed with me long after I put it down. I also recommend I Am American and So Can You! by Stephen Colbert. I listened to the audio book and laughed myself silly. He’s so clever, Nation.

On my list to read (after I read all my clients’ books, of course):

The Birds in My Life by The Supreme Master Ching Hai
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
The Carb Conscious Vegetarian by Robin Robertson

Now it’s your turn! What books are on your list and why?

22 responses to “Dear Santa . . .”

  1. I just bought War and Peace for myself for Christmas


    I enjoyed reading Anna Karenina a few years back, I figure any book with jacket blurbs that claim its the world’s greatest novel must be worth a go, and I need something to keep me away from my first rewrite of my recently completed first draft – I need to let it sit untouched for a while so as to have some perspective when I revisit it.

    I must admit that I also simply want the check in the box, to be able to say, “Yes, I’ve read War and Peace.”

  2. Oh, Jessica, those days after the JC Penney catalog’s arrival were just amazing! I have three siblings, and I don’t think we left a single page unmarked between us.

    My wish list this year is extremely practical. So practical, in fact, that I entered it in a “win a book if your wish is the most practical” contest, and was one of the winners. (For this I won an autographed copy of Heather Webber’s Trouble in Bloom–YAY!!) What is so practical, you may ask? A wireless credit card machine so I can stop using the the aptly named “knucklebuster” I take to trade shows.

    Bookwise, what’s on my wish list? Well, I have to say, this looks fab: Criminal Investigation, with Student Simulation CD

    Hmmm…as I look over my Amazon wish list, I see there’s rather a lot of murder and mayhem on there. This always leads to Amazon recommending SUCH interesting things. My personal favorite recommendation was The Black Book of Improvised Munitions published by our very own government. I kid you not. Guys, if you don’t want people to blow each other up, stop publishing books that tell them how to do it. (Naturally, I ordered it. My brother is fairly sure that one day the Feds will show up at my door with a list of books I’ve bough and want to know what I’ve been up to.)

  3. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Kite Runner: Overrated in a big way. Solid novella idea with a couple hundred pages of filler in the middle. My gift to you: skip it.

  4. Avatar tezmilleroz says:

    Jessica – I love Karin Slaughter’s books, and I met her this year when she came to Australia 🙂 Question: May your clients travel to Australia and claim it on their tax as a “work expense”? 😉

    Jacky – I’ve only been lucky enough to get my hands on one Tom Perrotta novel, and that was Little Children. Just fantastic, and genuinely scary at times.

    As for my reading wishlist…it’s mega-big. Go to and scroll down the page (and look to the right). Good thing I’m organised and obsessive with my lists 😉

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  5. Avatar nancynaigle says:

    Thanks for sharing … I remember those catalog days, ours was the Sears Toy Catalog but I know exactly what you mean. I laughed like crazy over the bookshelves vs books. I got that very lecture last week from my mother. My hubby and I went to Vegas for the National Rodeo (I love cowboys and it always inspires a new hero for my next story!) and Mom stayed with the boys (okay, they are dogs but they are my boys). She took it upon herself to dust and straighten and when I came back all my books were in alpha order by author and there were three stacks that still need a shelf.

    I guess I know what I’m getting from her for Christmas —- now where to put the other 10 I just ordered from Barnes and Noble heheheh.

    We’re book junkies and there is no cure!

    Happy holidays, ladies.

  6. Jessica,

    Have you read Elizabeth Berg’s THE HANDMAID AND THE CARPENTER ? Published in 2006, it’s a beautiful rendition of the classic Christmas story told from both Mary’s and Joseph’s point of view.

    Pure Elizabeth Berg.

    The ultimate Christmas romance.

    What more could you wish for?

    Merry Christmas!


  7. Avatar Jess says:

    Ohh! I read Thirteenth Tale in January right after it came out – borrowed it from BN – and now that it’s out in pb I finally got my own copy. LOVED it. So good. *sigh*

    The next book I plan on buying isn’t out until after the holiday – Evermore by Lynn Viehl comes out January 2. It’s the fifth book in her Darkyn series and I loved the other four. I received a copy of the galley from Lynn, so I’ve already read it, but the completionist in me needs the actual book, and of course I want to support the author.

    Also need to get the 3rd and 4th Temeraire books by Naomi Novik, Black Powder War and Empire of Ivory.

  8. I had The Almost Moon in my hot little hands at Borders the other day, but decided I couldn’t afford it until after Christmas. What made me pick it up was an interview I heard with Alice Sebold (pbs podcast) that floored me — she is SO INTELLIGENT!! I mean, how do people get that gentle and smart and…whole, you know? Now I’ll have to try The Lovely Bones again. Having a 10 year old daughter I had a little trouble with it last time I started it, but since I heard that interview, she seems to be worth the trouble.

    Have a great holiday, BookEnds!!


  9. Hmmm….

    My Christmas “book” wish list? Well, I’m such a compulsive book buyer/addict, (Is there a self-help group for that problem?) that my list isn’t one that I want to buy, but that I already have and want to read/finish. However, there are books that I’m waiting to be released so I can buy them.

    1)The Salt Maiden by Colleen Thompson. (I’m reading this now and it’s soo good!)
    2)The Accidental Demon Slayer, Dorchester, August 2008, by Angie Fox (Someone I know judged it in a contest and I can’t wait to read it.)
    3)Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, (Dorchester/Feb. 2008) By Jennifer Gardiner. (I’ve heard some great things about this one.)
    4) gods In Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson. (I picked this book up a couple of months ago because it was recommended to me and can’t wait to start it. So more reading time is on my wish list!)
    5)Writing For Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias. I’m a how-to book junkie and I love this book. I’ve almost read it from beginning to end. I actually lost it while on a trip and have since ordered my second copy.

    Have a Merry Christmas every one. And here’s to us all getting lots of contracts.


  10. I’ve first picked up “The Thirteenth Tale” simply because of the gorgeous cover! It drew me across the bookstore. I’m still waiting for it to move higher up on my TBR pile, but itls finally only a few books away. Can’t wait!


  11. Ladie of
    BookEnds! “Kite,” “Thirteenth” and “Road” have all made my list as the worst, most over-rated, over-hyped books of the year. I’ll be doing a blog about them next week as past of my year end round- up.

  12. Avatar Diana says:

    After spending all day working with library patrons, what I really want is light and fun reading. Two of the books I’m most excited about are coming out just after Christmas:

    Julie Garwood’s newest, Shadow Music, is her return to medieval Scotland after writing several contemporary romantic suspense novels.

    Janet Evanovich’s Plum Lucky, one of her in-between-the-numbers Stephanie Plum novels.

  13. Avatar Collette says:

    I have to admit that I don’t have a book wish list–I usually just buy it as soon as I want it. What can I say? I’m an immediate gratification girl.

    But Jessica, if you like ice cream at all (and I’m not even wild about it), you should check out the Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Oh man, it’s turned into an obsession for me. And I’m happy to spread the craziness!

  14. Started “Kite” last year. Got depressing, set it down. But it’s in my “to read” pile again. Just bought “Act of Treason” by Vince Flynn. Everyone says I “have” to read him. Got 50 pages in, tossed it into the recycle bin. What’s wrong with me? Read “Wicked Lovely” a couple of months ago. Loved it. Maybe I should stick with fantasy until I get out of my reading slump. Thanks for the recommendations, everyone.

  15. Jessica – if you don’t have it may I suggest Nigella Express for a new cookbook for you. I recently got this and have, so far, loved everything we have made from it and so have the kids.

    Books in my TBR pile that I’d like to read first(at this point not needing to buy any more until I get this pile lowered even slightly):

    Visions of Sugar Plums – Janet Evanovich

    Blood Brothers – Nora Roberts

    Midnight Awakening – Lara Adrian

    Luxe – Anna Godbersen

  16. Vicki Petterson’s Taste of Night, some Cherie Priest titles, and Kim Loudermilk’s Fictional Feminism: How American Bestsellers Affect the Movement for Women’s Equality. /geek

  17. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I’ve had a total mail program meltdown this morning and have lost ALL my saved mail and my entire address book and calendar. After reading today’s blog I’ve decided to ignore my computer entirely and go to the bookstore and indulge myself by buying every book I’ve been putting off. This has NOT been a good day, but reading something yummy by my favorite authors should help improve my mental state.

  18. Oh, Kate, no! How awful for you! You are definitely in need of something wonderful right now. I hope it helps.
    And maybe there’s a Christmas pixie somewhere who can restore what you;ve lost …

    The only book on my Christmas list is a knitting stitch dictionary. I know, can you say SuperGeek? 🙂 But like so many others who’ve posted, I either buy the books when I want/need them, or pay a visit to the library. Books are far too essential to put them off until Christmas!

  19. Avatar Angie Fox says:

    That’s what I do, Heather – give a book at least 50 pages. This is a great post, by the way, I’m making lots of notes on new authors.

    I love getting books as gifts and will sometimes ask for hardback first editions of books I’ve discovered and come to love. My mom thinks it’s nuts to have two copies, but luckily my husband is all too willing to embrace a new gift idea.

    Last Christmas, he gave me a first edition hardback of Maisie Dobbs that I treasure. It was so neat to have Jacqueline Winspear autograph it at the Malice Domestic mystery conference this past April. She was incredibly sweet and I’ll always treasure it.

    This year, I asked for:
    1) Another hardcopy of Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (my reading copy is well used and I’m dying to stalk the poor woman at this year’s Malice Domestic booksigning)
    2)Swimming Without a Net by MaryJanice Davidson
    3)Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters
    4)A Rose From the Dead/Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins
    5) Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll (An amazing book. The author continues the story of Pride & Prejudice. I read a library copy and have to have it for my personal library)
    6)Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley by Linda Berdoll
    7) Born Standing Up: A comic’s life by Steve Martin (If anyone is a Steve Martin fan, you should also try his novel The Pleasure of My Company. It’s not a ha, ha comedy, but is a very sweet story about breaking out of self-imposed boundaries.)

    And for myself, I pre-ordered Howling at the Moon: Tales of an Urban Werewolf by Karen MacInerney. Her Gray Whale Inn mysteries are excellent (an absolute must for cozy readers) and I can’t wait to dig into this new series.

  20. Avatar Nadine says:

    I LOVED the Thirteenth Tale! It was the first book in a while that I couldn’t put down! Enjoy!

  21. Avatar Travis Erwin says:

    The Abstinence Teacher is on my list as well.

    And i loved the Bridge of Sighs, but for my money The Risk Pool is Russo’s best work.

    And i too used to spend hours circling things in the JC Penney catalog.

  22. The perfect book to make you cry and little and close that last page feeling the world is a good place (with a little romance for good measure) would be Kristin Hannah’s Magic Hour. It’s just out on paperback recently.

    It’s an amazing novel that will make you smile and tug at your heartstrings.