Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Give for Christmas
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!
Giving books for Christmas is pretty easy in my family. Well, I should rephrase. Giving books for Christmas is easy in my family FOR A FEW PEOPLE. Me. I’m probably the easiest. If most of my presents under the tree are books, I’m happier than a pig in…well, *ahem*. I’m very, very happy. My mom is another one. She reads a ton. But sometimes I find it hard to figure out what books to give, especially to pickier readers. Thankfully, this list throws all that worry aside and I can just give people books that I THINK and HOPE they would enjoy as much as I did because the books reminded me SO MUCH of them.
Merry Happy, book readers!
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This one I would give to my Mom. She’s actually ASKED to read it before, but she always kind of backs off. I think she’s afraid of YA. Which makes no sense, am I right? No, I think she is just so used to reading, you know, books for grown ups that reading a book for young people doesn’t even cross her mind as something she would enjoy. But THE HUNGER GAMES is a different animal altogether, and I think she would appreciate it. Oprah certainly never chose a book like this one!
The Sky Is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson. Oh, Jandy. Your book is magic. Not coincidentally, Santa and Christmas are ALSO magic. I want to spread your book around like Christmas cheer, so I’m going to give this one to my mom AND my sister. They both have sisters (one of whom, obviously, is moi), so they would understand the sisterly bond between Lennie and Bailey, and I think they would both fall in love with Joe. Most importantly, though, I know that they have both lost loved ones suddenly and without warning, and I think that Lennie’s story of grieving and love would touch them right where it touched me: the ticker.
Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. Ooooh! *Squeals* This book! So, some quick family background: when my mom turned *cough*50*cough* a couple of years ago, we took a family vacay to Paris. It was MAGIC. Best vacation EVER. I know that my mom and my sister would read this book and be transported, as well as fall completely in love with Anna and the tingly, AMAZING Etienne.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly. So, my cousin is 10 years old. She is AWESOME. (She’s also smarter than me. Once during a visit she asked me for help with her Chinese math homework, and I was like, “What’s Chinese math? *crickets* Bueller?” It’s legit, though, and she didn’t really need any help.) But aside from myself, she is without a doubt the most voracious reader in my family and I love it so, so much. But why this book? Well, my cousin loves science and animals and nature. Always has. And Calpurnia…Calpurnia is MY GIRL. She’s spirited, smart, curious, determined, and funny. She reminds me so much of my awesome little cousin and I HOPE more than anything that she loves this book because every time I see it on my shelf, I think of her and how much I see her in Calpurnia, this young spitfire who likes staring at bugs and sucking in as much of the world as she can fit in her lungs.
A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin. I just spent most of yesterday in a state of nerd happiness about Game of Thrones the TV show, which comes from my constant state of nerd happiness about the books on which the show is based. My dad’s not the biggest reader, but he does love fantasy, especially the really long kind that he can listen to in his car for weeks and weeks, like he does with Harry Potter. If I’m being honest, though, I kind of want to give him this book because I KNOW that neither my mom nor my sister would EVER read these books and my dad is my only hope for a kindred spirit.
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. We’re back to my cousin again. Because not only is she going to singlehandedly raise the US math and science standardized test scores, she’s also a girl after my own heart: she LOVES fantasy. LOVES IT. (If she was a year older, maybe two, I’d have already given her THE SCORPIO RACES because horses are her spirit animal; horses + fantasy = Scorpio Races. I literally CANNOT WAIT to give her this book.) But can you talk about really great MG/YA fantasy without mentioning Shannon Hale? I can’t. And while there’s not a lot of hard, magical fantasy in PRINCESS ACADEMY, it has Miri, who is brave, tomboyish and generous of spirit. She’s also a mini badass, and I love her.
She’s So Dead to Us, by Kieran Scott. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m from New Jersey. (You know, that place where Snookie is NOT actually from.) This book–this whole series–takes place in New Jersey. Not the part of Jersey where I live, but still. The connection is strong. My sister, I think, would LOVE this book. The Jersey connection is a plus; the rich, snobby, mildly slutty high schoolers are a plus, too, because that’s sort of wealthy-trashy. And my sister LOVES trashy (Right now this minute, she’s watching Melrose Place–THE ORIGINAL–on Netflix and getting upset that Sidney is leaving). These books are pure guilty pleasure and I loved them. I think she would too. In fact, I bet my MOM would love these, as well. These kids are like the kids of the Real Housewives of New Jersey! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente. *Sigh* THIS book was so fantastical and whimsical and wonderful. It’s just so gorgeous! Over Thanksgiving, my cousin told me that she had been reading a book, a fantasy, and she was disappointed that the ending was “too logical,” as in she was expecting something more fanciful. Future blogger? Methinks yes! But anyway, I think that this book has PLENTY of illogical things for even the most hardcore fantasy lover. It’s imaginative, clever, vibrant and…just…perfect. Also, the girl’s name is September, which is my birth month. Bonus for me. This book would also be an interesting test case to see if books for young people seem as magical to actual young people as they do to me and lots of other readers who haven’t been children in a long time. I’d be curious to see if she liked it.
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1), by Jenny Han. For the love of ANGST! This trilogy was so full of tortured emotions, grief, love, and, well, angst that is just tore up my heart. Wait…did I mention that this book was angsty? What a coincidence! My sister’s middle name is Angsty! She would devour these. And then we could debate: Conrad or Jeremiah? (God! I’m still so torn! But probably Conrad. He made me DIE. Or…I don’t know! Jeremiah squeezed my heart so hard! I need a ruling!) But these books remind me of my sister, with the drama and the brooding and the tugging heartstrings. That’s a compliment, by the way.
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein. I remember seeing these movies every year right around now, actually, and just being so overwhelmed by the AWESOME. And that was AFTER I read the books. My dad loved the movies, but–for shame!–he’s never read the books. And I just can’t live with that. This series is one of the reasons I love fantasy, and I think my dad would love it too.