Den library

With the Christmas season upon us and the bombardment of holiday gift giving suggestions coming from every media outlet, here is my suggestion for one of the greatest gifts for any age, any gender – the gift of reading. At Daly’s Den in NH, I started a lending library for our guests and renters. I love coming back up here and finding books others have left behind, and rediscovering some of my favorites from years past. Since my writing assignment this week is a bit redundant – I have to edit down last week’s essay to half the words – I won’t bore you with re-reading a shortened version of “Rescue Me”. Instead, I hope you check out these titles which are some of my favorites that I found again in our bookshelf.  And, leave a comment too – what are some of your all-time favorite books?

#amreading     #bookreview     #BookClub     #historicalfiction     #womenfiction 

Non-Fiction / Auto-Biography

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Steve Erwin [Paperback] by Immaculee Ilibgazia (Published by Hay House, 2006). This powerful narrative is by a young woman who survived the Rwandan genocide of the mid ’90s hidden in a bathroom for three months with seven other women. It is a raw story that exposes the atrocities of that Holocaust balanced with the incredible level of trust Immaculee placed in her faith. I learned of Left to Tell when it chosen as an all-school read for St. Sebastian’s. How fortunate my boys were that they were able to hear Immaculee share her story in person at the start of their school year.

Young Adult

Holes by Louis Sachar (Published by Random House, 2001). Made into a popular Disney movie with Shia LeBeouf, Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight, I enjoyed the book first, even before Peirce and Brendan read it. I don’t recall how or why I picked it up, but I ended up choosing it for an assignment in a Children’s Literature class at Simmons College’s graduate program that I audited the year the book came out. It is a fun, well-crafted, “quest” story with likable heroes (Stanley and Zero) you want to root for throughout the story. For that class assignment, I identified all the steps found in a quest story. My professor gave me an A and asked if she could keep my piece as an example to use in following years of the class. I was honored. Pour me a glass of SPLOOSH!

Historical Fiction

Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross (Published by Broadway Books, 2009). No, that is not a typo. I didn’t mean to write Pope John. 2017 has been a year of women focused empowerment. From marches across the country to the installation of “Fearless Girl” on Wall Street to the  launch of the #metoo movement, women are speaking up and speaking out after decades and centuries of silence. Pope Joan posits a revolutionary idea. Could there have been a female Pope in the 13th century? It was a fascinating read steeped in rich detail and history that I believed the myth could be true. Perhaps it was only the silence of those times and the powerful men that ruled the Catholic Church that quelled any speculation that there could be a female Pope. I love that this book was recommended to me by my dear friend, Colleen. I think of her and our discussion we had about the book every time I see Pope Joan on my bookshelf.

Hope this post gave you some ideas for people on your gift lists this year. If you need more ideas, there are countless “2017 Best of” book lists available. Just hit up Google. And, when you’re out shopping for books, how great was the news out this morning from The Boston Globe?  Local, independent bookstores are making a comeback! I think I need a day trip over to Portsmouth NH – the Portsmouth Book & Bar also serves booze. A nice glass of red, and a good book. Sounds like a great gift to me for me!

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