Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Gifts For Book Lovers

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Happy holidays, bookworms! Today, we're talking about the books I'm hoping to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Will Santa bring these books? Probably not, but I can dream, right? Here are 9 books I'm desperate to read right now. Maybe there's something on my list that the book lovers in your life will appreciate.

🎅  Gifts For Book Lovers  🎄

An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth: What Going To Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Col. Chris Hadfield

Science / Memoir Nonfiction

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success—and survival—is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst—and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement—and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth—especially your own.

Why I want to read it: I've seen a few of the author's educational talks, and he's a fascinating dude. He's smart, encouraging, and passionate about science. I'd love to learn more about his adventures.

The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Adult Fantasy

They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.

Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich—they're the only ones worth stealing from—but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.

Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it's a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.

But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa's power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming.

A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora . . .

Why I want to read it: To see what the hype is about. Every time I ask for fantasy recommendations, someone brings up this book. It was published over 10 years ago and is still getting rave reviews. I want to read it before it's declared a classic.

The Fervor by Alma Katsu

Adult Historical Horror

1944: As World War II rages on, the threat has come to the home front. In a remote corner of Idaho, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, are desperate to return home. Following Meiko's husband's enlistment as an air force pilot in the Pacific months prior, Meiko and Aiko were taken from their home in Seattle and sent to one of the internment camps in the West. It didn’t matter that Aiko was American-born: They were Japanese, and therefore considered a threat by the American government.

Mother and daughter attempt to hold on to elements of their old life in the camp when a mysterious disease begins to spread among those interned. What starts as a minor cold quickly becomes spontaneous fits of violence and aggression, even death. And when a disconcerting team of doctors arrive, nearly more threatening than the illness itself, Meiko and her daughter team up with a newspaper reporter and widowed missionary to investigate, and it becomes clear to them that something more sinister is afoot, a demon from the stories of Meiko’s childhood, hell-bent on infiltrating their already strange world.

Inspired by the Japanese yokai and the jorogumo spider demon, The Fervor explores a supernatural threat beyond what anyone saw coming; the danger of demonization, a mysterious contagion, and the search to stop its spread before it’s too late.

Why I want to read it: Well, it was longlisted for a Goodreads Choice Awards so obviously people are enjoying it! I love horror. I love historical fiction. Mashing them together is a wonderful idea. Also, the author's other book, The Hunger, is one of my all-time-favorite horror novels. It's very twisted.

A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon

Adult Mystery / Thriller

Linda has lived in a quiet neighborhood since fleeing the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is: pushing the vacuum around and cooking fish sticks for dinner, a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy magazines coming through the mail slot addressed to the previous occupant, Rebecca.

Linda’s husband Terry isn’t perfect—he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house, and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard—until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women in the town start to go missing.

If only Linda could track down and befriend Rebecca, maybe some of that enviable lifestyle would rub off on her and she wouldn’t have to worry about what Terry is up to. But the grass isn’t always greener and you can’t change who you really are. And some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Why I want to read it: Joanna Cannon is a favorite author for me. Her characters are so relatable and realistic that they almost make me feel an emotion. I love any book that can stir my cold, dead heart. This one sounds like it has a compelling mystery.

And Then I Woke Up by Malcolm Devlin

Adult Horror

In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything.

Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?

Why I want to read it: Goodreads says it's "a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us." It sounds like a timely horror book. Also, getting dementia and losing my mind is one of my worst nightmares. This book explores a literal nightmare situation!

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays On A Human-Centered Planet by John Green


The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.

Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.

John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is an open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.

Why I want to read it: Well, I have a book review blog, so obviously I like reviewing stuff. I think this is the only John Green book I haven't read. I've been a fan of his books and YouTube channel since I was a teenager. He's had a big impact on how I think about the world. I'll happily read anything he writes.

How To Be Perfect: The Correct Answer To Every Moral Question by Michael Schur

Philosophy Nonfiction

Most people think of themselves as “good,” but it’s not always easy to determine what’s “good” or “bad”—especially in a world filled with complicated choices and pitfalls and booby traps and bad advice. Fortunately, many smart philosophers have been pondering this conundrum for millennia and they have guidance for us. With bright wit and deep insight, How to Be Perfect explains concepts like deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism, ubuntu, and more so we can sound cool at parties and become better people.

Schur starts off with easy ethical questions like “Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” (No.) and works his way up to the most complex moral issues we all face. Such as: Can I still enjoy great art if it was created by terrible people? How much money should I give to charity? Why bother being good at all when there are no consequences for being bad? And much more. By the time the book is done, we’ll know exactly how to act in every conceivable situation, so as to produce a verifiably maximal amount of moral good. We will be perfect, and all our friends will be jealous. OK, not quite. Instead, we’ll gain fresh, funny, inspiring wisdom on the toughest issues we face every day.

Why I want to read it: Another Goodreads Choice Awards longlist book! Since I'm a perfectionist, I need to read this. I want to be perfect, please and thank you. The author is the creator of the TV show The Good Place, which I haven't seen but know is popular.

Gallant by V.E. Schwab


Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

Why I want to read it: Yet another Goodreads Choice Awards longlist book. (Can you tell I was looking at the longlist right before I started this post? I wanted to know which books readers are loving!) V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors. She's amazing at writing morally gray characters who stay in my mind forever.

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Young Adult Mystery / Thriller

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team.

After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?

Why I want to read it: To see what the hype is about! This novel has won pretty much every award ever. I don't think I've seen a bad review of it. I need to know why all the bookworms are obsessed.

Which books are you hoping to get (or read) during the holidays?


  1. Great list The Fire Keepers Daughter and The Lies of Locke Lamora are two that I'd love to read!
    I hope Christmas brings many books and much love and joy!
    These are some of the books on my wishlist from Santa! Merry Christmas!

  2. These all sound like great reads!

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-books-i-hope-santa-brings-this-year/

  3. Great list! I've been wanting to read Gallant. It sounds so good.

  4. What a great list! I have to say, I loved Firekeeper's Daughter and The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I've got The Fervor on my TBR! Hopefully you get a bunch of these as gifts, and find out what all the hype is about!

  5. Nonfiction books about space fascinate me!

  6. I was asked if I'd be willing to review "How to be Perfect," I was interested, but then never received the book :).

  7. Great list! I've been wanting to read the Lies of Locke Lamore for ages too, hope you'll love it!

  8. I've been wanting to read THE FERVOR, too. I checked it out from the library a couple months ago, but I didn't have time to read it before it came due. Bummer. I hope you find some bookish goodness under your tree!

    Happy TTT!

  9. The Fervor made my list too. I am really picky about the horror novels I will read, but I like Alma Katsu. And the historical piece is a big draw too. Gallant sounds really good! I'm reading my first Schwab book now. Every time my daughter sees me with A Darker Shade of Magic, she asks me where I am in it. She's so excited I'm reading one of her favorite books. I hope you receive or or some--even one--of these! Happy Holidays!

  10. Locke Lamora has been on my TBR for a while and I added Gallant to the list. Firestarter Daughter was one of my faves last year - I enjoyed it SO much. Have a Happy Holiday.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  11. Firekeeper's Daughter was one of my favorite reads of 2021! I hope you find all of these under your tree this year!

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  12. I haven't read any of these but I have wanted to read The Fire Keeper's Daughter for a while now!

  13. An interesting list! Hope you'll get some of it (all will be too greedy, LOL!) under your tree. Happy holidays! :)

  14. I hope you get all these books for Christmas!

  15. I have seen Hadfield around the internet. He is an interesting guy. Hope you get and love them all

  16. Firekeeper's Daughter was one of my favorites last year! Have a wonderful holiday

  17. I want to read How to Be Perfect (and, hey, you really, really need to try The Good Place...what are you waiting for?) and, now, A Tidy Ending. Loved Firekeeper's Daughter.

  18. I haven't gotten a chance to read Firekeeper's Daughter, but I heard it's amazing. Hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas!

  19. Looks like a great list. I think I would love the first one.
    Thanks for visiting my TTT which only has five books this week.
    Have a happy Christmas!

  20. Great list! I enjoyed Gallant and I actually just got the audiobook for Firekeeper's Daughter yesterday and I'm hoping to start that soon. I hope all these books find their way under your tree this holiday and that you enjoy them all. 😊

  21. Great list! And Then I Woke Up caught my eye. I hope Santa brings these books for you!

  22. The philosophy one sounds interesting. Hope you'll manage to get it somehow!

  23. I have been wanting to read Fire Keeper's Daughter since is came out. A Tidy Ending also sounds good. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog last week. Merry Christmas!