Monday, December 24, 2012
(E!)books are great gifts for the holiday season. With the shopping deadline approaching in mere hours, ebooks offer the quickest, simplest answer to the question of what to get for a family member or friend. Our authors shared suggestions for you last-minute shoppers!
Although their choices varied, all our authors consider a book selection to be a very important decision. As Lois Duncan explains, “I always match the book to the age and interests of the person to whom I’m giving it. I consider a... book a very personal gift and the choice should not be made lightly.” Deborah Blumenthal recommends looking at the recipient’s other interests, and trying to find something new in that field that they haven’t yet discovered. And then there’s Dean Koontz’s simple rule of thumb: Find “good ones.”
“It depends on the age of the recipient: from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to Sándor Márai’s Casanova in Bolzano.” —Roser Caminals-Heath, author of The Street of the Three Beds
"I love introducing the children in my life to the books I loved as a kid and that really made a difference in my life. Recently I gave my godson a copy of The Golden Treasure of Poetry, the first book I ever received as a gift, at age 8, and that was the start of my love affair with poetry." —Eileen Goudge, author of The Replacement Wife
“If I’m really stuck, I’ll head straight for a travel-writing book in the hope to swoop them to a far-off land.” —Andy Briggs, author of Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy
“This year I’m giving science books to my grandsons, who are three and six, and devour anything with facts and illustrations. My granddaughters, who are twelve and thirteen, will get historical fiction. They like kings and queens. My mother and daughters get mysteries. My son likes nineteenth-century exploration, especially of the poles.” —Caroline B. Cooney, author of Fog
“The books I gave this year were all biographies of great Americans: Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Jefferson, and most especially Hamilton.” —Shirley Ann Grau, author of The Keepers of the House
“Moon Palace by Paul Auster and A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor.” —Xavier Moret, author of An American in Barcelona
“Mostly books by Naguib Mahfouz, Amin Maalouf, Ahdaf Souheif” —Maha Akhtar, author of The Lost Princess
"I recommend The Fox at the Manger as a Christmas tale, version told by P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins) and illustrated by Thomas Bewick." —Madison Smartt Bell, author of The Washington Square Ensemble
“This year, I discovered a book called The Golem’s Latkes by Eric Kimmel and Aaron Jasinski. It’s perfectly charming and as the legend of the golem was the precursor to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it has its literary bones, too.” —Mary Glickman, author of One More River
“The last book I gave as a gift was Archipelago, by Monique Roffey, and before that, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.” — Vina Jackson, author of the Eighty Days Trilogy
When all else fails, give the gift of your own writing! As Dan Gutman jokes, he makes sure his own books are “signed by the author, with whom I have a personal relationship.”
Friday, December 21, 2012
For readers who love a glass of sweet tea or a mint julep, or whose ideal vacation would be a road trip through the heart of Dixieland, we have a perfect selection of ebooks ready for gifting. Take your recipient on a journey through the American South in these beautiful novels and story collections.
(Don’t know how to give an ebook as a gift? We’ll show you how at www.GiftofE.com.)
South Carolina: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
“My wound is geography.... It is also my anchorage, my port of call.
I grew up slowly beside the tides and marshes of Colleton; my arms were tawny and strong from working long days on the shrimp boat in the blazing South Carolina heat. Because I was a Wingo, I worked as soon as I could walk; I could pick a blue crab clean when I was five. I had killed my first deer by the age of seven, and at nine was regularly putting meat on my family’s table. I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carried the sunshine of the lowcountry, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders. As a boy I was happy above the channels, navigating a small boat between the sandbars with their quiet nation of oysters exposed on the brown flats at the low watermark. I knew every shrimper by name, and they knew me and sounded their horns when they passed me fishing in the river.”
Alabama: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
“All in all the Howlands thrived. They farmed and hunted; they made whiskey and rum and took it to market down the Providence River to Mobile. Pretty soon they bought a couple of slaves, and then a couple more. By the middle of the century they had twenty-five, so it wasn’t a big plantation; it wasn’t ever anything more than a prosperous farm, run pretty much along the lines of the Carolina farms the first William Howland had seen. There was cotton, blooming its pinkish flower and lifting its heavy white boll under the summer sun; there was corn, soft-tasseled and then rusty as the winter cattle grazed over it; there was sorghum to give its thin sweet taste to the watery syrup; there were hogs whose blood steamed on the frozen ground in November; there were little patches of tobacco, moved each two years to fresh clean virgin ground. The house grew larger; there was a barn and a stable, and four smokehouses, and a curing shed for the tobacco. There was a grist mill with a cypress wheel and granite stones. In the prosperous days before the Civil War even the interior began to have touches of elegance—harmoniums, and inlaid tables and shelves full of china figures. By then the county had a proper name—Wade—and the little boat landing that the first William Howland cleared had turned into Madison City, a tight neat town with a brick courthouse and a square and a single street lined with stores and houses.”
Georgia: Georgia Boy by Erskine Caldwell
“My old man picked up one morning long before daylight and went off fishing without saying a word to Ma or me about it. He always liked to go off like that early in the morning before Ma was up and about, because he knew she would put her foot down if she found out what he was up to and not let him go. Sometimes he went off and stayed three or four days at a time down on Briar Creek, and the better the fish were biting the longer he stayed. My old man was a fool about fishing.
He would catch a big mess of catfish and pout-mouthed perch and fry them over a litter fire on the creek bank as fast as he could hook them on his line. My old man said there was not a bit of sense in saving them up to bring home, because the womenfolk never had learned to roll a perch in enough cornmeal to suit his taste.”
Virginia: A Tidewater Morning by William Styron
“The door to my father’s bedroom was closed, and this meant that he was asleep for a few minutes or perhaps merely trying to sleep in the stupefying heat, which had, even at that hour, an unnatural, almost man-made intensity, like that of the boiler room of a naval ship into which I had once been allowed to descend. Outside on the lawn the heat lay as if imprisoned in a vast scoop, breezeless, unrelieved by the disappearing night, so that the grass, which should have been drenched with dew, remained dry and brittle beneath my sneakers, and the sycamores had a drooping, withered look as the first light silvered their leaves. It was the kind of southern morning when people, waking, stirred and whispered, ‘Oh, Jesus.’ The air was sticky and ominous, the heat of the new day coming on like a cataclysm. I felt dizzy from the lack of sleep; already sweat streamed down my back.”
Mississippi: Home in the Morning by Mary Glickman
“Jackson Sassaport was named for both the capital of Mississippi and his uncle Yakov, signifying him instantly as Southern and Jewish and, as such, the perfect husband, a man chivalrous and loquacious at once. . . . Jackson Sassaport was of the Savannah Sassaportas, seven generations, three states, and a vowel removed from their patriarch, Baruch Sassaporta, a colonist trader with a fleet of three tall ships that made the family fortune. Baruch’s people were from Portugal by way of London, thanks to the Inquisition. Jackson’s great-granddaddy, another Yakov, not recognized by Baruch Sassaporta’s direct heir when some Slavic blood finagled its way into the Portuguese strain, had wandered through Georgia and Alabama before setting up shop in Hinds County, Mississippi, with his brother, Yosel. Both men married clever, ambitious women who bred like rabbits and ran them like overseers.”