If you're on my mailing list, you already got an email from me asking you to please put books on your holiday gift list this year. I'm writing about this in my blog now because the situation in publishing has reached even more dire proportions. Indeed, the news today has been grim, with massive layoffs, historic losses, frightening consolidations and even bankruptcies.
And trust me, there aren't going to be any government bailouts for publishing companies.
So if you think books are important, please buy one today or tomorrow. Doesn't matter where. You can buy online or at your favorite bookstore. You can go to Target or Walmart or Costco. You can even pick up a paperback at the supermarket. Just do it.
I do, of course, have some recommendations for you. I have so many favorite books it's hard to narrow it down to a one-size-fits-all list, so I've limited my selection to books I've read (and loved) over the last few months. But if there's someone specific on your list and you need a recommendation, post a comment or drop me a line, and I'll do my best to come up with something.
So here some current choices that I think are absolutely outstanding. These are all novels:
THE UNDERSTORY by Pamela Erens - Haunting, intense story about loneliness and obsession that seems to get nominated for every literary award. Well-deserved.
GOING DOWN SOUTH by Bonnie Glover – A tender and absorbing story about the complicated relationships between three generations of African American Women. Gorgeous writing.
THE THIRD ANGEL by Alice Hoffman – Luminous. Hoffman's gift for magical realism woven into a tale of three fascinating women. I loved this book.
MURDER AT THE BAD GIRL'S BAR & GRILL by N.M. Kelby – A smart, funny, rollicking mystery that Carl Hiaassen fans will eat with a spoon. Critics have been swooning over it.
THE SOUND OF BUTTERFLIES by Rachael King - Stunning novel that takes place at the turn-of-the-20th-Century. This one really stayed with me.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee – Still one of the best books ever written, imo
THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy - Post-apocalyptic story that strips love down to its barest essentials. This book will change you.
THE SMART ONE by Ellen Meister – Self-serving, I know, but I couldn't leave myself out. To read an excerpt, click here. To read an excerpt from SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA, click here.
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger – This came out a few years ago but I only just read it and wow. It's brilliant and absorbing.
THE FIRST PATIENT by Michael Palmer – For thriller lovers, it doesn't get any better. Michael Palmer kicks ass.
THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER by Tom Perrotta – The secular left and religious right clash ... sometimes inside a single soul. Funny, tender, real. Perrotta makes it look so easy.
DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD by Saralee Rosenberg – Absolutely hilarious ... but also layered and poignant. I loved this story about an unlikely friendship between two warring neighbors.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo – Considered literary fiction, but very accessible. No one creates characters like Richard Russo. My favorite living author.
Here are some books my kids recommend:
THE ALEX RIDER SERIES by Anthony Horowitz (adventure)
DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON SERIES by Lynne Ewing
THE GIVER by Lois Lowry
JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Wendy Mass
WAKE by Lisa McMann
HARRY POTTER SERIES by J.K. Rowling
ELSEWHERE by Garbrielle Zevin
I hope you'll buy a book or two today! And if you want to go the extra mile, here's an idea: spread the word by sending a list of book recommendations to all your email friends. Feel free to copy my list ... or make one of your own.