Holiday Book Shopping: Ho-ho-hum?

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pin it button Holiday Book Shopping: Ho ho hum?

Usually I’m a fan of early one-stop-holiday-shopping in my local bookstore, where I’m sorely tempted to go with the “one for you, two for me” approach – but maybe not this year. Blockbusters threaten to crowd out the sleeper hits on the shelves in the coming months, turning this holiday season into the literary equivalent of the summer movie slump. As The Times reports:

The run-up to Christmas is always the most important season in the book business’s calendar, accounting for 25% of sales.

Now I enjoy action-packed movies and books as much as anyone (except possibly my dad, who’s read every John le Carré and can’t wait for Bruce Willis to Die Even Harder) but this season’s UK list seems like a bit much of the same old, same old:

Among those with new titles in the pipeline are Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton, Charles Frazier, John Grisham, Robert Harris, Stephen King, John le Carré and Thomas Pynchon.

Well, that’s my dad’s present done, but my mom (upstart sufragette that she is) tends to like to read a woman author every now and again. This year’s US release shortlist features a whopping couple of women authors, both well-established:

…in the all-important American market, publishers released Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder, Paint It Black by Janet Fitch, Imperium by Robert Harris, and Fear of the Dark by Walter Mosley, bestselling author of the Easy Rawlins detective series.

But what about the people on my book who want (shocking idea alert) wildly original books by hot new authors? The newcomers who dare compete with these big-ticket authors are – you guessed it – erstwhile celebrities.

Celebrities who have titles out for the holiday season include Adam Ant, Peter André, Gary Barlow, Rupert Everett and David Hasselhoff.

David Hasselhoff? Is this what we’ve come to, forced to reconsider cufflinks and gloves as viable holiday gift options? Not so fast: there are some very intriguing titles in the Blurb bookstore. Gift contenders on my list include Monstrous Moraines, which tells the tale of

…a concert pianist, his piano tuner, a piano, a corpse, a Valley girl (from the wrong valley), a desperate political fugitive, a born-again Buddhist – head deeper into wild mountains, at the end of which there is no food and no return – only the vast arrêtes and exposed ridges of Makalu, from which only one will return to tell the story. These are the last photos of that disastrous flight into stupidity and madness.

Valley Girls and political fugitives, starvation and madness? Now that’s my kind of action adventure. Then there’s the frostbitten-yet-heartwarming Journey to Iceland: Our first marathon in the beautiful country of Iceland by Michael Blais & Waleah Cook, who raced against the odds as part of Team Diabetes. And for more quiet, introspective journeys, I’m liking the looks of Sidewalks: Photographs by Liza Heider .

Keep those gift ideas coming, people…

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