This is my first Sunday Salon post in a long while, and it’s so good to be back!
I was lying in bed last night, thinking about what I would blog about for today’s Sunday Salon – I’ve found that’s one of the side effects of challenging yourself to 365 days of blogging: I actually think about what I’m going to blog about the next day. (Maybe I should challenge myself to 365 days of writing and see if it works the same way …)
Anyway, this title came to me: 52 Sundays of Bookish Bliss. What if I blogged about all the bookish things I’m grateful for each week? And since I’m supposed to be doing 365 days of blogging, I would have to blog for 52 Sundays anyway, right?
(The actual title that initially came to me was “52 Sundays of Bookish Gratitude”, but after some reflection, I thought that didn’t have quite the same oomph to it as “52 Sundays of Bookish Bliss” and anyway, for bliss to be bliss, I feel it has to be grounded solidly in gratitude.)
So here’s what’s made me bookishly blissful this Sunday – my gifts-to-buy list! I am blessed to have both readers and not-really-readers among my nearest and dearest, and every year, without fail, I try to give at least one book to everyone on my list. For some (the readers) it’s pretty easy; for others (the non-readers), this can be quite the challenge. This year I’m pretty excited because I have some great books lined up as gifts.
(Luckily, none of my nearest and dearest actually read my blog, so I figure it’s safe to write about the delightful books I’m going to be buying them.)
Here’s what’s on this year’s Gift List, so far:
My sister Dawn told me she’d love to read more foodie graphic novels, so I asked around on Twitter for suggestions. There were a lot of great ideas, and this is one I think she’ll both enjoy and be surprised by. Recommended to me by Sarah Hayes, Not Love But Delicious Foods by Fumi Yoshinaga looks like it will be a delicious addition to Dawn’s bookshelves.
There is a Japanese saying that goes, “Hana yori dango,” or “dumplings over flowers.” And no one is more of an advocate of this adage than mangaka Y-naga, a woman whose life revolves around her intense work and equally intense sleep schedule. The only thing that can rouse her out of this infernal cycle of deadlines and being dead to the world? Food. As Y-naga and her friends visit restaurants around Tokyo to satisfy their appetites, their individual approaches to food add an extra dimension to their witty and comical interactions. Friendships are explored and lifestyle choices revealed, all over exquisite culinary creations that prove that variety on an empty and open-minded stomach is, indeed, the spice of life.
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, by Christine Heppermann, is the book find I’m really really excited about. I came across it at Ana’s Things Mean a Lot, and as soon as I read her review of it, I knew this was something I would definitely be buying for my daughter, Hayley. Hayley is not-really-a-reader (except for graphic novels) – she’s a filmmaker and her life generally revolves around films, videos and manga. But as soon as I read about Poisoned Apples, I knew it would be something she’d enjoy. The examples of the poems Ana posted are beautiful, and the subject matter – the lives of girls and eating disorders “told through the lens of fairy tales” – is definitely one that will appeal to Hayley.
Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.
Christine Heppermann’s collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it “a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that’s caustic, funny, and heartbreaking.”
A few months ago, I picked up Raina Telgemeier’s Smile from the library. It was a hectic few weeks, though, and I wasn’t able to get to it before I had to return it to the library. In the meantime, however, I’d left it on the sofa (ever since we got rid of our coffee table in the living room, which was always too overloaded with books, everyone’s taken to leaving their books on the sofa and the armchairs), where Dylan, my 11-year-old, picked it up one morning and began reading it. He loved it! And as he’s one who enjoys re-reading graphic novels, when I saw this boxed set, which includes both Smile and Sisters, Telgemeier’s latest graphic novel, I knew I had to get this for one for him.
I’m still on the lookout for books for my older son, Sean, and my husband, Ward. Sean’s a reader, with very similar tastes to mine. Last year I bought him Stephen King’s Dr. Sleep, Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, Lee Child’s Never Go Back and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan, and he enjoyed reading them all. This year, though, nothing’s really jumped out at me as being a good read for him. I’m hesitant about King’s Revival, as it doesn’t sound like something Sean would really enjoy, and while there’s a new Jack Reacher book out – Personal – I have it in audio and didn’t find it as enthralling as the other Reacher novels I’ve read (I left off halfway and haven’t gotten back to it, actually).
And as for my husband, this year we’ve pledged to only purchase things on each other’s lists, and I haven’t received his yet, so I don’t know if there are any books on it. If there are, they’ll likely be cookbooks! Or books about opera.
So this is my gifts-to-buy book list. I’m pretty excited about my gift ideas so far, and I’m sure I’ll be adding more to the list as we head deeper into December.
What gifts are you buying the book lovers in your life this season?