This months mailbag question was asking readers what books they were buying as gifts or had bought as gifts recently. A nice question with Christmas coming up. Personally I’ve been buying people Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. A nice standalone thriller.

Here is the feedback and subscribe to the newsletter over at the right there:

Lajeanne: AS to books I have recently given as gifts: I tend to give a lot of books….most of my family has kindle, and its so easy to send a “gift” Kindle book……
Recently I sent two non fiction books to people:
Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall
and the excellent:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

As for non fiction, my young adult son sent his dad Richard Price’s “The Whites” for his birthday…..and sent me his “Lush Life”……he’s a big Price fan.

My husband bought HIMSELF for his birthday: Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country
Since we are both Floridians, and last night he sat there chuckling and laughing over it, so I’ll have to read that next.

I like Historical fiction, especially when factually based, (which means I DID NOT LIKE any of the Ken Follett books set in the Middle Ages!) Have to recommend Ann Swinfen’s books, especially “The Bookseller, first in a new series set in the 1400’s, and her series about a Marrano girl, who must live her life disguised as a boy, The Christoval Alvarez series, first book is:
The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez Book 1)

My husband sent copies of this book to almost everyone we know who reads:

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It
Goodman, Marc
which is about the ability of not just agencies like the NSA to “see” what we’re doing/ buying etc, but also corporations…….

Lajeanne then sent in this note:

I need to correct something in reference to the Ann Swinfen series about Christoval Alvarez……it is set in the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Her other series, with two books in it so far, The Bookseller and The Novice’s Tale, is set in mid-1300’s, right after the first devastation of the “The Great Death” or the Black Plague as its also known….entire villages have been wiped out, entire families, and in other cases parts of families have died, and others have survived….everyone is struggling to get back to normal, but living in fear of another round of the plague for which there is no preventative or cure.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Also must recommend “Surrender, New York” by Caleb Carr…….
——————————————————————————————————————-
And the short series by J. J. Salkeld which starts with :
An Invasive Species (A Natural Detective Book 1)

as well as his prior series, (both are police procedurals but with a lot more to them than the “usual” types….) which starts with:

Separated at Death (The Lakeland Murders Book 1) by J.J.Salkeld, both series set in rural England.

Carole: As my Mom gets older (she turned 90 this year) she finds it harder to read so I thought I would introduce her to audio books this Christmas with some of her favorite Agatha Christies on audio. She has resisted audios so far because it just isn’t the same as holding a book in your hands, but there are a lot of great books on CD and this would enable her to continue her lifelong love affair with books even when her eyesight won’t allow her to read anymore.

Elizabeth: I like to give my a children book for Christmas. After the celebrations are over, they will each curl up with their book. Their interests have changed through the years. I sometimes ask what they would like. My brother usually likes books for gifts. Nonfiction is his favorite now.

Evelyn: I love getting a reader started on Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache
series. Her prose is like poetry and her understanding of the human condition runs deep and true. Each of her books somehow explains deep philosophical questions while entertaining the reader to the max!

Janet: Book for mom recommendation:

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

First of a series that leads to begging for more!

Sandra: For Christmas I will be giving my sister, the “naturist” The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wholleben, my other sister will be given a Karin Fossum book, since I introduced her to this author she has, like you with Myron Bolitar series (Winn is my favorite character ever!) been devouring her books! I plan on giving my husband the new Vince Flynn book and , I will give myself the Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty or Mr M by Herman Koch or both!! That is of course if we can all wait that long!!

I look forward to your newsletter each month, especially the book recommendation for introducing us to good authors and the new book lists!!!

Phoenix: This year I am planning to give Sarah ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” to my next-door neighbor. Every morning I open to the day’s offering and am always blessed by what I read there. Some of the readings no longer apply to me, since I’m no longer in the working world, but many will apply to her. But you don’t have to be working to appreciate the author’s musings on self-confidence, depression, money, child care, gardening, and self-care, amongst others. I may also throw in “Ben Franklin’s Almanac of Wit, Wisdom, and Practical Advice – Useful Tips and Fascinating Facts for Every Day of the Year.” Each day’s reading brings all of the above: wit, wisdom, and practical advice.” These two books get my day started with a smile, and usually with something to think about throughout the day.

Margot: Art of War for my 43 year old son, working in the pits in New York City. This author has provided us with, not only strategic during wartime, but solutions to wend our way through everyday life.

Lastly, as a reader of every book from Mo Hayder, each one is more terrifying, magnetizing and guaranteed to keep the reader mentally alert for bad guys/bad gals.

Lastly, lastly, I came across a new author from Romania – Zygmunt Miloszewski who writes of the Polish Prosecutor Teodor Szacki. He writes with profund intelligence.

Thank you for reading the ravings of a book addict. And a sincere, big hello to Grahame for issuing this terrific newsletter that ties me to the outside world.

Lynn: hi! if anyone has not read A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote(like I had not before last year) – this is the book I am planning to give to several friends this Christmas – it is a true gem – the beautiful prose literally made me cry! Give it a look!

Karen: I have given my niece several of Ree Drummond’s (Pioneer Woman) cookbooks and all of the Harry Potter Books.

I usually give my mom a Kristin Hannah book for Christmas along with an Amazon Gift Card to download books of her choice for her Kindle.

Joanne: As far as a gift book for Christmas I will be giving Thunder Dog. I know its not a recent publication and in fact not the type of book I would normally read. In our small community we have a monthly bookclub but I don’t always take the books. I am particular about the subject material and I really don’t like a lot of description, preferring dialogue.

One Saturday morning I discovered I had nothing to read, not a book that I had selected laying around or nothing new on my Ipad. The only thing available was Thunder Dog, the bookclub selection.

So I picked it up, and as all avid readers will confess, I was delighted with it and didn’t put it down until I finished it that evening. Not one word of dialogue. I would recommend this non-fiction book to all!!!

Jane: This year, I am giving the second Illustrated edition of Harry Potter. I am giving one to my adult son and one to my 9 year old grandson. Books are personal so I don’t usually give books to my adult friends. I may also give my grandson The Chronicles of Narnia.

I am currently reading a book that I unexpectedly really like: Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless. I am strongly anti war so I did not think I would enjoy this book, but I have found a different perspective on the damage done by war. Have not finished this yet.

Jane L: Press Here by Herve Tullet. This children’s book was recommended by a child psychologist for whom my sister-in-law used to work. While we were visiting, sister-in-law suggested I read Press Here by Herve Tullet to my almost 3.5 year old great niece. I read it through by myself first and thought, “Whats the big deal? Oh, well. I’ll read it to her anyway and see if she likes it.”.

She went bonkers! Exclamations of “WHAT?! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?” Squeals and throwing hands in the air, etc., continued throughout the book. It was so much fun! Our 20 month old granddaughter is too young for the book, but in a few months we will try it again.

Just reading this alone as an adult is not a good way to appreciate its power. Find a 3-4 year old to read it with (a little drama queen, if possible) and you won’t regret it!

Brian: Let me say I don’t gift books, but give Amazon gift cards however if I did
History Killing the Rising Sun. Ralph Peters civil war series
Mystery Sheldon Siegel series, Walt Longmire Series, Inspector Gamache Series
Mike Darcy books, Janet Evonovich
Cookbook Alton Brown Everyday Cook, Bread Bible Rose Levy Barenbaum
Adventure Jack Reacher …. I could go on just so many good books out there

Janet: My Mom loves to read. I can go to B&N and pick ANYTHING out of the mystery section and she will love it. I got her to try my Nook once and after 15 minutes she gave it back saying she hated it. Her birthday is 10/6 so I will heading to the store knowing it won’t take but 10 minutes to pick a couple new books, same goes for Christmas.

Lynne W.: I got The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff for a birthday gift – it’s terrific!

Joyce” My son loves the. Live Cussler series so I give then as gifts for birthday, Christmas and just because.
I am up,to,speed with the Vince Flynn books except for the new release. Really,get,engrossed in them.

April: My sister always has a Linda Lael Miller novel or two on her gift list. My mom has dementia and can no longer read novels, my son and daughter in law are full time students with two kids, so have no time to read. My dad and I share a nook account, so he just picks from my lists. So I guess all my holiday shopping for books will be for ME!

Jeri: Funny that you should start this months newsletter recommending the Myron Bolitar series. His newest book, Home, was one that I just received as a gift. Just started reading it this morning and am enjoying it right from the beginning. It usually takes a few chapters before a book takes hold but this one grabs you right from the first page.

Tarana: Books to “gift” –
Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History – Robert Edsel and Bret Witter

The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-Boats –
William Geroux

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics -Daniel James Brown (Is there really anyone who has not read this one????)

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II – Mary Guptill Manning

The above books bring “unknown” history alive (unknown at least to my reader friends and me!) – and make me so glad that I now “know” –

Fiction:
Still Life – Louise Penny – first in a mystery/murder series with no blood, guts, and gore – only interesting/developing characters and wonderful writing – and the most amazing thing is that each book (just got #11) is just as good as the others – Louise Penny does not “fizzle out” –

Steve: Watership down. My son hasn’t read it and he needs to


Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Books You Bought/Are Buying As Gifts
  • shirley mcintosh

    I am an avid reader of the P. J. Tracy novels, have just finished the latest – I think it is called “The Sixth Idea”, not sure, because my sister is reading it. We are both re-reading the entire series, for about the millionth time, interesting, amusing characters. But this latest is a bit of a let down, reads as though they were under pressure to finish it. Where will they go next?