Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deck Your Shelves...More Christmas Book Suggestions

It's book-buying time of year (we hope!) and at least a couple of other bloggers have great Christmas book suggestions:

check out Shannon Hale's (Goose Girl) recommendations and writer Matthew Kirby's.

And then, more book suggestions by me:

How could I have left Calvin and Hobbes off my list of boy books? The collected volumes of the comic strips by Bill Watterson (Something Under the Bed is Drooling, Sunday Pages 1985-1995, etc.) have been my ten-year-old's (and almost every one of his friends') standby for the last two years. Great vocabulary builder. You'll find kids will start asking you about things like Cubist art and sex-discrimination, so be prepared. Reluctant readers will happily wade through difficult words because they want to understand the joke, even if it seems too sophistacated for a kid that age. My 10 and 12-year-old quote from Calvin as much as from movies.

For the grown-ups (or serious teen-readers), how about a classic? Books I could re-read more times than I can squeeze in:

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Got me through the dark days of Junior High, along with Tolkien.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I know you've seen the movie(s), but have you read the book--lately? Not just romance, it's hilarious, even makes fun of the traditional romantic novel. Sparkling prose, dialogue any writer could learn from. It's brilliant.

Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy. If you gave up on Hardy after Jude the Obscure, try again. Nobody tells a story like Hardy and this is my favorite of his.

Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner. For the serious reader. I loved the allegory of modern humanity as a crippled, searching old man.

Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis. Stuns me every time.

Middlemarch, George Elliot. One of my all-time favorites. Love the BBC movie, as well.

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins. Gothic romance by a peer of Dickens, I read this as a spoof and can't help laughing out loud at random moments, more evidence that I'm more than a little crazy. It's also terrifying and I love the villain, Count Fosco. If you've seen the movie, don't toss out the baby with the bath. The book (as usual) is much better.

If you have your own recommendations for fabulous books, please feel free to add to my reading list with a comment. I love to hear what you think.

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