43 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday: Books are Good Gifts

  1. We have started driving to mother-in-law’s house in Ohio for Christmas and I’m trying to throw in some Christmas books with other read alouds (I have an 8 year old and 5 year old). Of course we love “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, but there’s also “The Night Before The Night Before Christmas” by Natasha Wing, a book in rhyme (in the style of Twas the Night Before Christmas) in which the mom has the flu, everything goes wrong, and the little girl learns to embrace it and love the day anyways.

    I find it very silly and sweet. The dad in that story is also a sweetheart who takes care of the family, not a doofus. Nice to see humor isn’t at either parents’ expense.

    I’d like to work my way up to some other stories like “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by 5 year old gets very anxious about sad or embarrassing or scary things happening (or people being “mean”), so we have to take it slow with more complicated books.

    1. There’s a wonderful kid’s picture book by an Aussie writer called Jackie French titled “Diary of a Wombat.” Not directly Christmas-related, but it has to do with neighbors and new treats and the training of pets.

      I can’t recommend it highly enough.

      1. Came back to add — just learned there is a followup book about the same protagonist called “Christmas Wombat”!!!

        Very excited.

        1. There’s a flock (ok, 4 or 5) in the same series. On the one hand, they’re a bit same, on the other, I tend to read them in bookshops and get giggly in the aisle, so….

    2. You might like Fair’s Fair by Leon Garfield. It’s a picture book with a story. An orphan boy in Vixtorian London meets a big, black dog who ends up guiding him to a deserted mansion in time for Christmas. I don’t want to give the story away but will say that I liked it enough to pick up a copy for myself.

  2. That’s what I’m doing today, going to buy books for presents. Mostly for my dad, who pretty much gets what he wants for himself, so books are the way to go. And then I manage to find some more for other people, and maybe even for myself.

  3. I’m doing Rainbow again next year so no one better buy me any books. I still have like 30 to give away that aren’t eligible for next year. So that’s what everyone is getting.

  4. I’m giving LumberJanes, Moxie, and The Backstagers as gifts to my favorite teenagers.

    Also giving The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley to Work Husband, who likes thrillers.

      1. I treated myself to the entire Amanda Palmer Harley Quinn series on the iPad. HUGE Amanda Palmer fan here.
        I got the new Hellboy, too, just to see the graphics. The story is supposed to be darker–darker than the original Hellboy???–but the graphics got me.

  5. I’ve just realized that this is the first Christmas I can remember that I’m not giving any books as presents. Don’t know how that happened. I asked for Nigel Slater’s new book on Christmas, and from the shape of the parcel think I’ve got it. He’s a great writer on food, and his recipes are some of my favourites.

    I’m having a Christmas story marathon, which I kicked off with ‘Hot Toy’, turning on its head my usual practice of saving the best till last.

  6. Of course books! All three young adults are getting Alexandra Petri’s book and a Tufte book on graphic layout. There will be a couple of Mary Roach books under the tree, a couple of books about science for my physics major, a guide to Sicily, a book of essays… and I can’t even remember ones that have been wrapped for a while.

    There will also be socks. I’m particularly fond of the ones that say “fight like a girl” “this is what a feminist looks like” and “adult in training”.

      1. Sadly those socks don’t come in men’s sizes so I couldn’t give them to the young woman with large feet. Surely some men also are feminists who can fight like a girl….

  7. I headed out last night to get books for my nephews. A Mo Willems book for D, Frecklejuice by Judy Bloom for E and a Gordon Korman book (something about nicknames) for L.

    I hope they are all happy with the choices. I know D likes Mo Willems. L might not be pleased as he asked for the last Harry Potter book, but he will read that whether or not I buy it for him (currently reading Half-Blood Prince). This way he may discover another author.

  8. Also, for someone looking for something silly, romantic, and Christmas-y to listen to, I’m really enjoying the radio play “Deck the Halls (with Matrimony)” by Sasquatch Radio. It’s a story of a wedding planner who falls in love during the Christmas season while juggling crazy brides. It’s contemporary, but it has a fast talking screwball feel.

  9. I’m getting my daughter – 23 years old – the collector’s hardcovers of the Harry Potter series. She’s read them all – MANY TIMES – but now they will all match, and all be nice and pretty!

    Also, socks.

    1. I bought the second illustrated Harry Potter for my niece. I also bought a signed copy of Janet Evanovich’s newest book for my mom (Hardcore 24). I haven’t kept up with the Stephanie Plum series – after a while it seemed like nothing new (in terms of her development as a character) ever happened. I’ll read them if they’re around and I have time, but otherwise can’t be bothered to keep up with the series.

      My mom disagrees completely. Her love for Stephanie (and Joe – especially Joe Morelli) remains true. 🙂

  10. For my husband, the latest Bertie book by Alexander McCall Smith and a railroad book and railroad calendar. For my daughter, The new collection of Alice in Wonderland stories edited by Ellen Datlow and a book about Tortall by Tammy Pierce and her husband. For my daughter-in-law, The Handmaid’s Tale (she’s hooked on the TV show). Strangely, for the first time ever I haven’t bought a book for my son because he mostly listens to books and podcasts while running and walking to work. I’m going to see about getting him a subscription to Audible.

    Lots of kids’ books to my young great-nieces and great-nephew.

  11. I’m in the process of giving myself a facial while hubby has left the house. In the meantime yesterday I finished Kristan Higgins “Now That You Mention It” verges on summer reading versus Christmas reading (will read Hot Toy next). Anyway the story revolves around an ugly duckling turned swan 35 year old doctor working in a Boston hospital returning to her Maine island home to recuperate from an accident and also an earlier trauma in her life that year. Maine accents galore. Many references to Boston sights Boston Common, Back Bay, the “T” redline etc. Got to about 2/3rds in when at that point I was going to speed read the rest and a good thing I didn’t because Nora decided she was going to find a husband for her mother and had a disastrous ‘dinnah pahty’ and invited a regular cast of Maine characters to her houseboat. Ayuh!

  12. I read/listened to Trust Me On This and Cinderella Deal this week and enjoyed them both.

    I still have money on my Amazon gift card from last Christmas, so that’s good for books-of-future-reading and on Christmas Day the new Jodi Taylor St. Mary’s Christmas story will be delivered to my iPad.

  13. My Dad is getting Almighty, a nonfiction book by a Washington post reporter about the Catholic nuns who broke into the place where a nuclear bombs are stored to protest nuclear proliferation. He didn’t ask for it, but it’s got politics, history, Catholics, and good journalism, so it should be right up his ally.

  14. I snagged the new Laurie R. King story collection (on sale) this week, also an Agatha Christie, and KJ Charles’ “Spectred Isle.” Started reading the story collection last night.

    Book gifts: bought “The California Surf Project” photo book for my husband. And I have given to three books-and-reading-related projects on DonorsChoose.

  15. Someone on here recommended “The English Nobility in the Late Middle Ages : The Fourteenth-Century Political Community”, which I am reading this week and probably next week and the week after that. It is dense. It has lead me on several diversions [when one of the early Spencers who only received the title Earl in 1765 commented on some big historical event, the Earl of Arundel cut him off and said “My Lord, when these things you speak of were doing, your ancestors were keeping sheep”. Lord Spencer then instantly replied, “When my ancestors as you say were keeping sheep, your ancestors were plotting treason.” I loved it].

    Since my husband almost never reads the same things as I do, it is difficult to buy him books but I have bought him a biography on Kaizer Wilhem II which starts in 1900. It should feed into his WWI mania. And one nephew received an big expensive guide to wine that he would never buy for himself but will really enjoy. While we try to keep gifts within reason, sometime something just jumps out at you and this particular nephew seems to usually want things that are not as spendy as the things the other nephews want. He did not ask for this but he is a good guy and deserves it.

    1. Oh. And some cookbooks for various people. Because even though you can look up things on line, it is not as fun as browsing through a cookbook. Also I know James Beard, Julia Childs and Patricia Wells recipes turn out well. This is not always true of things you pick up on line.

  16. Rereading some Kerry Greenwood Phryne Fisher books because I bought the latest for someone but wound up reading and keeping it instead. Have to buy it again for them.

  17. Calvin & Hobbes for my sons (the very few Calvin & Hobbes they don’t already have) and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls for my niece, who is a rebel girl if ever I met one. I’m encouraging the next generation of subversion.

  18. (Our winter break started yesterday and it’s kinda throwing me off– one minute I remember it’s Thursday, the next I wonder why the Saturday post isn’t up yet…. XD )

    My whole family loves books, so the only problem is finding them one that they haven’t already bought themselves. So far I’ve gotten my mom Bless Her Dead Little Heart, a cozy Southern mystery by Miranda James, and The Women In the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. I also got the brother-in-law a volume of the graphic novel Fables to fill out his collection. And then I couldn’t resist getting myself Meddling Kids by Edgar Canteros: a group of former teen detectives (and their dog) get back together thirteen years later to revisit their final case, the one that haunts them still– possibly literally. Fun and trope-savvy, with loving nods to all the classic teen detectives (Blyton Hills, Zoinks River), it’s paced (and occasionally formatted) like an action thriller movie, horror levels are about at the original The Mummy (you know, the good one with Brendan Fraser), and the author plays with words like a kid playing with Legos– jumbled masterpieces that don’t look anything like the instructions. 😀

  19. For my husband, Why Dylan Matters, literary criticism and, I gather, justification on giving the writer/songster a Nobel Prize for literature. And, yes, I expect music will be played and I shall have to listen to it.

  20. Well, first, HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE! to northern hemispherites. (South of the equator too, if you like.) The light will return. I always feel better after Dec. 21st.

    I have millennial and gen-x children so I miss giving them happy stories, but this year everyone is getting Timothy Snyder’s “On Tyranny” in their stocking. Because we’re in a long fight here.

    We do have a new grandson, our first, and so I’ve bought Raffi board books and cd’s although everyone tends to have their music online now, but I do like having my own physical copy. I don’t quite trust electrons. I still have a good collection of my favorite children’s books but it’s good to know about “The Night Before the Night Before Christmas”. Maybe there could be a auxiliary children’s book recommendations suggestion post sometime?

    I did just finish listening to “Chemistry” by Weike Wang. It is pretty short and I don’t thin it’s a must read but it was well-written and it gave me insight into what being raised with high expectations in a Chinese family might be like. For me, it was definitely worth the time invested.

    I’m in the middle of “A Duke in Shining Armor” by Loretta Chase and I’m loving the dialogue. Kate Reading narrates it so well. It is pretty funny how many dukes seem to be sprouting up in England, but oh well. Maybe I’ll get over my billionaire boyfriend phobia too.

  21. My Dad is a massive Chris Hadfield fanboy and also an abstract photographer when he’s not doctoring, so he’s getting You Are Here in hardback. My older sister is getting the Side Hustle School book. The others are a mix of DVDs, gym equipment, and experience vouchers, because we all buy books all the time and it’s hard to know who has what already.

    I’ve been re-reading Phryne Fisher over the past week, mainly for the descriptions of food. They’re incredibly comforting.

  22. Good books are all that are keeping me sane this season. (Okay, and wine. Good books and wine.) I don’t even celebrate Christmas, but I like Christmas themed books by my favorite authors, so I just got The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan and The Christmas Stocking and other Stories by Katie Fforde. They’re both British, but I discovered some time ago that the wonderful Book Depository will send books worldwide for free.

  23. The Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers and CHasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis and The Witches Vaccum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett. I am swimming in good stuff.
    Happy Holidays

  24. My niece’s best friend has 2 little boys who I have been having a great time introducing to some of my favorite picture books. Last time I was in Barnes and Noble I saw an edition with 5 Elephant and Piggie stories (by Mo Willems) in one volume. I can’t wait for Ray’s birthday to give it to him! He’s going to go nuts.

    As for my reading, I’m just about to start Lynda Barry’s newest graphic novel. It’s all about why she loves living in New York. The library was very good to me on my last visit.

  25. Many, many books for my children, including Pratchett’s Marcie and the Educated Rats,the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time (which feels a bit like cheating, but was an impulse buy,) And a Mutts anthology. There’s a meme going around about Iceland’s “Book Flood” that says their Christmas Eve tradition is to curl up with a new book and lots of chocolate, and our family is going Icelandic this year!

  26. I just reread Bet Me to prep for going home to my mother. Also reread Deborah Blake’s Baba Yagas series. The latest one is holidayish: amzn.to/2BkWirR.

    I highly recommend and not just because she’s a Cherry.

  27. I’m giving books to everyone on my long list except my husband, who received a flood last year and still hasn’t caught up, and our daughter, who’s getting a replacement Kindle. So, technically, we’re giving her ALL the books.

    Purchases so far include Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars; Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half; Kassia St. Clair’s The Secret Lives of Color (fascinating histories of and anecdotes about color); Tristan Gooley’s How to Read Nature (inspiring people to get outside and notice stuff); What We See in the Stars/An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky; Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Louise Penny’s Still Life, along with the giftee’s request, Scott Turow’s Testimony; and a four-pack of Sandra Boynton board books. Moo, ba, la-la Christmas!

  28. All the grandkids are getting books, but one group is getting “goodnight Opus” which is one of my favorites.
    My husband is getting”the world’s worst predictions and the people who made them”. I brought “Midnight Riot” for me and it is wonderful so far, so thanks for recommendation.

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