If you have put off your Christmas shopping until the last minute, here are a few ideas from your host (AKA, me) for your quality friends. Books, of course, because books are what I do.
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This book can be classified as a sarcastic, satirical humorous mystery. It’s a great book for people who like to laugh and who also happen to distrust authority–as my main character Jock Stewart does. And as I do. Jock is probably my favorite protagonist because he reminds me of me, the kind of guy who’s likely to say anything to anybody, especially people who are really full of themselves.
This is my most recent novel, the fourth in my Florida Folk Magic Series which began with Conjure Woman’s Cat. I’m partial to the series because it’s set where I grew up, with places and people I knew.
My granddaughters live in Maryland and my wife and I live in Georgia, so we need to order Christmas gifts early in November so there’s time for my wife to wrap them (my gift wrapping is a joke), box them up, and mail them. Fortunately, my daughter helps by sending a long list. We don’t see Feya and Beatrice as often as we wish (my cancer kept us from having a springtime visit this year), so we need a little help. We share the list with my sister in law after we check off what we’ve chosen.
This year, Freya wants a book on learning Japanese and Beatrice wants a book on learning French. I had no luck learning either language, but far be it from me to say anything negative about the family gene pool when it comes to languages. Freya, who loves ballet, also loves to draw. Beatrice had a slew of books on her list. Okay, I’m happy to see this, so the gene pool isn’t entirely bankrupt.
The girls watch a lot of kids’ movies on Netflix. That and their interactions with other kids at school introduce them to fads and pastimes that I don’t know anything about. Looking at these gift ideas is an education. Manga and Anime drawing–I have no idea what that is even though I’ve been to Japan.
When we were at Disney World last year and had just left the Japanese pavilion (where I sampled the sake), I saw something cute and inadvertently said, “Kawaii!!!!!!.” My granddaughters whirled around. “How to do you know that, Grandpa?” “From watching you,” I said, though I believe they were sceptical.
My daughter and her husband have been giving their daughters a culture-rich life of museums and parks and plays. I highly approve. So, their wish lists for Christmas and birthdays don’t include guns and cherry bombs and acid rock music. Whew.
Since my book Widely Scattered Ghosts is dedicated to my granddaughters, I sent two, signed copies to my daughter a year ago. I said it’s too soon for either Freya or Beatrice to have a copy of this. But when the time is right, they can see them. It’s still too soon. But whenever the time is right, I hope they enjoy grandpa’s stories.
If you still have some holiday shopping to do, here are a few of my favorites this year that might make for some very nice gifts:
“Goatsong” by Patricia Damery, il piccolo editions Fisher King Press (November 1, 2012), ISBN-13: 978-1926715766 – A wise view of the world through the eyes of a child, homeless women, a goats.
From my review:When you read Goatsong, you are breathing in fresh air off the Pacific ocean, smelling the sweet scent of the bay laurel, and cooling your tired feet in sacred streams flowing through old redwoods in the company of wise women who, without agenda, may well change you as they changed the ten-year-old Sophie in those old family stories about the town of Huckleberry on the Russian River.
“In Sunlight and Shadow” by Mark Helprin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2, 2012), 978-0547819235 – A combat veteran whose business is threatened by the mob falls in love with a young woman from a rich and influential family. Readers will discover a poetic view of New York City played off against the Mafia’s protection racket and the protagonist’s combat experiences as a behind-enemy-lines pathfinder.
From my review: Mark Helprin recalls post World War II New York City throughout In Sunlight and in Shadow with the accuracy and atmosphere of A Winter’s Tale (1983) and his protagonist’s combat experiences with the chilling combat detail of A Soldier of the Great War (1991).
“The Casual Vacancy” by J. K. Rowling, Little, Brown and Company (September 27, 2012), ISBN-13: 9780316228534 – Rowling steps away from teenagers and contemporary fantasy with a story about the people and politics of a small English town.
From my review:Winesburg, Spoon River, Grover’s Corners and Peyton Place reside so powerfully in the consciousness of readers as accurately rendered representations of small town life that their people, town squares, relationships and secrets are forever in our memory almost crossing the boundary from fiction into reality. The English village of Pagford in J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy belongs on this list.