Well, we’re super late with this post, but for those of you who are still shopping (and yes, count us in), we decided to list 10 books we dearly love and frequently give to friends and family. So, if you’re still looking for ideas, you’re welcome. And happy holidays, everyone!!!!
These are all books I’ve given, some over and over again, in no particular order.
- Fair and Tender Ladies (Lee Smith) – You won’t forget Ivy Rowe and her story, written entirely in letter form. ‘
- The Christmas Letters (Lee Smith) -Another Lee Smith book of letters, this one just perfect for the holidays.
- The Accidental Tourist (Anne Tyler) – If I had to pick a favorite book (please don’t make me), this one, this one.
- On Writing (Stephen King) – Best down-to-earth advice on the craft I’ve read.
- State of Wonder (Ann Patchett) – Oh, what a ride. Scientist heads to the Amazon to find a researcher and uncovers a mystery of sorts. But, yeah, SO much more.
- Single, Carefree, Mellow (Katherine Heiny) – This little gem of a short story collection about dating and love and friendship is spot-on funny, sad and smart.
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris) – Love so many of David Sedaris’s books, but this is the one I’ve given out the most.
- Turtle Moon (Alice Hoffman) – My first experience with Alice Hoffman, and the one I still think about all the time. Love her!
- The Humans (Matt Haig) – Read this with my book group and I’ve given it to my son and others to enjoy. Wish they’d make a movie of this curious alien who comes to earth and just can’t figure out the human race.
- Where I’m Calling From (Raymond Carver) – My go-to, rarely leave home without it, collection of stories by the master! If you’ve never read “Fat” or “A Small, Good Thing,” you’re truly missing out.
So, I took a different route. I decided to focus on children’s books that I loved when I was in elementary school. I’ve given some as gifts, and encouraged other parents to check them out. These books are all for, I’d say, fourth grade and up. As you can see, I was a child obsessed with animals. Now, I’m an adult obsessed with animals.
- Hurry Home Candy, by Meindert DeJong – Probably my all-time favorite. A sweet little dog lost in a world of cruel people!!! This is an outstanding children’s story, sophisticated, compassionate, evocative. I bought a new copy and I’m reading it with my son.
- Julie of the Wolves, Meindert DeJong – Anything with wolves, I was in.
- The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlins – I read this Pulitzer-Prize winning novel too young, but it made a major impression on me, with the beautifully detailed relationship between the boy and his fawn, and the descriptions of the natural world. Plus [SPOLER!] the deer dies at the end, which killed me.
- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington – Okay, this is a weird pick. I discoveredit on a bookshelf in my parents’ house and read it alone at night in bed. I don’t know why I was drawn to it. I think I think it was the vivid descriptions and well- drawn characters. The larger themes of this novel sailed well above my head!
- Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong – Yep, Meindert was my go-to guy. Loved his books.
- The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong – Even read a book about people, just because Meindert wrote it. The illustrations by Maurice Sendak helped, too. What a team, they were.
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry – Who wouldn’t want to tame a wild pony and get her foal as a bonus?
- Big Red, by Jim Kjelgaard – A dog in trouble? I’m there.
- Snow Dog, Jim Kjelgaard – I’ve always had a soft spot for Huskies. Must be the wolf-thing.
- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – A horse who suffers nobly and needs saving! Like crack to my kiddie brain.