Is everyone feeling the holiday spirit? I found this tag on The Humpo Show and thought I’d give it a try. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. To keep things interesting, I’m only going to answer the questions with books I read or reread this year.
The Jingle Bell Tag
“All I want for Christmas is you . . .”
What book do you want to see under the Christmas tree?
I don’t come from a family of readers, so I’d be happy to see any book under the tree (besides the ones I put there). I recently added this one to my TBR list and would love Santa to bring it:
Annabel – Kathleen Winter
In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret: the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as "Annabel," is never entirely extinguished.
“Simply having a wonderful Christmas time . . .”
What book have you enjoyed the most this year?
I loved this one so much that I gave a lecture on it. A book has to really impress me to force me into public speaking. It completely deserves its Pulitzer Prize.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .”
Which book has a festive look to it?
Calling a book “festive” is a quick way to make me not read it, but this one has the holiday spirit. It’s an anthology. I can handle “festive” in small doses.
My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories – Stephanie Perkins (editor)
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
What book unleashes your inner child?
This picture book is idiotic. I love it to death.
I Want My Hat Back – Jon Klassen
A bear almost gives up his search for his missing hat until he remembers something important.
Your favorite villain . . .
Camus Comprix from the Unwind Dystology. One of the creepiest and most complicated YA villains ever.
Unwind – Neal Shusterman
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
Name your favorite TWO couples . . .
Ewww, romance. I don’t have any favorite couples. Honestly, I don’t even remember which characters got together in most of the books I read.
If I had to make a choice, I guess I’d say Kell and Lilah from V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King—George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered—and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London—a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
For my second couple, I’ll pick all the couples from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. I understand that “all the couples” is not a good answer to this question, but the romances in this book are part of a twisted game, which is interesting, so I’m going with it.
The Game of Love and Death – Martha Brockenbrough
Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.
What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?
First, “followers” sounds creepy. You’re not a stalker (I hope), and I’m not a cult leader (you hope), so there’s no need for following. Can’t we just be friends?
Have you guys read (or reread) To Kill a Mockingbird recently? It should be required reading for the whole world.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.