Christmas books, 2012

My go-to gift for everyone, from child to husband to parent, has always been books.  Each year, more than a handful of people ask me for ideas for books to give to people in their lives.  I know it’s late (though not too late for a gift certificate with some suggested titles!), but here are some of the books I read in 2012 that I have been recommending this year:

A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver’s new book of poetry is a balm, as is the rest of her work.  The slender volume practically radiates wisdom, and I know a great many Oliver worshippers who are looking forward to reading this.

Help, Thanks, Wow – Similarly, Anne Lamott has a legion of committed and adoring readers.  Her latest work is a worthy addition to her canon; I read it in a single sitting, wiping away tears, giggling out loud, and underlining madly.

The Anti-Romantic Child: A Memoir of Unexpected Joy – Priscilla Gilman’s gorgeous love letter to her son is a great book for any of us who have been surprised by life not going precisely as we thought it would.  And for any of us who have found tremendous joy in the surprising and sometimes disorienting terrain of real life.  Which is to say: all of us.

The Light Between Oceans – I loved this beautiful novel, in particular the first half, which contains some of the most breathtakingly gorgeous imagery of light, ocean, space, and the sky I’ve ever read.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed’s memoir lived up to all of the hype.  This book is inspirational, comforting, and a powerful testament to the human spirit’s ability to grow, overcome, and see beauty.  Plus, Adrienne Rich’s work, The Dream of a Common Language, on which I wrote my senior thesis, beats through the story like a pulse.

The Age of Miracles – I read this book in a plane ride and it floated, gossamer, shimmering, in my mind for weeks.  I felt like I’d woken up and couldn’t quite tell if the story, a thought-provoking meditation on change, fear, the wild unpredictability of the universe, and our human need for control – was real or imagined.

The End of Your Life Book Club - I loved Will Schwalbe’s memoir of the end of his mother’s life for the palpable love it exudes for his mother, but also for the ways it celebrates a lifelong love of reading.  This book made me want to re-read some of my most treasured books, first and foremost, Crossing to Safety.  That’s next on my list.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green’s narrator may have my favorite voice ever, in all of literature.  This book made me weep but also reminded me of the immense bravery and strength that is contained in some of the youngest, most ostensibly fragile people.  We all want love, and wow, does Green give it to us.

There are so, so many more books I loved in 2012, and of course a long list from other years.  These are just a few that came immediately to mind.  If you are giving books for Christmas this year, which?

 

 


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6 Comments

  1. Kristen Reimold
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sugar, also by Cheryl Strayed….has the honest, vulnerable voice from Wild in the form of an advice column.
    Ditto to The Fault in Our Stars….
    Have you read The Book Thief? I have gifted that to just about everybody.
    Are you on Goodreads?
    Kristen (one class ahead at PEA)

  2. Susan T.
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    My favorites to gift this year were Daring Greatly, Ask the Passengers, Help, Thanks, Wow and Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Such an excellent book year, 2012 was!

  3. Posted December 25, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    This list is a gift! I was actually going to ask you your favorite books of the year! I have given Wild and Sutton which I adored as I am totally in love with everything Moehringer writes.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and thanks for this list!

  4. Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I love reading your reading recommendations. I can’t wait for you to read Tell the Wolves I’m Home. (I also just read The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere–wow. Totally gripping novel about a single woman and a young boy that comes into her life. Powerful, beautifully written. The story line is incredibly difficult, at times, because of the content, but it’s worth it.)

    Merry Merry to you. xoxo

  5. Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    This made me smile, in light of publishing my own list earlier. Like you, I have always loved giving books, particularly from the Harvard Book Store. I am adding your suggestions to my list for when my holiday reading stack finally diminishes… Until then, much love to you.

  6. Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Lindsey – I got here via Priscilla’s Facebook page, and then saw that you had recommended Mary Oliver’s book of poetry. Just put that in my Amazon cart. Many thanks — Happy New Year!
    Whitney