Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Better Gift Than a Good Book?

Last night at my writing group, a friend asked what we would do if Christmas was a time where we had permission to buy what we really want for ourselves. What, she queried, would we buy?

“Books,” I replied, without a second’s hesitation. Literally, it was the first thing that flew out of my mouth.

And it’s true, though with a caveat. I’d also like time, time to wander through my local independent bookstores. I’d linger over the new nonfiction titles and the paperback originals, I’d wander past the front-of-store displays and hit the aisles, looking for new names and titles.

(I’d also check out the health section to see Life Disrupted, because I’ll be honest, the thrill of seeing it is still there, and I’d try to guess what shelf will someday house Book #2 .)

I’d buy more narrative medicine books, and the engrossing narrative nonfiction titles I love so much. I’d select the breezy, snarky novels I can tear through in an hour, and the literary fiction books I re-read over and over before I go to sleep at night.

And then once I had as many books as I could carry by myself, I’d hunker down with my dogs and the afghan my grandmother (the most avid reader I've known) knitted for me, and I’d do nothing but read. No Internet. No clients. No writing. Just time to savor other people’s writing.

So consider this ode to books (and bookstores) a friendly holiday reminder that books make wonderful gifts. Last year, I gave you some personal picks and Best-of lists to consider, and for those of you who haven’t purchased all your presents yet, I thought I’d do so again.

NPR’s Best Books of 2009 is an extensive and eclectic resource, and it includes the Top Picks From Indie Booksellers.

I got my MFA in Nonfiction Writing and am a self-avowed nonfiction junkie, so I was excited to see Salon’s Salon’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2009. Still, I often need a break from true stories, so Salon’s Best Fiction of 2009 was another must-read.

The Wall Street Journal's Best Health Books of 2009 is another great list to consider.

As for my own list? I’ll own it: end of term grades, client work, research detours, looming word counts, and Christmas-related chaos have all conspired to slow me down, but I’m working on it, and will try to post it soon.

(Don’t forget Life Disrupted is an affordable gift for anyone you know living with chronic illness, or anyone trying to understand what their friends/family members are going through. Okay, obligatory holiday plug finished.)

Do you have any fiction or nonfiction titles you recommend? I’d love to hear them, especially since I haven’t started my holiday shopping yet!



Rachel said...

The best thing my in-laws did during this recovery is bring me a pile of books. Even though I have plenty in my to-read pile, it meant so much to the avid reader in me.

Anonymous said...

My favorite book is In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson. Its about re framing your problems,seeing the 500 pound problem (the lion) as a 500 pound opportunity. We can all be lion chasers rather than scaredy cats.

Rosalind Joffe said...

Great idea - I was going to do the same thing on my blog this week but forgot. Some other books are The Autoimmune Epidemic, Escape from Cubicle Nation, Unexpected Blessings, and (of cours) my book,Women,Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working Girlfriend.

Laurie said...

Rachel, I hear you! Recovery is so much better if you have good books to read!

Rosalind, when I get my act together enough to post my list, yours will definitely be there! (Love Autoimmune Epidemic, too).

Jenn said...

I love this post! Books are a must have on my Christmas list =)

Some on my favs that aren't on your prior lists are:
Mass Hate by Neil Kressel
Bad Faith by Neil Kressel
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult ( a fiction book about the bone disorder I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta--very realistic)
all books by Malcolm Gladwell!
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Can't wait to see your new list!

Laurie said...

Great minds, Jenn, as Handle With Care was already on my mental list and made it to the list I posted tonight. I've also given it to others to read. Such a poignant story...

Powered by blogger. Customized by PinkDezine.