2011 Holiday Book List

The theme here is my favorite genre: history interwoven with the present day.

Each book is available in a variety of formats, including print and ebook, from a variety of sources. I’ve included a link for more information, to showcase the range of online options. And when you’re ready to buy, don’t forget your local independent bookstore.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
This amazingly crafted story spans three generations, all tied up with a neat bow. Morton carries us from Australia to England on the back of her strong prose. I bought it as a birthday present for my sister, who rarely has time to read for pleasure anymore. Hopefully this will be worth the distraction for her.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Kearsley’s mix of history and present day was so engrossing I went back to read it a second time, thinking I would analyze her craft… and found myself caught up in the story all over again.

The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning
Gunning’s first story of colonial Satucket on Cape Cod centers around the Widow Berry, who after her husband’s death at sea rebels against the transfer of her property to her nearest male relative, an overbearing son-in-law. Best of all, there are two more books to enjoy when you finish: Bound and The Rebellion of Jane Clarke. http://sallygunning.com/books.html

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
An amazing story of mother, daughter, and how history continues to affect the present day even when it’s suppressed. The ending might surprise, but the smooth prose is a comfort throughout.

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Set against the constant roar of Niagara Falls, this novel tells the story of a family whose fortunes unexpectedly fall apart—and the unexpected love affair that saves them.

A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka
I was induced to buy this book by the title. Fortunately the story —a mix of history and modernity through the eyes of a granddaughter who returns to her grandmother’s native Poland—lived up to my high expectations.

As for this year’s gift giving, it’s going to be another book holiday for my family members. Luckily my nieces and nephews are all big readers, and most of them are old enough to be breaking into the adult genres. A few highlights:

My oldest niece will hopefully enjoy the first Elizabeth George title, A Great Deliverance. She loves mysteries but had never heard of George, my favorite author in that crowded genre. She will also hopefully let me know what she thinks of Death Comes to Pemberly, the latest from P.D. James.

My dad will enjoy looking through Herb McCormick’s latest book, One Island, One Ocean, a story of the thirteen month circumnavigation of the Americas. And I’m hoping to take a glance at the book after him.

The best present is a secret. I’ll let you know next week how it is received.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all. It’s a great time of year to share the joy of reading!