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December 11, 2019

For My Husband - A List of Book Gifts

by Alison DeLuca

Just in case my husband needs Christmas suggestions, here's a whole list. Let's just say any of these under the tree would make this wife very, very happy:

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1. Rich People Problems by Kenneth Kwan (Amazon)

The literary merit of this trilogy is very small. However, I got sucked into Crazy Rich Asians, made my way through China Rich Girlfriend, and now I have to find out what happens.

Plus, I love that movie because of Akwafina. I'll watch anything she's in. Also, Constance Wu is always lovely. (I'm still mad about the whole writers' situation, though - shame on you, Warner Brothers.) And again, it's not going to win any awards, but I'll watch CRA anytime it shows up on my screen.

So I need the third volume just to find out what happens to Rachel Chu, lust after more food descriptions, learn about Indonesian society - and, okay, also snicker at descriptions of ridiculously over-the-top luxury. Can Kwan top his koi pond on a plane from China Rich Girlfriend?

There's only one way to find out.

2. Kindness and Wonder by Gavin Wonder (Amazon)

One trip through the Twitterverse makes it obvious why we need Mr. Rogers more than ever. His testimony in front of Congress made me realize how his philosophy of kindness was layered with genius and, of course, kindness.

So I want this book to learn more, to see more about the man who talked kids through Vietnam and the race riots, and did it all on their levels. He's amazing.

3. The Time-Traveler's Wife (Amazon) is an older book, and I've read it before. However, I need the physical copy to read and reread. Why? Because the author, Audrey Niffenegger, creates a complex timeline in which Henry and Clare, a pair of lovers, meet again and again.

Henry has Chrono-Impairment, which causes him to come 'unstuck in time' like Billy Pilgrim. Once he meets Clare, he travels to her past and meets her as a child, an adolescent, and eventually a woman.

Figuring out what happens when is a grand puzzle, and I'm blown by the author's skilled artistry. She has created a tapestry of time interwoven with love, and I need her book on my bedside table.

4. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Amazon)

Will I be able to survive this novel? Its plot centers on boys who are horribly abused in JimCrowe-era Florida. Can I read about these children and not lose it?

I don't think I have a choice in the matter. The Nickel Boys looks like it's already a classic, and I have to have it. If I survived The God of Small Things, The Road, and The Lord of the Flies, I can survive this. Nickel Boys looks like a really important novel, and I must have it.

5. Since I love to cook, my husband has to deliver a new cookbook under the tree. I'm addicted to Ree Drummond's food - it's delicious without being overly fancy, and she has some wonderful southwest takes on classic recipes in The New Frontier (Amazon).

Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving - for him. Just saying.

6. Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle (Amazon)

The last book of cartoons that I wanted was either Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes. Now Nathan Pyle has showed up with his big-headed aliens, who go offer their own take on everyday human activities.

An alien parent tells its child, "Imagine pleasant nonsense" before turning off the light. Upon seeing his friend with a suntan, another cries out "I crave star damage!"

7. With Greta Gerwig's film version of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Amazon) coming out, I want to reread the novel for the billionth time. I want to see the movie too, so my husband can add movie tickets to make this a truly epic present. I mean - Saoirse Ronan! Timothee Chalomet! Hermione! (I mean, Emma Watson.) This is all good.

Also it's a terrific book that too much sentimentality at times. However, the characters leap off the page and become real people that form perhaps the first soap opera in American literary history.

8. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is in its third season, and I'm obsessed. The clothes, the humor, the history, the language - even three seasons aren't enough. I searched for books set in that era, and found The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (Amazon).

This is a novel about Truman Capote's high-society women friends, in particular Babe Paley. I can't wait to dive into their relationship, not to mention her parties, clothes, and what I'm sure are fabulous apartments - with an S.

9. Recursion by Blake Crouch (Amazon) is about an epidemic of false memories. Call me weird, but I'm a sucker for sci fi about epidemics, and one that rearranges people's mindsets - are you really you if you can't trust your own memories? - sounds fascinating.

10. Magic for Liars by Sarah Galley (Amazon) is about those who have magical abilities, and those who don't.

One sister does and ends up a teacher in a school of magic. The other does not, and she becomes a detective investigating murder at that same magical school. Hello, Harry Potter for grown-ups!

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

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