Christmas is almost upon us. It’s time to be gift shopping. If you haven’t managed to find the perfect gift for your readers out there, here are a few suggestions for adult readers.
1. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gillman. Widowed and sick of volunteer work Mrs. Pollifax takes her doctor’s advice to fulfill her lifelong ambition and goes to Langley Virginia to the CIA to apply for work as a spy. This book is fabulously humorous and is the beginning of a delightful series featuring the ever resourceful Mrs. Pollifax.
2. Finding Moon by Tony Hillerman. For those of you familiar with his mystery novels set in the Southwest, this is a bit of a departure. It is set in Southeast Asia. Moon Mathias goes to rescues his brother’s child during the midst of turbulent 1975. Drugs, wars, and this unknown child have Moon discovering all sorts of things about himself.
3. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. Spinster Amelia Peabody finds herself free of all male shackles (in the late 1800s) when her father dies and leaves her his fortune. She indulges herself in a trip to Egypt to see the things she’s studied with her father. She finds all the friends, romance, and danger any spinster could dream of on her trip. It’s a madcap romp full of wit. Even better, it’s the start of a long and highly humorous series.
4. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers. No mystery lover has had a complete experience unless he or she has read the Lord Peter novels. Lord Peter has a knack for investigations and often lends a hand to his friends and Scotland Yard. In this book he goes undercover at a newspaper in an effort to solve his newest case. Wonderful book, and one of many Lord Peter novels.
5. What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! by Agatha Christie. Not that Agatha Christie can really go out of style, but I imagine that there are a few mystery lovers out there who haven’t read any of her books. This is a great one. Mrs. McGillicuddy witnesses a murder on a train passing hers and enlists the help of the gentle old Miss Marple. The solution is quite terrific. I’ve read it a number of times and enjoy it every time. The original British title is The 4:50 from Paddington.
SCIENCE FICTION or FANTASY
1. Asimov’s Mysteries by Isaac Asimov. This collection of short stories qualifies as Science Fiction. From the writer who gave us I, Robot and all sorts of books, including the Foundation series. This collection of short stories has humor, science, and even some romance wrapped up in it. I’ve read several of his books and I’ll admit some of it was over my head, but these stories are great and easy to read.
2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. The first novel in the Inheritance Cycle is meant for young adults, but that is no reason to miss this addition to the world of fantasy. Eragon goes hunting in the forest one day and finds a smooth rock that changes the destiny of the world. The rock isn’t just any rock, it’s a dragon that will only hatch when it finds the one person who can ride it. I love this series, and I can’t believe the first book was written by Paolini when he was fifteen! If you saw the movie based on this book, please don’t judge the book accordingly. It’s not even half as good as the book!
3. The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley. Krystal finds herself in a life and death struggle with an evil tyrant who is bent on making her his Queen. In a land of magic, she must resist until her true love can rescue her or her sword skills become such that she can rescue him…. It’s a romantic fantasy that I enjoyed quite a bit. I could have filed it under romance, but there is magic involved!
4. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. This is the first book in the Wheel of Time series. It’s almost a chore to plow through the first half of the book, but if you manage than you enter a world of fantasy and suspense. If your reader has read the first book then the rest of the series is a must read (in chronological order or nothing makes sense!) Any of the books in this series is a great gift for a fantasy fan. Get involved in the lives of Rand, Egwene, Mat, Nynaeve, and Perrin. It’s a treat. And hubby, if you are reading this I still need books 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12,and 13.
5. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. New this year, Steelheart is also a book written for young adults, but definitely can be appreciated by adult fantasy lovers everywhere. As a matter of fact Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors that I discovered this year. In the book people with powers (called Epics) rise to power after Calamity and one lone group called the Reckoners is out to preserve the world from this power-hungry Epics. AMAZING!
1. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. When I read this in college my professor told me that this was the book that created the mystery genre. As a genuine lover of mysteries I read it ravenously from the beginning to the end, and even all these years later I remember the book. Rachel Verinder receives the Moonstone, a yellow diamond stolen from a shrine in India, for her 18th birthday. That evening it is stolen again. The suspects are few, including two suitors, but the solution eludes everyone. There are so many elements that make this a book to read: unrequited love, betrayal, knavery of all kinds, and some Indians trying their hardest to get their stone back. It’s a beautiful beginning to a great genre! The best part is that you can give it to yourself for free if you have a kindle or a kindle app by clicking on the title!
2. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. This was one of the few books I bought myself when I was in high school. I’d seen the movie and loved it. The book is even better, even if Alexandre Dumas forgot he made d”Artagnan a musketeer at one point. Everyone should know the story, but knowing the story and reading the book aren’t the same. The book is better. In fact it was one of the few books that I took with me when I moved to Guatemala. You can get it free for kindles too!
3. The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck. After having a friend assign a character to me in The Good Earth as part of an assignment I read it trying to figure out if I should be insulted or not. (For the record I’m not sure but I think I was the plain but eminently faithful wife who only wants one gem.) Anyway it got me started on a Pearl S. Buck kick. My favorite books is The Living Reed which takes place in Korea. It spans the years between 1881 to World War II and tells of a family who is dedicated to preserving their homeland. It is not free for the kindle, but worth the money to read it.
4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I had to work an Austen in here somewhere! Between Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, this novel sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Like its sisters, this book is a gem of 19th century writing. Fanny Price is taken in by her rich aunt and uncle who plan to raise her. From being a project she has a painful row to hoe until she becomes dearer than their two daughters. Just a snippet to whet your interest: “The grandeur of the house astonished, but could not console her. The rooms were too large for her to move in with ease; whatever she touched she expected to injure, and she crept about in constant terror of something or other; often retreating towards her own chamber to cry; and the little girl who was spoken of in the drawing-room when she left it at night, as seemingly so desirably sensible of her peculiar good fortune, ended every day’s sorrows by sobbing herself to sleep.” Sigh! What’s not to love about this book! It’s even free for kindles.
5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Everyone, male or female , should read this book. Four sisters growing up during the Civil War face challenges as they mature and come into their own. The friendship between Jo and Laurie and later the courtship between Jo and Professor Bhaer make this a page turner. I laugh and I cry every time I read it. And the books that follow it are equally good. The Kindle edition is also free!
Don’t forget to check for Part Two, coming in a couple of days!