We recently met with Santa Claus at the North Pole to work on a list of possible presents for book lovers. Here’s what we came up with.
For the Fiction Reader
You Came Back: A Novel by Christopher Coake (Grand Central Publishing), and Gone: A Novel by Cathi Hanauer (Atria).
Two of the best novels of the year, both dealing with loss. A man’s life is irrevocably changed when his young son dies, and a wife and mother is lost when her husband drives the babysitter home and never returns.
Sacrifice Fly: A Mystery by Tim O’Mara (Minotaur Books)
This may be the best debut crime novel by anyone since Think of a Number by John Verdon. A disabled NYPD cop turned public school teacher decides to solve a crime that involves one of his former students.
A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts by Sebastian Faulks (Henry Holt)
A story is told through the lives of five different human beings who live in different times, including the past and the future (2029). Those who loved the innovative novel American Music by Jane Mendelsohn may be drawn to this one.
Blackberry Winter: A Novel by Sarah Jio (Plume)
A perfect cold case story for cold weather reading. As a late-Spring snowstorm hits Seattle, a reporter tries to get to the bottom of an 80 year-old kidnapping.
Forgotten: A Novel by Catherine McKenzie (William Morrow)
A young female Canadian lawyer, presumed to have died while visiting a village in Africa destroyed by an earthquake, returns home to find that everyone’s moved on without her. From the author of Spin and Arranged.
Tuesday Night Miracles: A Novel by Kris Radish (Bantam Dell)
Four women with legal and personal issues are required to attend weekly group counseling sessions with a rather unconventional counselor. Serious issues covered with a “wry sense of humor” (The Sacramento Bee).
For the Music Lover
The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman (Thomas Dunne Books)
The story of the musicians who anonymously played on most of the biggest-selling rock songs recorded between 1962 and 1975. This book provides “Good Vibrations” for the music fanatic.
Bruce by Peter James Carlin (Touchstone)
The author of Paul McCartney: A Life shows us the very human side of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.
I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock (Da Capo)
Fans of the late singer-songwriter will be enthralled by this overview of his all-too-short life.
Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury & Queen by Mark Blake (Da Capo), and Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones (Touchstone)
These well-written biographies of the late Queen front man will make readers revisit their Queen music collections, or purchase new ones.
For Those with Special Diets
You Won’t Believe It’s Salt-Free!: 125 Healthy, Low-Sodium and No-Sodium Recipes Using Flavorful Spice Blends by Robyn Webb (Da Capo Lifelong Books), and Gluten-Free On a Shoestring Quick & Easy by Nicole Hunn (Da Capo Lifelong Books)
It’s not easy to cut down on either sodium or gluten in our diets, but these two authors illustrate how you can do so and still enjoy eating.
For the Sports Fan
Best of Rivals: Joe Montana, Steve Young, and the Inside Story Behind the NFL’s Greatest Quarterback Controversy by Adam Lazarus (Da Capo)
If you think the San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback controversy now, Lazarus reminds us of what happened on the team between 1987 and 1994.
The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open by Neil Sagebiel (Thomas Dunne Books)
The amazing story of when an unknown golfer by the name of Jack Fleck beat his idol, the great Ben Hogan, at the U.S. Open major tournament. Truth is stranger than fiction, and in ’55 the Open was played at the Olympic Club in San Francisco (just like this year’s U.S. Open).
For the Animal Lover
Following Atticus by Tom Ryan (William Morrow)
An overweight man’s health is saved, and his life is rescued by a small mountain-climbing miniature schnauzer named Atticus M. Finch. A fine, touching memoir.
Review copies were provided by the publishers and/or publicists. A Possible Life will be released on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.