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Holiday Book Meme


You are all buying books for gifts, right? Good. Well, here’s a book meme that will give you some shopping ideas.

1. Name five books that you read this year that would make excellent gifts.
a) The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. It’s so well-paced and unpredictable. It’s a prickly story of a marriage gone awry—and dangerous. Insidious.
b) Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Perfect gift for someone whose passion is travel. It’s a memoir but also a vast armchair travel book of the world.
c) The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. For lover of European literature. A man’s heartfelt memoir to a bygone era that had shaped him as a person. It’s poignant to read about how Hitler’s seizure of power represents the absolute, nightmarish opposite of every value Zweig believed in.
d) The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse. A creative novel about a bookstore that would only sell “good literature.” Members of an elite bookstore’s clandestine selection committee are assaulted. It invokes the debate of what superlative work in the literary sphere constitutes.
e) Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges. Just read it, he will blow your mind.

2. What’s your favorite holiday book?
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In recent years I have taken up with mysteries. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie is also a favorite.

3. Tell us about your fabulous local book store.
San Francisco is blessed to have many local bookstores. One is Aarvark Books, an older joint with great selection of used books, especially fiction. They have a beautiful residence orange tabby, Owen, who always comes sit on my lap while I browse.

4. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
It’s already happening, and I’m very excited: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

5. When you go book shopping for other people, do you buy yourself a book too?
I never walk out of the bookstore empty-handed. There’s this running list of books to be acquired in head.

6. Which author do you wish would write faster because you can hardly wait to read more from them?
Gillian Flynn. I absolutely love the way she builds up suspense and tension in her books.

7. What author did you discover in 2014 that you think everyone should read?
Mark Pryor is a relatively new comer in mystery/thriller genre. I discovered his book just cold turkey. The books are all set in Paris (how can you resist?) with the chief of security at the US Embassy as the lead.

8. What book did you read as teen that you hated, but then loved when you reread it as an adult?
It’s a tie between Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

It’s The Time of the Year…


  • For debaucherous eating. With only four days between my birthday and Thanksgiving, I think I’ll have to give my diet a break. Eat-a-thon!
  • For lost of dinner engagement celebrating my birthday. The folks at Kincaid’s Seafood are very kind to send me a $20 coupon for my birthday meal by the waterfront.
  • For writing those Christmas cards. I have to mail them out before I leave. I’m old-fashioned and firmly believe in a personal greeting, in my own handwriting, with a seal and stamp affixed, to my family and friends.
  • For stocking up Moleskine notebooks when they are on sale at Flax. I like the narrow-ruled ones for reading journal, the ones with photo insert pockets for travel.
  • For shopping. Gifts for family and friends. It can get very time-consuming and tedious, but it warms my heart to imagine the smile on the recipients’ faces upon unwrapping the gifts.
  • For frantically getting my bearing on wherever I’m going. Like the rainforest and jungle in Malaysia this year!
  • For (as usual) browsing the bookstore everyday looking for bargains, ideas, unheard-of titles and recommendations from bloggers. I read twice as much as I normally do during the holiday season, just so to keep me spiritually and mentally fed but not physically stuffed!