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- American novelist
It’s challenging to select a book as a gift. Here are some recommendations.
Bookish gifts for the season
“Bookworm?” – A light-hearted laugh for book lovers, Jo Hoare’s tiny book gibes while it profiles over 20 kinds of book lovers, from the sci-fi fanatic to romance readers to “People you find at every book club.” It’s cute and beautifully illustrated; I recommend it for every book club member. Dog ‘n’ Bone Publishers.
“Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” is the just-published installment of Diana Gabaldon’s loved Outlander series. This is her first book since “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” six years ago. It’s a must for anyone who follows the series on television. This book is set in the American Revolution, during which the couple is again threatened with separation in time. For aficionados, you might pair it with the “Clanlands Almanac,” a road trip through Scotland by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish—cast members of the show.
“The Lincoln Highway” is a novel for serious readers — who weren’t deterred by length and completed Amor Towles’ “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Towles is a remarkable storyteller, and in this novel he pairs brothers Emmett Watson, 18, and Billy Watson, 8. Having just lost their family home, they decide to drive to California and start anew. That plan, however, is interrupted by fate, in the person of two escaped inmates who tag along and change their journey plans. Towles is able to layer his novels with different points of view. He has produced a classic, says Jenna Bush Hagar, who selected it for her book club. It’s not a quick read, but it is excellent.
“The Dutch House” is a fine book from Ann Patchett. Set over five decades, it will feel like a jaunt through family lives, and it’s very readable. “The Dutch House” was cited for excellence by many literary sources, including NPR and the Washington Post, both of whom named it a Best Book of the Year. I found it rich with character exploration.
“The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” is expensive but a must for serious Beatles fans and those who want to know the lyrics of Paul McCartney’s two-pronged career as a Beatle and later a solo artist with Wings. It’s all there — 154 songs, commentary and photos. This is a beautiful two-volume set. At $100, it may be a stretch for its intended recipient, making it a great gift.
“State of Terror” is the product of a unique pairing between Hillary Rodham Clinton and beloved mystery writer Louise Penny. A president’s tactical move to appoint a political enemy on his staff starts an international chess game with horrifying repercussions.
“Renegades: Born in the USA” is an open conversation between two greats — rocker Bruce Springsteen and former President Barack Obama. (One can appreciate the wry title, too.) The pair talk about life and music, and their love for homeland. Lots of photographs, thickly displayed with their discussion.
“Never” is Ken Follett’s latest novel, another epic/thriller set in the present day. If you’ve loved Follett’s era novels about the beginnings of civilization (“Winter of the World,” “The Pillars of the Earth”), you can predict the wonderful writing and tension-packed detail of this international thriller as Follett returns to a genre he mastered long ago.
Club meetings, events
Sterling author E. Raymond Tatten will read from “Sawyer’s Regret” and sign copies of his book at a 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 appearance in Sterling’s Conant Public Library. He will share the experience of writing a historical novel and self-publishing his work. He has three other novels. “Sawyer’s Regret” is historical fiction based on the actual capture of a 16-year-old Elias Sawyer in Lancaster in 1705. Native Americans took him, with his father, into Canada, where they utilized their knowledge of mill operations to start their own. Tatten will also discuss “Moving Willie,” recounting his life at age 9 in Lowell and Central Massachusetts. Registration is required; call (978) 422-6409.
Rachel’s Book Club at Thayer Memorial Library, Lancaster, meets Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m., and again Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. “We will discuss the appeal of Groundhog Day stories and look at gender roles, familial roles and how we judge the other people in our lives (for better or for worse),” said Rachel Rosengard, assistant director and adult services librarian. Call or stop in to pre-register. The club is reading “The Rehearsals” by Annette Christie. The public is welcome.
Deb Horan of Booklovers’ Gourmet hosts a poetry reading/book signing at her Webster store on Saturday Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. Featured is Joe Fusco Jr. of Worcester, with his latest collection, “Pondering the Pandemic During the Rust Years.” Contact the store at email@example.com to register. Horan said Fusco is a poet/humorist, and author of three books of semi-amusing poems and essays. He published “Hmm…That’s Different” in 2020.
On Dec. 12, 1 to 3 p.m., illustrator Ralph Masiello presents his latest in a series, “The Unicorn Drawing Book.” He will teach youngsters to draw with him. Ages 6 and up are recommended. Masiello has illustrated several children’s books, including “The Icky Bug Alphabet Book,” “The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book” and “The Flag We Love.”
On Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., The Greatest Book Club Ever will discuss “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty. The SciFi Book Club discusses “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett at 6i:30 p.m., Dec. 7.
Send meeting dates and book-related news to firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is published twice monthly.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Read It and Reap: Gift ideas for book lovers in your life