My Christmas presents to myself came.
Yes, I do buy Christmas presents to myself. I have found that if I rely on others to determine what I'd like for Christmas, I end up with plenty of socks but little in the way of reading. So I chose to take matters into my own hands.
They include the following:
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. I cannot express how powerfully this book struck me. I listened to it on audiobook while practicing ballet. For those who have read it, you know the strange, dreadful power of the conclusion. I remember dancing and listening to it, then stretching and listening to it, then finally just listening, tears rolling down my face as the book ended. I confess I had a great shock when I received the print copy. As cunningly narrated as the audio version is, it neglects one detail: The Graveyard Book is illustrated! I look forward to many a happy rereads, gleefully examining the pictures. This is easily my favorite book by Neil Gaiman, and I recommend it highly to all ages but especially older teenagers-- not because of any content, but because the message is particularly true to us.
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis. Like The Graveyard Book, I read this one only a few weeks ago. It takes place at Oxford College in the year 2056, where historians now have access to time-travel technology in order to study events first-hand. (Absolutely!) This book is stunning. Willis greatly explores the social effects of science fiction. For example, if one could visit the future but not change or take back anything, what would the good be? Who would monopolize it? I highly recommend this one to mature readers because it can be incredibly gruesome in its portrayal of disease.
To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. The sequel-companion to the tragic, dramatic Doomsday Book, this book instead follows an intensely humorous route. I love this book even better than its predecessor, and I am particularly impressed that Willis mastered drama and comedy so effectively. Although this book is, to the best of my remembrance, entirely clean and suitable for readers of all ages, I don't suggest reading it before either Doomsday Book or Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, which inspired it.
Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb. I recently finished her wonderful Assassin's Apprentice and was ready to sink my teeth into the rest of her work when-- the horror!-- I realized that my library only has the first and the third book of this trilogy. Quitting was absolutely not an option, so I bought the pretty paperback. I confess I haven't actually read it yet. The books for the Blogger Awards are amazing, but I've had to read eight of them in a month, so I probably won't get to this until after I finish those.
Edit: I forgot to mention anything by Robin Hobb is definitely for older teenagers. Also, let it be known that mere minutes after writing this, I broke and started reading Royal Assassin. Oops!
And last but not least, Pictures of Hollis Woods, by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is the story of Hollis Woods, abandoned when she was only an hour old. Through a collection of sketches, she tries to understand where her life went wrong and where she can go from here. This is not my usual cup of tea; so much so that I actually didn't buy this book. Instead, a dear friend lent it to me, promising I would love it, and she was not wrong! Although less than two hundred pages, this book stamped over my heart in the most delightful way.
These are only five of the books from my wish-list. If I'm feeling particularly nice this year, and Amazon is feeling particularly cost-friendly, I might buy myself a few more for the actual day. How about you? Any books for Christmas?