I've been good, so far, for the most part. Okay, I've tried very hard to be as well behaved as can possibly be expected. At least, no one can call me out for being a Scrooge this year. Not one time have I said, "I hate Christmas." I certainly have not said it out loud. I know I have a week to go, but the tree is up, the Toys for Tots box is ready, and cookie dough awaits. My intention was to make a list of great gift ideas for the book-lovers in our lives, but I hope you'll forgive this somewhat selfish, slightly Scroogey blog. I'm tired of shopping and what's more, I'm tired of shopping for other people. When I walk into a bookstore or peruse the Press53 website, I have to admit, I'm thinking of no one but myself. So here's my Christmas list (or Hanukkah requests, or Kwanzaa wishes, or Solstice solicitations):
1. THE ROAD TO DEVOTION by Cameron Kent
Mr. Kent, for those of you who haven't read WHEN THE RAVENS DIE, is a great storyteller. I'm incredibly excited about his new book. Pre-Civil war Winston, morality disputes, a strong female protagonist engaged in romance with a French merchant, --it all sounds so unscrupulous and torrid and brave. I could definitely see myself holed up for a day or two at the mercy of this story.
2. ANGELS, THIEVES, AND WINEMAKERS by Joseph Mills
I LOVE to read, but anyone who knows me knows I love a big glass of red wine almost as much. Or white wine. And if we're going to have a glass we might as well bring the bottle. I've spent more than may fair share of time with fermentation tanks, certainly more than my fair share of time with winemakers. They are the stuff of great poetry. One can get lost quite easily in musings and metaphors when it comes to the journey from grape to glass. Joseph Mills, as author of a guide to North Carolina wineries, has a personal relationship with the industry I can sympathize with. I'm anxious to read what this poet can do with such prolific inspiration. Perhaps it can be packaged with a case of my favorite selections of wine--you know I love a theme...
3. LAST ONE HOME by John Ehle
Okay, this one is already on my bedside table, so I guess what I am asking for is TIME to read it. I have a crush on John Ehle. I'm kind of glad he doesn't do book signings very often, because I'd be torn between wanting to meet one of the greatest living American wordsmiths and my embarrassing blush as I desperately avoid looking him directly in the eye. I haven't picked up LAST ONE HOME yet because I know, not only will I get completely lost in it, neglecting my children, but his books haunt my thoughts. I find myself thinking of THE LAND BREAKERS all the time and I read that, had to be, two years ago! I've been trying to screw the courage to write a blog on MOVE OVER, MOUNTAIN since I started this little venture, but I'm too intimidated.
I have adopted a coping mechanism this holiday season. Whenever I'm feeling stressed, whenever the spirit starts to get the better of me, I sing "Deck the Halls with boughs of holly! Fa la la la la! La la la la!" It totally works! I can't wait to witness its effects when my mother-in-law visits! The other day I was volunteering in my daughter's class, helping the kids finish snowman hand print ornaments. When I left the teacher asked, "Why are all the children singing Deck the Halls?" I had to smile.
From me and mine to you and yours, Merry Merry Christmas--or Many Happy Returns of the Holiday Season or Bah Humbug (for those of you who work retail)! I'll see you as soon as the effects of New Year's Eve wear away!