Tag Archives: books

Guidelines for gifting books

So November has flown by and we’re already past Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. As a book lover, I tend to give books to people as gifts for the holidays. However, I suggest the following guidelines for gifting:

1. Read the book. You wouldn’t suggest a restaurant to a loved one without eating there first, right? Same goes for books. If you can’t read the book (no time, it’s checked out of your library, etc.) try and find a good review. The New York Times is good, and they just came out with their 100 Notable Books of 2011. Other resources are Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. For the kiddos, look at The Horn Book or School Library Journal. Or ask your librarian. Librarians love to suggest books.

2. Spy on your loved one. Does your mom have a stack of romance novels? Is your boyfriend a horror fan? Peek at the bookshelf of the person you are buying for, or ask someone else to peek if the person doesn’t live with you. For example, my dad fancies himself a mariner, so I got him The Devil’s Teeth, about sharks. He loved it! Epic gift win. You can also look up a title they’ve enjoyed on Amazon, which will then suggest other books that are similar. You can also see if your local library subscribes to NoveList, or use free services like GoodReads or LibraryThing.

3. Shell out for a nice copy… Go for the hardcover, people. It’s easier to wrap, first of all, and just seems more gift-y than a paperback. Inscribe the book with a note. Cut off the corner that has the price on the dust jacket. “But then I can’t return it if they don’t want it!” you exclaim. If you successfully completed steps 1 and 2, you shouldn’t worry. They will love it!

4. …but don’t go crazy. Unless the person you are buying for is absolutely totally 1000% into a topic, you don’t need to go overboard. If your favorite uncle is a Shakespearean scholar and you found a first folio with Billy Shakes’ autograph, and you have a zillion dollars to buy it, then by all means go for it. However, if you go to your local library, they usually have an ongoing book sale and you can get very very gently used hardcovers for five dollars or so. This is also a great resource for buying children’s books.

Be merry, and be bookish.




Do you remember what you were reading?

Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Ten years seems like a long time, but it goes by in the blink of an eye. I’m sure a lot of people remember that day, but do you remember what you were reading at that time?

It seems like a silly question…almost “Who CARES what I was reading when 3,000 people died?” I think it’s important to reflect on past reads, though, because they shape us, no matter how subtly.

My grandmother kept track of what she read, and so I started to do so as my New Year’s resolution in 2001. And so, in the beginning of September 2001, I read 1000 Acres by Jane Smiley and Shakespeare’s King Lear (I was in high school AP English). Looking back, I remember how sad these two particular stories were and how there was a sense of hopelessness around them (they are essentially the same story, Jane Smiley’s is an updated version of Lear.) I remember finishing 1000 Acres and just sitting there like a lump, like, how much more sadness is there to bear?

I’m not trying to be a downer, I just find it interesting that what we read often reflects our environment at the time.

Do any of you keep a list of what you read? Do you remember what you were reading?

What you read

Everyone who participated in Do Nothing But Read Day deserves a pat on the back and another mug of hot cocoa. It went really well! The variety of books read on Sunday is mind-blowing.

Here’s the list of books generated from your submissions. The books range from classics to comics to humor to memoir. Happy reading!

Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake
First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher
My Wicked Marquess by Gaelen Foley
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice
The Ghost by Robert Harris
Beloved by Toni Morrison
A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker
Shakespeare’s Counselor by Charlaine Harris

Continue reading

A ton of variety

There’s a ton of variety in what people are reading today! I’ll post the full list tomorrow, but I’m impressed. Keep up the good work! I just finished another book, and now I’m taking a short Internet/coffee break before endeavoring on another one.

Can I make it a three-book day? Stay tuned.

Do Nothing But Read Day is here!

How is your Do Nothing But Read Day going so far? I just finished Anna Godbersen’s second book in the Luxe series, Rumors. It was so wicked and made me want to wear hats and drink tea while chatting about scandalous liaisons.

Now I’m going to do some dishes and then start on Ruined: a ghost story, by Paula Morris. Let me know what you read today!

One week ’til Do Nothing But Read Day

One week til Do Nothing But Read Day! What books are on your list?

Stay tuned tomorrow… there will be more news about things and stuff!

And now for something (slightly) different…

Really? You’re going to post a non-YA book suggestion? Say whaaaaat?!

Ok, so I read these books two summers ago, and I absolutely devoured them. They are fun, well-written mysteries by a mother-daughter team that writes under the name P.J. Tracy. (The daughter’s name is Traci and the mother’s name is P.J.). First up:

Monkeewrench. This is a mystery about a tech-savvy (to put it mildly) team that helps the Minneapolis Police solve computer-based crimes. There’s a twisty back story and neat gadgets.

“Haunted by a series of horrifying and violent episodes in their past, Grace MacBride and the oddball crew of her software company, Monkeewrench, create a computer game where the killer is always caught, where the good guys always win. But their game becomes a nightmare when someone starts duplicating the fictional murders in real life, down to the last detail. By the time the police learn of the connection between the murders and the game, three people are dead, and the game is just beginning.”
(From http://www.pjtracy.net/books/monkeewrench.asp)

There are three more books in the series (so far!): Live bait, Dead run, and Snow blind. They are seriously addictive.