This Christmas there is at least one book I will read with my family, a tradition begun by my mom: Van Dyke's The Other Wise Man, a story beautifully capturing the essence of Christmas and of faith, telling the story of the fourth wise man, who never made it to the manger.
But giving books is also a family tradition. (spoiler alert for family: read no further!) I'm excited to give Timothy Egan's new book Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher to someone I love who also loves good writing and photography. Also, the Schwartzbook on workbenches and their many hundred year tradition (as well as instructions). My brother will get Fobbit, David Abrams's Catch-22 of the Iraq War. And my sister-in-law will unwrap Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams. Her mother also died of breast cancer, and Williams weaves in the story of her own mother's death with the wilderness exquisitely. And ordered for my nephew: C.S. Lewis's space trilogy. For my niece:Julie of the Wolves (a strong female character, set in northern Alaska...what more does a young girl need?)
We also recycle books for gifts, and we've been trying to thin our books (always so difficult). A couple making their way to other family members this year: A Secret Garden, to a young teenaged girl, and an Alexander McCall Smith book for my mother in law (one passed to me by my late step-mom). For myself, I've boughtWalking on Water, about creativity and faith, by Madeleine L'Engle, Letters of john Keats to His Family and Friends, and Here If you Need Me, a memoir of wilderness and healing (after being reminded of it through a podcast with Krista Trippett).
And here are recommendations I'm including in my newsletter (please sign up to receive your own copy!):
Some great books released by people I know this year: For adult adventure story lovers: The Storms of Denali, and Anything Worth Doing: A true story of adventure, friendship and tragedy on the last of the West's great rivers; for those who enjoy thoughtful essays: Bayham Street: Essays in Longing; for those appreciating spiritual memoir: Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis; for those appreciating new and tender poetry: A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country; for those over 60: A Season of Mystery: 10 Spiritual Practices for Embracing a Happier Second Half of Life; for those who would enjoy a travel anthology: Be There Now; for those enjoying comic mystery: Dial C For Chihuahua; for the kids on your list: Kayak Girl; for young adults: Devine Intervention. Support your local bookstore if you can, for double the gift giving pleasure!
Fun to talk books. Lots more in the new year, and until then, have a blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas!