Now is the time when thoughts turn to giving books as holiday gifts. Last year, I posted at ForeWord Magazine's Shelf Space blog Liz's Tips for Giving (and Receiving) Books. (Shelf Space changes its guest blogger each month; this month it is Jen Robinson.)
While reading Mitali Perkins' post, I've Got The Royalty Statement Blues, one thing jumped out: Mitali wondering about the impact of the release date on sales, and then in comments the discussion turned to one about marketing.
One of the pluses about blogging about books? We aren't confined to release dates of books. Oh, yes, we do blog new releases, and we do get advance copies. And we like it. And it's great to review those books.
But, I believe that one of the strongest things about book blogging is because we are blogging for readers, we blog about books published anytime. So we can bring attention to books at any time. (Gail Gauthier has blogged about this in great detail.)
So, Dear Readers, here is my idea for book giving this year.
Give something not published in 2008.
Give something that you loved, loved, loved, yet, somehow, was overlooked; something that did not get on any of the awards lists, but, in your humble opinion, should have been on those lists.
Any suggestions for titles?
Of course, you all know my love for Ellen Emerson White's books. But technically, one of her books was released this year, so I won't include her. (Notice how I'm including her, anyway? It's my blog. I can do that.)
If you don't mind hunting down used books, my recommendation is to give Norma Johnston books, particularly the Tish Sterling books.
What do you suggest?
I recommend a gift set (self-created) of Southern Ladies and Gentlemen and Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, both by Florence King. They are old and a little dated -- which Southern writer will pick up the mantle of lovingly skewering the archetypes of his or her homeland to write a long-overdue second edition of SL&G? -- but they are laugh out loud hilarious, and a wonderful window onto a very particular world. I would re-read my own copies right now but I just loaned them to a friend! OMG, just checking her stats on Amazon, I see that she has a new-ish book out, of commentary from The National Review and The American Spectator. Awesome.
One of my daughter's favorites is Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards.
Other possibilities are gift sets to introduce young readers to classics like Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie.
Two other favorites around here are Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter.
Maybe you were thinking of things slightly more recent - but these are what came to mind.
SB, I have never heard of that author!
CM, All suggestions are good, but what I'd really like to see are books that people aren't going to know about or find on their own. So the current books get buzz, as do award winners; and most people are going to know LHOTP/Anne. What I was thinking was, what about the authors/books people don't know about right away? While LHOTP is a good gift, I think what I'm looking for is the LHOTP-type of book that most people wouldn't know about, say Lantern in Her Hand to go old, or Nothing Here But Stones by Oswald to go more recent.
And Both Were Young, one of the L'Engle books that always gets overlooked
The War Between the Classes
The Philharmonic Gets Dressed
Beyond Safe Boundaries
In Lane Three, Alex Archer
Time Enough For Drums
How Tia Lola Came to Stay
Spacer and Rat
The Amethyst Road
Jason & Kyra
Last Dance on Holladay Street
The Manny Files
I'll stop now.
I mean it.
I really like Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2007). It's about immigrant teenage girls working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, and one upper class teen, and how their lives intersect. It's got the suffragist movement, tragedy, heartbreak and history - a great combination!
Okay - I'll try again to give not brand new, but more or less under the radar book ideas.
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Larklight by Philip Reeve
I'm afraid that's all I've got at this point. Most of what is on the kids book shelves are either new, parts of series or by authors that don't need a nudge at all: Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Rick Riordan - or books that have recently been made into movies like Spiderwick.
My all-time favorites that I recommend again and again for teen girls are Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. Sure, everybody loves them, but they're older and quote possibly two of the most realistic fiction books I've ever read.
I might give the first Octavian Nothing book as a hostess gift. It certainly wasn't overlooked, but I've seen discussion as to whether or not it's really YA and whether it would have had a wider readership if it had been published as adult fiction. I know in my local library it's only been taken out twice, once by me and once by a friend of mine my age. The YAs won't touch it, and I'm guessing the library won't purchase the second book as a result.
So while the book got a lot of critical attention, I don't know how many people actually read it. Giving it to adults could give it a new life with another group.
Hmm... pretty much anything by:
Carol Ryrie Brink (but not necessarily "Caddie Woodlawn"- I'm thinking something like "Bad Times of Irma Baumlein," "The Pink Motel" or "Andy Buckram's Tin Men")
Diana Wynne Jones
Jessica Day George
And I second "Understood Betsy."
Whew! I could go on...
I third Understood Betsy (I read it four or five times between the ages of eight and thirteen or so, and I still have my original copy. I also second The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. I wish Julie (Andrews) Edwards was writing books like that now, instead of the Dumpty things. I would also buy Billie Standish Was Here for teen readers.
Okay, I loved the links in this post, so thanks for that!
For my gifts this year, I'm giving copies of SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchette (loved the character interactions) and THE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan (not overlooked by any means but deserves every bit of pushing it can get, just gorgeous illustrations).
But I also always recommend FEED by M. T. Anderson and SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU by Peter Cameron.
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