Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Always the Season for Books, Part 2

So I’ve talked here about why books make great holiday gifts. To help give you some ideas, Moon Rat has a fantastic, detailed list of “best-ever” titles over at Editorial Ass. You can also consult Salon’s Best of 2008 book list, or the NYT’s 100 notable books of 2008, among many others.

So what’s my contribution to the book-buying suggestions? I thought I’d try out a different approach. My very random, totally un-scientific, un-researched and completely off-the-cuff list of suggested titles is just that—books that immediately come to mind, with no consulting my bedroom bookcases or bestseller lists. It’s neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but maybe that’s a good thing. After all, if these titles are at the front of my mind right now, with 700 pages of student writing to comment on, freelance deadlines, and a respiratory infection, they must be memorable, right?

Nonfiction (memoir and narrative):
The Obvious: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here by Felicia Sullivan
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
I Remember Running by Darcy Wakefield
All in My Head by Paula Kamen
Marley and Me by John Grogan

(Note: Though a couple of titles cross over, please see my previous post on narrative medicine if you are interested in a more complete list of books about medicine, illness, etc.)

The Obvious: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World by Andrew Rimas and Evan Fraser (Note: I have only just started this, but the author is local and a friend of mine so it’s on my mind)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt

The Obvious: The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Emperor’s Childrenby Claire Messud
Runaway by Alice Munro
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Kissing in Manhattan by David Shickler
The World According to Garp by John Irving
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón

Someday, I’ll be good and post a more complete list with commentary and all that, but right now a different stack of writing awaits me. Please feel free to throw in your favorite or current reads in the comments section, and remember—books make wonderful gifts!


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