It’s that time again! Time for me to try to convince you to give books this Christmas. I’ve read a heck of a lot of books this year, but these are my recent favourites, the books I wholeheartedly recommend. So save a stressful trip to the mall and head online (or better yet, to your local independent book store. For TO folks, if you haven’t been to the new McNally Robinson at Don Mills, it’s the perfect time!)


Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow

I adored this book. Homer and Langley is an imagining of the lives of New York’s famous Collyer brothers, compulsive hoarders whose bodies were discovered buried under 130 tons of rubbish in their Fifth Avenue mansion. It’s fascinating and quirky.




Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Thirteen-year-old Henry is a loner who lives with his permanently sad, agoraphobic mother Adele. During pre-labour day weekend grocery shopping, Henry meets Frank, injured and on the run after escaping from prison. Adele and Henry take Frank home, and as the long weekend unfolds, the trio’s lives are irrevocably changed. This is a sweet, suspenseful, satisfying, pitch-perfect read. Read an interview with Joyce Maynard at Savvy Reader here. Browse inside the book here.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

I just love Irving, and this didn’t disappoint. I don’t mind the reoccurrence of bears, missing digits, absent mothers, etc. With every John Irving book you get a great story, wonderful characters, and perfect setting. (See my event recap here).

February by Lisa Moore (see my review here).

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (read my review here).

You can find more of my favourite 2009 fiction here.

Non-fiction and Reference

Rowed Trip by Colin Angus and Julie Angus

I discovered Colin and Julie Angus shortly after my son was born. Stuck in my chair nursing for hours on end, I travelled vicariously from Scotland to Syria by bicycle and rowboat! I loved it so much, I immediately reserved their entire backlist from the library and devoured them too (and I developed a big crush on the intrepid pair). Check out their website here.



When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

If you’ve read David Sedaris before, I don’t need to sell this to you. If you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for!

Six Months in Sudan by James Maskalyk

See this post.

1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

I love the 1001 books, and this is not one to miss! A lovely gift.

Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann

This is a beautiful book, with a timely message. A fabulous gift for the chef of the house (or the folks like me who are useless in the kitchen but covet gorgeous cookbooks).

For the Babes

Getting There by Marla Stewart Conrad

Mom and Me by Marla Stewart Conrad

These are beautiful, beautiful picture books. And there will be more in the series!



For Toddlers/Preschoolers

Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins

Candlewick is my favourite children’s publisher and I love the Maisy series. This one is now in paperback.

For Kindergarteners

Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerm

My daughter is all about the ABC’s since she started school, and these illustrations are stunning. There is also a fabulous Creature floor puzzle. It’s nice and big, and great value (there are two double-sided puzzles). Cakes loves this.



There you go. This should get you started. And if you have anyone on your list you’re having trouble shopping for, feel free to drop me a line! Tell me what they like, and I’ll try and come up with more recommendations.

Happy shopping!