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Best Gift Book

I've really enjoyed reading your recommendations for a Red Room author's book in the comments below. I hope as you read what other Red Roomers have written, you'll find great gift ideas for every book-lover you know, and maybe a great read for yourself, too.

As a reminder, I asked commenters to include:

1. The title and author of the book, which for this feature only must be listed on Red Room. (We'd love to read about your other recommendations on your blog.) If you're having trouble finding a particular book on Red Room, please try using one of the following features:

  • The search box in the upper right hand corner of every page. Even if you're not sure of the exact spelling, the feature will give you suggestions and probably lead you to the right page.
  • The author listing page has every author on Red Room listed alphabetically.
  • The books listing page is most useful for searching for genres in which your recommendation might be listed, the most popular books and the ones most recently added, and our editors' picks.

2. A link to the books page on Red Room. For example, the link to the book I recommended is http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/hannah-is-my-name. You can get that by going to the book's page on Red Room, copying the URL from your browser, and pasting it directly into your comment.

3. Just a sentence or two about why you're recommending this book.

If you've made your recommendation but don't see your comment here, it's probably because you recommended a book that isn't displayed on Red Room. Please feel free to email uswith any questions about this, thanks again. and Happy Holidays!

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." -Garrison Keillor

-Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Red Room


85 Comment count
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Hannah Is My Name by Belle Yang

To get the ball rolling, I'm recommending Hannah Is My Name, http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/hannah-is-my-name, by Belle Yang. This touching children’s book (illustrated by the author) tells the story of a Chinese immigrant family’s struggle to make a home in America from the point of view of their little girl, and would make a great gift for the child with whom you like to read.

Huntington Sharp, Editor, Red Room

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What to choose oh what to choose


Since I’m limited to a single sentence and title, that means I can’t include both Ishmael Reed’s Another Day at the Front and Amy Tan’s The Opposite of Fate plus my own ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love or Belle Yang’s Baba, A Return to China Upon My Father’s Shoulders, so I am going to have to say Tannarive Due’s The Living Blood and leave it at that :-).

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Walk On, Bright Boy by Charles Davis

Set in Medieval Spain, this story of a boy's first confrontation with political and religious corruption strives less for historical accuracy than for universal applicability. Written with lovely economy and sensitivity, it is reminiscent of a fable or of a young adult coming-of-age tale. At the same time, however, it is also complex in its exploration of human foibles and philosophies.

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Best Book

I recommend French Dirt, by Richard Goodman. It's a wonderful collection of essays about an American trying to start a garden in the south of France.

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Best Gift Book

Someone Not Really Her Mother, by Harriet Scott Chessman, is a truly wonderful book about mothers and daughters and memories and loss. As the oldest matriarch of the family struggles with alzheimers, lapsing into her sad past in war torn Europe, her daughter and two granddaughters search to learn where they have come from, as well as where they are going. At this holiday season, this book reminds us of the power of these family ties. It is a book to be read by all mothers and daughers, and by the men in these women's lives. Maud Carol Markson

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Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz

Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz

Southern Living calls my new release one of "our favorite picks for readers on your Christmas list (a gift to yourself is just fine too.)"

*This book is great for women of all ages, and even those 14 and up to begin a dialogue about the difficult choices women must face. I suggest women reading it first and then passing it along to a teen to discuss.

Saving Cicadas is the revelatory and haunting journey of a struggling single mother from South Carolina who discovers she's expecting another child--told through the voice of an 8-year-old girl. A moving narrative about family, loss and longing, and the transforming power of truth, Saving Cicadas is an eloquent reminder that life is a miracle—and even the smallest soul is a gift.

"will leave you awe-struck" - author Beth Webb Hart

"illuminating" - Fireside Books & Gifts

"marvelously memorable" - Publishers Weekly

"powerful and thought-provoking" - Charisma Magazine

"do NOT miss this novel." - Fresh Fiction

Buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595545034?ie=UTF8&tag=rrbuybox-20

Powell's Books: http://www.powells.com/partner/32568/biblio?show=trade+paper:new:9781595...

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781595545039

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Best gift book

I'm recommending my book, The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns, because this year (2009) marks the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth and because, as MacArthur Fellow Stuart Dybek notes, the book "convincingly conveys Burns as a man of his time, while opening up the lyrical beauty and energy of his work in a way wholly accessible to a contemporary reader." Arnie Johnston

Quality Paperback with French flaps  •  $18.95  •  332 page Glossary of Scottish Terms  •  15 Period engravings FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ORDER COPIES OF THE WITCHING VOICE: WINGS PRESS  •  627 E. Guenther  •  San Antonio, Texas 78210  •   Ph/fax: (210) 271-7805  •  www.wingspress.com mailto:milligan@wingspress.com

Available from all major wholesalers and jobbers, and most retail book stores. Distributed to the trade by the Independent Publishers Group  •  www.ipgbook.com

"For those who know Burns only for 'Auld Lang Syne,' 'To a Mouse,' or a yearly excuse to raise a pint on January 25, this atmospheric, dialect-rich retelling of his life winningly fills in the blanks."  Library Journal, January 2009

"Johnston writes the novel with heavy inspiration from Robert Burns' style, and takes it to new grounds. Riveting reading, 'The Witching Voice' is a good novel about a poet turned revolutionary."  Midwest Book Review, February 2009

"'. . . Johnston's novel is immensely readable and entertaining, if you have a high tolerance for scalawags and rapscallions, of which Burns apparently broke his own mold.'  Buy it."  National Post, February 2009

"Give it a chance. You'll be glad you did."  Myshelf.com, February 2009

“'The Witching Voice' is available from Wings Press in a quality paperback edition at $18.95. With 15 period engravings, it is a handsome book and a great gift for lovers of history, poetry and Scottish heritage."  The Murray Ledger, February 2009.

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Best Gift Book

I’m recommending "Ghost Orchid" by Red Room author D.K. Christi (http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Orchid-D-K-Christi/dp/1603181369/ref=sr_1_1?...) Christmas brings out the romance in us. You will enjoy "Ghost Orchid" that blends the beauty in nature with the inner beauty of finding love.

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The Art of Living:The Dalai Lama, Michael Douglas, M.V. Llosa...

I'd like to be terribly cheeky(!) and recommend, 'The Art of Living: a Practical Guide to Being Alive' - a cross-section of voices from diverse cultures worldwide on what it means to be alive - which I compiled and edited recently, for the simple reason that both my royalties and the publisher's profits are being donated to 'Green Cross International', the NGO founded by Mikhail Gorbachev (www.greencrossinternational.net.) and Christmas is a time for giving!! http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/the-art-living-a-practical-guide-being-alive

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One Life to Give

Well, I'm going to recommend a book that I helped to write, but that is actually my co-author's story. One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others is an inspirational story about one family's survival of Siberian Exile during World War II. My co-author, Andrew Bienkowski was five when Stalin banished his family to Siberia from their Polish homeland. He watched his grandfather starve to death on purpose so that the children would have enough food to survive the long winter. That sacrifice informed Andrew's whole life, which he has spent (after their miraculous escape from Siberia) giving back in his years as a clinical psychotherapist in the US.

You can preorder from Amazon now for only $10:



Mary Akers

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Best gift book--for pet lovers

"The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats" by Amy D. Shojai

Using such everyday items as an ironing board, Saran wrap, a condom or turkey baster, the book explains how to treat minor to life-threatening medical issues with advice from more than 80 emergency room veterinarians. This is a book pet lovers pray they'll never use, but know they need--and covers 150 emergencies: from gunshots, snakebite and hangnails, to poisoning, hit-by-car emergencies, skunk encounters and jellyfish stings. Used as a required text for veterinary technicians--home medical care at your paw-tips.

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Micah Perks, We Are Gathered Here

Micah Perks' novel, We Are Gathered Here, is a wonderful novel, set in 19th-Century America, told in gorgeous, lyrical, powerful language, about a group of strong, feisty, believable women.

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The Power of Now

After successfully resisting the temptation to use this opportunity to promote my own work, I've decided to recommend "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. The reason is simple. No book has changed my life more. We all want to be happier, more comfortable, more at peace. What could be a better gift than a tool to help us get there?

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Ice Song, by Kirsten Imani Kasai

Ice Song is an original, well written, fantasy novel filled with sensual, beautiful imagery and a plot that surprises and excites. But the heart of the story is what is most compelling: a mother's quest to save her children. http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Song-Kirsten-Imani-Kasai/dp/0345508815/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

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]Open Interval[, by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

I recommend Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon's recent poetry collection, ]Open Interval[. A finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in Poetry, ]Open Interval[ is a lyrical, haunting medidation on loss and longing -- the distance between the self and the beloved (the husband, the experience of freedom, the feeling of satisfaction) as measured in the pulsations of stars.

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Best Gift Book


A love story set in a village where millions believe the Mother of God appears to heroine, Anna Babic, and two other visionaries on a daily basis. Based on Marian messages received by contemporary Medjugorje visionaries, the Blessed Virgin's communications center around the "Christmas story" and her Son's purpose on earth. Per one Red Room reviewer: "The story within Rose of the Adriatic can appeal to the tastes of many readers: the concept of a seemingly impossible romance acts as the foundation for the work and will definitely attract romance fanatics, and the faith basis for the romantic connection will likely interest those readers interested in books that serve to strengthen their own faith-based convictions. Also, for those whose faith is currently being tested by trial or for any individual who wishes to provide support for an already strong and growing faith, Rose of the Adriatic is an ideal reading."

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The Face in the Mirror

The Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age. (Prometheus Books) This anthology offers poignant, funny, surprising essays by twenty authors, including Malachy McCourt, Beverly Donofrio, Joyce Maynard, Leon Whiteson, Laurie Stone, Sandra Gulland, Jayne Ganahl, Alan Dershowitz, Barbara Abercrombie, Aimee Liu.  Edited by Victoria Zackheim.



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Mirror Blue, by Thomma Lyn Grindstaff

Mirror Blue -- -- a literary love story about the challenges of a relationship in which there exists an age difference of twenty years. Isaac is Aphra's first chance at love. She's his last. Of Mirror Blue, a recent reviewer wrote, "When you think Mirror Blue, think longing, waiting, charm, humor, deep thoughts, intrigue and heartbreak via characters you easily grow to love and root for, in pages that flow like a dream of delights on many levels, written in highly original, often poetic prose, with a plot that keeps you rooted and rapt from the first sentence to the last."

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My Husband's Sweethearts

I would recommend Julianna Baggott's My Husband's Sweethearts. 

 Published under a pen name I reviewed this book (check my blog) and found it beautifully written, amazingly funny and absolutely true all at the same time.

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The Book of Qualities

I recommend The Book of Qualities by Ruth Gendler.  -- a book whose beautiful words and drawings are a gift to any reader's heart. Ruth's prose poems are also perfect models to use when working with students on personification.

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The Ski House Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2007)

My cookbook--because of its wintry themes--makes most of its annual sales during the holidays. And the wonderful and independent Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, has been instrumental in the book's success.


Happy cooking!


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Lincoln Wisdom for the Perfect Gift !!

I would like to recommend my own dedicated gift book, "Worthy of Their Esteem: The Timeless Words and Sage Advice of Abraham Lincoln" as the perfect gift for the holidays. "I read it cover-to-cover and wished it wouldn't end.” -- Maureen Mackey, Reader’s Digest http://www.amazon.com/Worthy-Their-Esteem-Timeless-Abraham/dp/1604330511...

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The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl {New York Times bestseller}

In his most enthralling novel yet, the critically acclaimed author Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history’s greatest mysteries. The Last Dickens is a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous research that thrilled readers of the bestsellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow. Read first chapter excerpt here: http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/the-last-dickens#reviews

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Book Reccomendation

Sardinian Silver, by A. Colin Wright.

In recommending my own novel, I'd like to stress that it is primarily a work of literary fiction, while being a little "spicy": suitable particularly for young men going through the agonies of finding sexual satisfaction. At the same time, it describes Sardinia as it was in the 1960s, with far more primitive attitudes towards dating than today. There is a rich cast of characters, and descriptions of such things as the "bandit" village of Orgosolo. Reviews have been good: one says "this novel is without a doubt as good as one of Graham Greene's minor works" and I have also been compared with Lawrence Durrell. You can read more at http://www.sardiniansilver.com. You can order it at any bookstore, at http://www.amazon.com (or at any amazon site), at http://barnesandnoble.com, or at http://www.iuniverse.com. See also http://www.acolinwright.ca and http://www.authorsden.com/acolinwright.

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Finding Your Writer's Voice by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall

Books about writing abound, but this is one I return to as both a teacher and a writer because it is beautifully written, inspiring and practical.


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Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises: A Sexual Odyssey of the 70's

Immodestly, I recommend my new eBook novel just out on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle book, downloadable to most PCs. If your designated recipient is a person of a certain age who remembers sex before it was not potentially lethal or someone younger who would like to read about those times, this is the book. If instead of fiction, you would like to suggest a more practical book, how about my own Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex available at www.askisadora.com, autographed.

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Yes, I know: we are all cool and we all know Barry Gifford. Loved Wild at Heart and I know he did a bunch of other stuff. I'm not talking about passing literary flirtation, I'm crying out for wallowing, perverse indulgence. I hate to throw around words like "genius" and "visionary" because those should belong to the people who deserve them, like the Director of the 30-Second Pepsi Commercial Who Got a Three Picture Deal, or those cool people who on Entertainment Television offering witty and insightful commentary on What Brad Really Said to Angelina On Their First Date. Barry Gifford writes novels and short stories that are at the bedrock of human existence and not of this earth. How can someone be simultaneously over the top and understated? Tender and twisted? Paint complex and indelible portraits in a shimmering voice and keep himself out of the whole thing? What's he on, 47 books, and not a dud in the bunch? Funniest book yet unpublished "A List of Characters from Barry Gifford Books." Is there a word limit to this recommendation? Try Arise and Walk and spend time with the radio talk show "Prostitutes Who Talk to Jesus" then check into The Stars Above Vera Cruz and meet the Ropedancer and the other saintly cast offs. His Jack's Book is the best Kerouac and Beat biography ever. Somehow Barry conjures up book after book of the world's most preposterous losers and nutcases, and makes them smarter than all of us. Just how does he do this?

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Best book gift

What to buy this Christmas for a reluctantly single, late thirtysomething woman?

If all she really wants is to meet ‘the one’, then this book could hold the answers to her Bridget Jones dilemmas. Finding Mr Right by Annie Harrison is an inspirational anthology of frank, true-life experiences for the ‘woman of a certain age’ who is panicking that she may never meet her life partner or have a baby.


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Giving the Gift of Love, Support and Friendship

In the third book in the Tofu Ling Series, Tofu Ling and the Angel, Tofu becomes very ill and requires special medicine to get better. While sick in bed, Tofu can see into the artist’s shop and when he does he sees a beautiful angel on top of the Christmas tree. He is in awe over the beautiful colors that stream down from the tree lights onto her white fur. Unbeknownst to Tofu, a new family of mice moves in next door to his family. When Lila, the daughter of the new mice family, with fur as white as snow introduces herself to Tofu, he mistakenly thinks that she is the angel from on top of the Christmas tree coming to visit him. Children can learn how Lila befriends Tofu and shows him how to thank his family for the love and support they gave him during his illness.

This book is dedicated to three children who have or have had life threatening illness and portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to the charities of their parents choosing. We are hoping to raise a lot of money for these children's charities.

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Best Gift Book

If I may be so bold, I would like to recommend my recently published book, The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India.

My goal for writing this book was to bring more attention to the plight of India's 25 million orphans who live on the streets or in institutional homes; who are trafficked or abused. However, far from a depressing or hopeless book, I share the joy and inspiration that these children gave to me. I love any opportunity to spread the word about these children and their rights, so that more people can get involved in protecting them. It's uplifting and shows what we all CAN do to help children everywhere, and if you want a great motivation or heartfelt story about some amazing, beautiful children, then I invite you to get to know "my kids" in this book. Available at http://weightofsilence.wordpress.com/ - autographed copy!!

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Crazy for Kanji by Eve Kushner

The full title of my book didn't fit in the subject line! (Must mean it's too long!) The title is "Crazy for Kanji: A Student's Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters." You might think this book is only for those who want to study the Japanese language. It does indeed provide a great map for those trying to make sense of the chaotic writing system. But "Crazy for Kanji" is also for anyone who loves language and who wants to find the joy and fun built into words written with Japanese (and Chinese) characters. For instance, take the Japanese word for fireworks. The characters break down as "flower" + "fire"--a perfect and poetic way of describing fireworks! There's an infinite amount of pleasure to be found once you start cracking open these words, finding puns, insights, and even poetry inside! http://www.redroom.com/author/eve-kushner More info here: http://www.evekushner.com/writing/index.php?p=53

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A perfect one for my gift list

Thanks Eve for this wonderful suggestion.  This will work for my yoga teacher who has studied Japanese, and our friends who are Japanese, and our friends who love language!   Happy Holidays  Lauren John




"God created man because he loves stories" --Eli Weisel

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The Healing Power of Grief by Gloria Lintermans

While grieving we go through many firsts as important dates come up on the calendar. Whether it’s the first anniversary, birthday or holiday, it’s good to have coping strategies in place to rely on to help us cope. A thoughtful gift, THE HEALING POWER OF GRIEF provides these tools along with support, hope and understanding. The holidays can be a particularly difficult time. While we are used to being with our family members during this time, sadly, an important person in the family is missing. And while we take comfort in having family close—whom we depend on for support—often while in their midst we still feel sad or lost remembering past occasions and events because this holiday can be particularly ripe with upsetting memories.

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I ordered your book!

Hi, Gloria. Your book looks great. My friend just lost her husband on Friday, and when your comment popped up right after mine, it somehow seemed fortuitous, so I ordered her a copy. I'm sure it will help ease the grief that hasn't hit yet.

--Eve Kushner

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Bill Albert

I’d really like to recommend Bill Albert’s Castle Garden, an admirable stab at the Great American Novel that had the sheer chutzpah to engineer a meeting between Buffalo Bill Cody and Big Bill Haywood. Cowboys and Wobblies in one book? You’ve got to admire a man who can pull that off. Unfortunately, Bill’s not a Red Room author and, no matter how much time I spend banging on about him, nobody seems to listen. So I’ll recommend Lucia Orth’s Baby Jesus Pawn Shop. Haven’t read it, mind. But I trust my publisher! Please, though, get the Bill Albert, too. http://www.amazon.com/Castle-Garden-Novel-Bill-Albert/dp/1877946672 http://www.redroom.com/author/lucia-orth http://www.thepermanentpress.com/index.ihtml

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The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Rain Forest

A book by Ian McAllister which is full of astonishing photographs presented in a hardback coffee table size. The real treat however, is the text written about the wild wolves of the Canadian coast. The author visits the wolves unobtrusively for years and this is what he found. . a creature that is complex, social and incredibly fascinating. The book does not paint a romantic picture of wolves and the observations of them are honest and fresh. The information about the animal is more than current and all the people I know who are interested in wildlife at any level would love to own this one. It can be found on Amazon.com.
Linda Jo Hunter
Author of "Lonesome for Bears"

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Old School by Tobias Wolff

Only Tobias Wolff could make a book that starts with a third person plural point of view, a prep school no less, something wonderful. It's the perfect gift for your writer friends. While enjoying the short good read they'll experience a painless course in advanced narration.  When they see the narrator, nursing a terrible cold, watching visiting-writer Ayn Rand complain about snot-nosed kids they'll call to tell you it's their favorite gift.

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If You Need a Great Laugh

Read Larry Doyle's I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER; it's funny, fun and smart! (And if you spent your teen years watching teen movies, you'll crack up at the way he works the teen movie cliches into the novel in a way that isn't a cliche at all.)

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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Barack Obama

A primer on the course America was on prior to the current administration, along with an understanding of the thinking and character of President Obama; a message of hope to move the nation forward as a united country, one where "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are still ideals worth aspiring for.

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Best Gift Book

“Journey Into The Past” takes the reader to ancient castles in Germany. A search for clues of a 15th century romance culminates with a special gift of love.

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Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

A great gift for parents of young children, or even grandparents who are often puzzled by modern parenting. It is chock of full of mind-blowing "Ah ha!" moments.

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Gift Book for Those Who Want to Make Money While They Sleep

I recommend one of my own books for writers which is Career Success Without a Real Job: The Career Book for People Too Smart to Work in Corporations. This is an inspirational book that presents a work model for individuals who are too prosperous to do mornings and want to make money while they sleep. It makes a great giveaway for MLM firms to give to their associates or for people to give to friends who are "organizatinallly averse."

Several people have contacted me recently about how they are quitting their jobs to become writers after reading this book.

Table of Contents from Career Success Without a Real Job

Chapter 1: Life With a Real Job Will Set You Free
Chapter 2: Unreal Jobs — So Many Worlds; What to Do?
Chapter 3: Extraordinary Success Is Achieved by Ordinary People
Chapter 4: Get Creative — You Will Surprise Yourself and Change the World!
Chapter 5: It’s Not Just an Unreal Job — It’s a Real Business!
Chapter 6: Prosperity Comes When You Do the Right Things with Your Life
Chapter 7: The Work Model for People Too Prosperous to Do Mornings
Chapter 8: It’s All in How You lay the Game, Isn’t It?

I will be giving away over half the book as an E-book (in PDF format) on Creative Free E-books webpage at this link for only the next 48 hours.


Hopefully, this will encourage you to buy the whole book on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.

If you don't like my book after downloading the E-book version with over half the book, then I recommend John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.

This book is a treasure for writers who want to sell as many books as I have (625,000 copies worldwide). But as I joked with John when I met him in Las Vegas recently, "This book is really heavy. Once you put it down, you can't pick it up again!"

Ernie J. Zelinski

Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free  (Over 110,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)

and The Joy of Not Working  (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

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My recommendations...

For the memoir lovers

Kaylie Jones' Lies My Mother Never Told Me

Kaylie Jones is the daughter of James Jones, but she's also an accomplished writer in her own right. This is her story about growing up with a self obsessed mother and dealing with her own alcoholism.

Waiting for the Apocalypse: A Memoir of Faith and Family by Veronica Chater

A fantastic look growing up in a traditional Catholic family who are not thrilled about Vatican II and are trying to find a church to claim as their own.

I'm Down, Mishna Wolff

A hysterical memoir about a girl growing up with a father who is white who thinks he's African American.


For the Mystery lover

Among The Mad, Jacqueline Winspear

Another wonderful Maisie Dobbs mystery about how years later, World War I stil has an impact on the people Maisie helps through her private detective business.

For One Who Loves a Page Turner

No Time To Wave Good-Bye, Jacquelyn Mitchard

The sequel to The Deep End of the Ocean, Mitchard visits the Cappadoras again to see them in a moment of triumph, which turns into a harrowing time when the unthinkable happens to them again.

For your children

Gentle's Holler, Kerry Madden

The lovely story of Livvy Two, a girl growing up in 1960's Maggie Valley trying to figure out how to support her growing family.

For Your Teenager

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

This teen classic tells the story of Melinda, a high school freshman who cannot say what happened to her one summer night, and what is unsaid is more powerful than what is said.

Fifteen, Beverly Cleary

Jane Purdy just wants to meet a boy. Is that so wrong? A timeless tale of First Love.

The Fat Girl, Marilyn Sachs

Jeff can't stand the fat girl. Yet why is he wanting to help her? A wonderful story about how helping someone can slowly lead to controlling them.

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The Successful Retirement Guide

The Library Journal gave The Successful Retirement Guide a "starred" review, commenting: "The beauty of retiree Price's book is its simplicity—one can pick a chapter and find a latent interest that could be developed, from building a bird house to quitting smoking. Price gives the reader the opportunity to do that by providing the idea, the opportunity potential, and the resources for getting started. . . . it's an inspirational guide that will provoke people of all ages to engage in new ventures and discover what life can offer."

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Portraits of the Living Tao

Words by Stephen F Kaufman with photos by Peggy A Thompson. This wonderful 6 X 9 full color 44 page book makes the perfect gift for the holidays showing off the beautiful scenery and living nature of the Pacific Northwest accompanied by inspirational quotes.

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Old School by Tobias Wollf

Like Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman which I could not recommend because it is not on the Red Room, I have bought multiple copies of Old School for friends, sons, colleagues, students. This is a magnificent book - philosophical, literary, entertaining, disturbing. It dances on the edge of several genres and despite that, remains unclassifiable. When I finished it for the first time, I said to myself, "This man is a writer." What that meant to me is difficult to articulate. I think most writers would want to find that out for themselves.

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And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You by Kathi Kamen Goldmark

I'm recommending http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/and-my-shoes-keep-walking-back-you) ">And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You by Kathi Kamen Goldmark. “Oh sure,” you say, “recommend your wife’s book!” Ah, but the thing is, I fell in love with this book before I fell in love with its author. This humorous novel introduces you to quirky characters you’ll love and a world you won’t want to leave. This is a great gift for fans of America’s back roads and roots music.

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Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee

 I'm not recommending it because he's been very encouraging to me as a writer (although he has). I'm recommending it because a) it's shockingly well-written and b) his next novel, "The Queen of the Night," isn't out yet.

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I recommend "POWWOW,"edited by Ishmael Reed with Carla Blank. This short story collection spans 63 writers over 200 years of American writing,and is sure to give readers some writers who are their old favorites and introduces them to some new ones too.

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How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons

Even if I weren't married to the author; even if I hadn't learned to play "Oh, Susannah!" while helping with copy-edits; even if I didn't swoon over cute little books with bumpy red covers...I would recommend How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons by Sam Barry. It's funny, charming, surprisingly soulful, and actually will teach you harmonica basics as well as important tips for lightening up and being more playful in life--a lesson we all need. The price is low enough to add a harmonica to your gift and still come in under $30. It's perfect!