105 Ways to Give a Book

Holiday Review

So, how have your holidays been going? Personally, I’m wiped out. I could sleep in for a week — which coincidently, is what I can do for the next seven days. The kids don’t have school, and I’m only working in the afternoons a few days. And boy, do I need the rest.

The Lump of CoalI had meant to come back with a holiday message after Festivus, but I got steamrolled by family and Christmas preparations. Had I made time, I would probably have referred to Lemony Snicket’s new Christmas book, The Lump of Coal, and its perfect beginning sentence:
The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles.
I may have even gone so far as to quote the end of the book, which doesn’t give the story away but can only add to your desire to own the book by making this great statement:
It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season — like all the other seasons — is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that’s the end of this particular story.
And then I would have wished you a Merry Christmas and/or a continued Happy Hanukkah.

But I didn’t do that. I was absorbed in my delightful niece, because when two-year old children come on the scene, they are all-consuming of time and energy. But in a good way. We had a wonderful Christmas being together with my family. The fourth grader has barely taken off the earphones to her new iPod shuffle, and the seventh grader was so happy with her simple cell phone, that I thought she might start jumping on the couch. Which would have certainly compromised her carefully maintained teenage dignity. The girls and my husband, finding leather Prada purses in the thousand-dollar range, thoughtfully bought me a Prada fragrance which I now love. My husband spent the days finding time for new video games Pure and Lost, and we all gathered to watch the complete DVD — with musical commentary — of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Hold it. Book blog. Bookwise, I received Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and Lost on Planet China or How I Learned to Love Live Squid and The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World and One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good. (Okay, I bought that one myself in desperate hope of change for the new year.)

On Saturday, I chatted online with the other members of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book panel, and we made our final shortlist. A database that we were using made the discussion more focused, but not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I’m very proud of our final shortlist and its variety of literary tone, artistic style, reading range, and even genre. The announcement of all the titles will be on January 1 on the Cybils site. I know — I’m all a-tingle, too.


Boni Ashburn said...

Isn't The Lump Of Coal simply lovely?! I received my very own copy in my stocking... gosh I wonder who put it there. Okay, I gave it to myself, but I couldn't resist- we all need a good laugh around the holidays :)

Z-Kids said...

Eager to see the Cybil lists!

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy One Year to an Organized Life. Please feel free to e-mail any questions to me at zenorg1@aol.com...and that goes for your readers as well!

Happy New Year,
Regina Leeds

teacherninja said...

My new time-management guru id Mark
Forster and his Do It Tomorrow bk--he helps find the time to organize, but doesn't help find where to put it. I've heard good things about a book called It's All Too Much! though. Have a great new year.

Anonymous said...

I love that lump of coal. And Dr. Horrible.

The whole month of December was completely crazy for me right up until Christmas Eve, when everything slowed down and my peeps and I spend a lot of time hanging out and relaxing. It was bliss. I hope you get some time to relax this week, too.

Anonymous said...

Loved that lump of coal book. I must go back and add it to my list of books read this year, because I totally read (and loved) it. Must buy the Sing-Along Blog for hubby as a belated present. And because I really, really want it.

Can't wait to see your CYBILS list. I know what's on mine, of course, but that's all I know. Oh. Wait. I did see another list earlier today. I love being an organizer.

Vivian Mahoney said...

It takes one year for an organized life? Sigh.

We're finalizing our discussion on the non-fiction books. Can't wait to see your final list!

Happy New Year!

Charlotte said...

Congrats on having finished your list! us sci fi/fantasy folks are still frenziedly reading...