Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

For the reader and literature fan:

People are abuzz over the new Raymond Carver biography written by Carol Sklenicka. Carver is considered the father of the modern short story. His biographer has shed some fascinating light on his writing and on the editor who made him famous. An avid fiction reader would enjoy a collection of Carver stories and this biography. Read all about it in this great interview by writer and IU Journalism professor emeritus Carol Polsgrove and in this NY Times article.

For your favorite feminist:

The New York Times op ed columnist Gail Collin's new book: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present looks like a fascinating modern history of people and events that happened just before I came of age. Our aunts and mothers and grandmothers fought battles to end sexual discrimination in the workplace, to be able to have their credit cards in their own names, or to be payed equitably with their male counterparts. This book should be must read for all of us. It is on my Christmas wishlist and I am 15th in line to get it from the library. Thanks for the recommend Marsha!

For those who like their narrative in graphic form:

American Widow looked like a compelling memoir of a pregnant woman who kissed her husband good-bye on September 11, 2001, as he left for his first day on the job with Cantor-Fitzgerald, and never saw him again. I ordered it in hardback from Amazon.com without looking at the fine print. The book is beautiful, but surprised me when it turned out to be a graphic novel. Alissa Torres's story is told frame by frame with speech bubbles and handwritten voice over narration. Not my favorite read of the year, but it may have been that I did not appreciate the format. You may have someone on your gift list that does and it is a unique way to tell the sad and tragic tale.

If you want to send a taste of Bloomington, Indiana to someone:

My favorite local book this year was Susan Brackney's lovely little story of beekeeping which I reviewed a bit earlier this year. She got a mention on an Oprah website as well. How about sending this fine book to friends along with some Southern Indiana honey?

And of course there's this little gem which includes many of my favorite writers in Bloomington. Get it on Amazon.com.

For the tween girl on your list:

Before you let your tween break open the covers of the latest vampire romance, give her this great story of Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Harriet loves to spy and makes honest observations about her friends in her writer's notebook. She wants to be a writer when she grows up. Harriet inspired me to
start a journal at age 11. She will always be a very important character to me.

Add a beautiful p
en and a nice handmade journal to the gift. Tell her that in the olden days, when we wrote our secrets and thoughts, they were kept private and not broadcast over the internetz for everyone to read and talk about.

For the transformational leader on your list:

Women Writing for (a) Change is a grassroots movement that uses writing
as a tool to craft a more conscious life. Started by feminist, leader, and former English teacher
Mary Pierce Brosmer, the school has spun off 8 affiliate schools, dozens of teachers, and
programs that give voice to young women and girls, men, incarcerated women, and anyone who
has lost their voice. I'm a believer. When you give this book to anyone include a candle
and an invitation to a writing sampler class like this one.

A delightful choice for your mother or great aunt:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer is doing the go around at book groups this year. This clever piece of historical fiction and epistolary novel will be beloved by your grandmother, so if you need to buy her a gift look no further. The history of the Channel Islands during WWII is not very well known so the setting and place and time is fascinating to learn about. It's set in the past where we accomplished everything by writing letters, and I know grandmothers love to read and write letters and talk about the era before we were all facebooking and texting and communicating via the internet. It is also just a clever, albeit a tad predictable, tale of a woman who finds her true community in this odd little place in history.

A Copy of this in Everyone's Stocking:

On January 20th, 2009 Elizabeth Alexander made history by being the 4th person to write and read a poem in honor of a presidential inauguration. I fear that given the way people rushed off after President Obama's oath and inaugural speech many did not hear this woman's very beautiful tribute to a very important day in history. Praise Song for the Day is available as a chapbook from Graywolf press. It would make a nice addition to a stocking this holiday. I have read and re-read and written about this lovely poem. I am putting it on my list as well.

Esmerelda is going to take a few days off to get ready for the holidays and read some more. She will post again about great reads after January 1st. May your holidays be filled with poetry and good good stories.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Thank you for these great gift suggestions!