As some of you know, I have another blog gathering dust that I didn’t think anyone read anymore. But I was pleasantly surprised when one of the readers of that blog emailed me and asked for my annual holiday book giving guide! I’m happy to deliver. These are my favourite books of the year, the gifts I’ll be giving to loved ones. There’s something for everyone, I think, and this year I’m not going to break it down to His and Hers, etc. These are all great reads for anyone. Period.*
Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod
Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting is the most exciting thing I’ve read this year, and I want to give a copy to everyone I know. He’s been compared to Alice Munro, and I agree completely (those who know me know this is the highest praise I can give). His stories are electric, visceral, wise, and so awesomely physical. My body was buzzing while I read. He’s that good.
The Tiger by John Vaillant
Set in Russia’s Far East, a suspected poacher’s remains are found near his destroyed cabin. His body, and his belongings have been brutally destroyed. An investigation by Yuri Trush, the lead tracker and conservationist with Siberia’s Inspection Tiger, reveals that it was not a random attack: the tiger was methodical and seemingly vengeful.
With fascinating insight into Russia’s social history, as well as the magnificent, endangered Siberian Tiger, this is an engrossing, informative story of man and nature, and our struggle to coexist.
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Set in Rome, this debut novel centres around a struggling international English-language newspaper. With each chapter telling the story of a different character—reporters, foreign correspondents, editors, executives—the book reads like a collection of short stories. The narratives interspersed with short chapters on the paper’s 50-year history, the novel also explores recent challenges to the newspaper business: technology, loss of advertising, competition for readers’ attention.
Perfectly structured, with compelling, memorable characters, The Imperfectionists is intelligent, ironic and perceptive.
The Wave by Susan Casey
Susan Casey investigates the increasingly brutal and baffling “rogue waves,” giants that come out of nowhere and sink ships and pummel oil rigs. She speaks to mariners, climatologists and insurers to try to understand what is causing these waves, and how they impact our planet. Along with the experts, she also speaks to the people who perhaps understand these waves the most: big wave surfers like Laird Hamilton who thrive on the white-knuckle rides these monsters deliver.
This is a fascinating book from an environmental standpoint, but I enjoyed the perspectives of the surfers even more (and this is a big part of the book). What motivates them to take such risks? How does it feel to ride a 100 foot wave? How do you get back on the board after you nearly losing your life? The Wave provides answers to these questions, and reading the book is as exhilarating as it is enlightening.
For the kids (age 4-8)…. Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
Dog is a book lover. He decides to open a bookstore, but no one comes. Someone comes by for tea and leaves in a huff when he tells them he doesn’t sell tea. Someone comes in for directions, but doesn’t want to buy a book. Without any customers, Dog is bored—until he remembers he can read his books and be transported to far off places. And when a real customer finally comes, he gets to do his favourite thing—share the books he loves.
This is a charming story (for book lovers of all ages) and Jane adores it.
*Are your loved ones reading eBooks? These are all available in eBook format, and you can gift those too!