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!