Yes I know. It’s only 10 days until Christmas Day and I’m late posting this again. But to be honest, you wouldn’t expect anything less from me would you? I’m only writing one post this year though – but there are plenty more ideas in my posts from the last couple of years if you need them. Some of these are books that I’ve read, some are books that I want to read and have heard good things about. Coming tomorrow: the books that I want for Christmas!
First of all, if you have a Peter Grant fan in your life, the new Rivers of London book, Lies Sleeping, came out in hardback midway through last month. (If you don’t have a Peter Grant fan in your life, you could try to convert them, but do start at the beginning with Rivers of London or it’ll all make no sense to them). I’m working my way through Carl Hiaassen’s books at the moment – and if you’ve got someone who likes darkly funny mystery-thrillers, then that would be a good place to go – I’m reading Star Island next – about a drug-addled starlet and her double – but Skin Tight is excellent, if gross.
Novels based on real people can go either way, but I think they make a solid choice for book gifts – because you sort of know what you’re letting your giftee in for. I’ve got Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott on my to-read shelf, which looks like a promising choice as a gift. It tells the story of the events that led up to Truman Capote’s professional and social suicide, a decade after In Cold Blood Made him a literary star. The only reason I haven’t read it already is the fact I couldn’t take it with me to Washington!
I read Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys over the summer – and although it’s set on the French Riviera in the summer, I don’t think a spot of sunshine in the middle of winter is a bad thing. If you’re buying for someone who likes historical fiction and mysteries, this would be a good choice. For some reason I’m struggling to think of a really good comp for it – but it’s a bit Lauren Willig, Beatriz Williams-y, but with more tension.
And it was a Book of the Week back in the summer, but Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient would make a good pick for someone looking for a romance to get lost in. What’s not to love about a gender-flipped Pretty Woman, with a heroine with Asperger’s?
I’ve heard good things about Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman’s book, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, which as the title suggests tells the story of their love story – and how a carpenter and an actress fell in love and made it work, despite their differences. If you have someone to buy for who loves Parks and Rec (and especially Ron and Tammy 2) then this could be the genius Christmas book you need to buy. Although I hear it’s even better on audiobook… In other celebrity memoirs that might make good gifts, 2018 has been very much the Year of Tiffany Haddish and her book The Last Black Unicorn would make a good Christmas gift for the film fan in your life.
I’m midway through (as you know from the Week in Books posts) Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood – which I’m really enjoying when I’m sufficiently caught up on my podcasts to have some free listening time. It tells the story of Lockwood’s own life growing up up in the Mid-West with a Catholic priest for a father (he got the call after he was already married with kids) and what it’s like when you have to move back in with your parents when you’re married yourself and 30.
If you want to buy someone something historical, I’ve got my eye on A Lab of One’s Own, about pioneering suffragist scientists in the First World War. I heard the author, Patricia Fara, interviewed on History Hit earlier in the year and it sounds like a good choice for the end of this cententary year of the end of the Great War.
I’ve had a bit of a struggle coming up with fresh children’s ideas this year – because most of my non-adult reading has been series that I’ve already talked about (at length) like the Wells and Wong books or old Girl’s Own stories that you really can’t give to children today. The good news is that Katherine Woodfine has started a new series – following Sophie and Lillian from the Sinclair Mysteries as they turn their hand to spying. The first book, Peril in Paris, sees them heading across the channel.
I’ve also bought the first in the Rosewood Chronicles series, Undercover Princess, and The Secret Key, the first in the Agatha Oddly series, for some of the younger readers in my life, and am busy resisting the temptation to keep them both for me. I would also suggest Howl’s Moving Castle if they haven’t already read it, because I loved it when I finally got around to reading it this year – more than a decade after I first saw the film version (which is also good, but different).
So there you go. Coming up tomorrow – the books that I’m hoping might appear under the Christmas tree this year. I hope Santa is reading.