Group Post: Today, we’re sharing the whats and whys of some of the books our writers will be giving for Christmas this year. Hope you’ll chime in with some of yours as well.
Kate Flora: Recently, at an event for 826 Boston, an organization that coaches writing in schools founded by David Eggers, I heard Ambassador Samantha Power speak about her life and her new book. She was an impressive and inspiring speaker, and now I have a copy of her book. Another copy or two will be wrapped and under the tree for family members I hope will be equally inspired.
As a Mayflower descendent, I’ve always had a special interest in Thanksgiving, but it has been a Euro-centric one. Now that we have a daughter-in-law and step-grandson with Native American ancestry, I want to be more informed, so I’ve put this book on my list, and plan to get the children’s version for the ten-year-old. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0807049395/coliid=I2WO546GZOKU0R&colid=3IVXHNP7HI1Q1&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
Darcy Scott: My husband loves both historical nonfiction and all things nautical; finding him a book that combines both (with a bit of true crime thrown in) can be a challenge. This year I think I nailed it with Murder Aboard: The Herbert Fuller Tragedy and the Ordeal of Thomas Bram by C. Michael Hiam—a book Sebastian Junger calls “An utterly original and gripping story of murder on the high seas.”
The book chronicles the brutal murders of three of the twelve people aboard the Herbert Fuller, a ship hauling lumber from Boston to Argentina in the summer of 1896. Those killed included the captain and his wife, and all were asleep when the murders took place. Though 750 miles from shore, the Herbert Fuller makes for Halifax where the riveting inquest and subsequent trials take place. C. Michael Hiam, Ph.D., is also the author of Dirigible Dreams: The Age of the Airship; A Monument to Deceit: Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars; and Eddie Shore and That Old-Time Hockey. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
Sebastian Junger’s full review: “Hiam has combined true crime with nautical adventure to create an utterly original and gripping story of murder on the high seas. Three people lay hacked to death in their bunks and the murderer had to be on board—but who was it? A fiction writer who dreamed up such a premise could rightfully be proud, and yet it actually happened—and has been brought to life for us by Hiam’s impeccable research and elegant prose.” https://amzn.to/33LEQuu
Susan Vaughan: For a change of pace, a gift for my great-nieces is a picture book. Maine author Valerie L. Egar published this fall a delightful Christmas tale, Oh, No! Reindeer Flu!, beautifully illustrated by Tamara Campeau. When the reindeer fall ill on Christmas Eve, the North Pole huskies save the day by pulling Santa’s sleigh. Kirkus Reviews calls Oh, No! Reindeer Flu! “a lively holiday tale that may make youngsters wonder why Santa ever used reindeer in the first place.” To my delight as a dog lover, the huskies steal the show, and the story should charm old and young alike. Valerie L. Egar is also a published poet and author of other children’s stories, Snickertales, that may be viewed on the Snickertales Facebook page. Oh, No! Reindeer Flu! is available in Maine at Sherman’s Books & Stationery stores. For other retailers, readers can go to the publisher’s website at www.whistleoakpublishing.com.
Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson: As it happens, aside from copies of my own newest (Clause & Effect and an advance reading copy of A View to a Kilt) to two sets of relatives on my husband’s side of the family, I don’t think I’m giving any books this Christmas. Usually I do. I had hits two years running with our great niece, first with Lea Wait’s Pizza to Die For when she was 14 and then with Michelle Obama’s Becoming last year. Our nephew’s wife also got a book. Since she and said nephew were really into the television series based on it, I gave her a copy of Shirley Jackson’s original The Haunting of Hill House. Now it’s still two weeks short of Christmas, so things may change, but at the moment the closest to a book I’m giving is the Game of Thrones edition of Monopoly to that same nephew and his wife. Maybe I’ll do better next year.
Jen Blood: In an effort to do more handmade gifts for the holidays, I’m actually making books this year rather than buying… I’m in the process of hand binding a grimoire for my older niece, and have a naturalist’s diary and supply kit that I’m making for the younger of the two. This month’s post here at Maine Crime Writers will be all about the process, including many shots of the chaos my studio is currently in.
Sandra Neily: I’m with Jen, but with a digital twist. I’m giving sturdy board books to grandchildren. I collect family pics and write the text. This site assembles sturdy books with lots of creative tools that I use. https://pinholepress.com/c/custom-board-books-for-kids
And I am regifting The Hidden Life of Trees to my great friend/editor Kyle … as soon as I re-read a few chapters. Who knew trees could repel predators and assaults (sometimes), care for wounded family nearby, and figure out spring before we do? Here’s some lines and I linked to an article as well:
“If we want to use forests as a weapon in the fight against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.”
“Forest air is the epitome of healthy air. People who want to take a deep breath of fresh air or engage in physical activity in a particularly agreeable atmosphere step out into the forest. There’s every reason to do so. The air truly is considerably cleaner under the trees, because the trees act as huge air filters. Their leaves and needles hang in a steady breeze, catching large and small particles as they float by. Per year and square mile this can amount to 20,000 tons of material.”
“There are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet.”
― Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from A Secret World
Nothing makes me happier than to give and receive books. My son who is not a reader got books that I read to and with him. We never expected to have grandchild so when he hit early 20s almost all the books were sold or given away. Now we have his daughter who will most definitely be a reader and her collection begins! I plan to make use of the terrific suggestions in this post and can’t wait for them to arrive. Thanks to all of you who take the time to share your thoughts and ideas with us. Have a great holiday season.