Every year my friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. Every year I say the same thing: good books; wool socks. Not necessarily in that order.
This year, I got some good stuff - tea from England, oranges from Florida, money from my mom - but none of it was what I asked for.
"Wool socks are so boring," people said.
"Nobody wants to give books to a writer," a relative told me. "It would be like we were setting up unreasonably high bar for your book." And then, I swear to god, he patted me on the head. Which, for those of you watching at home, is how Midwesterners participate in the soft tyranny of low expectations. (Also, I would like to say yet another prayer of thanksgiving that none of my relatives know how to work the internet.)
So I really wanted to write a post-holidays post on the really cool books that I received this year, but instead, I'm gonna talk about the books that I'm excited about - the books I can't wait to read.
1. I don't know if any of you have been reading the first two installments of the Prophesy of the Sisters, but book 3 comes out this summer:
And holy smokes, does that cover look pretty. I'll fully admit that I judge a book by its cover - at least at first. Also, by its font, the texture of its pages, its smell. All love starts with lust. Or at least it does with me. But these books are worth that first flush of desire. They're sly. Meaty. Heartbreaking. And I can't WAIT for the next installment.
2. Deathless, by Cat Valente
I've loved that woman's prose for years, but this? Russian folklore? Revolution? Mythology? Love, death and everything in between. Yup, I'm there. With bells on.
3. Native Star, by M.K. Hobson
Ah, steampunk meets the wild, wild west. Mine-dwelling zombies, a down-on-her-luck witch, and a fancy, Eastern warlock with something to hide. Snake oil salesmen, the expansion of the railroad, fast-talking cowboys, and a healthy dose of magic. I absolutely cannot WAIT to read this book, and I'm staring at the mailbox RIGHT NOW, waiting for Amazon to hurry up and bring it to me.
4. Mechanique: A Novel of the Circus Tresault
I mean, come on. Look at that cover! It's so pretty, I want to take it places and buy it things. But, even more, inside the covers is Valentine's sly, deft, luminous prose. (Full disclosure: I've already read this book, but it was a pdf. I want the real deal, baby. No internet-dating for this book lover!)
Now I realize that only one of those books is specifically YA, but one of the things that I love about the YA reader is that they refuse to balkanize themselves. They read across genre, across age groups, across culture and time and modes of reality. I'd really like to see a day in which books are no longer shelved according to type. The more we try to separate books, the more limited the conversation becomes. Books need to talk to one another. They need to influence one another. And they need to do this broadly - not only on the shelves and not only in classes or review pages, but in the brains of their readers.
So, here's my question: What books are you itching to read? What books do you REALLY FEEL that you should have gotten....but didn't?