Top Ten Books on My Christmas List

This week, I’m listing the top ten books I hope Santa brings. Of course, if Santa has already purchased a book for me that’s not on the list, I’m sure I will be no less joyful on Christmas day.

10. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch
According to the Boston Globe, “This graceful memoir describes a true love affair with books.” I love memoirs and reading, so what could be better than a book about one reader’s year of grief and renewal? It’s the book I wished I had written.

9. The Girl Who Circumnavigated​ Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I discovered this book on NPR’s top five sci fi/fantasy books of the year, and I immediately added it to my wish list. According to NPR, Neil Gaiman dubbed it “a glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian Fairy Tale.” Yes, please!

8. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
This book stayed pretty low on my radar until recently, when it appeared on several “Best Books of 2011” lists. Promising more than 460 pages of original artwork–which explains why the book looks so long–it seems creative and fun, and Selznick is an author to watch.

7. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
A National Book Award finalist, a top ten book from the New York Review of Books, and winner of the 2011 Orange Prize, this book has scooped up almost every accolade that matters to me. (There’s still time for it to win the National Book Critic’s Circle award, too.) I haven’t wanted to read a book this doused in praise since A Visit From the Goon Squad!

6. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
This slim book went entirely unnoticed by me until it won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. (To be fair, I don’t follow that prize very closely.) Then Carrie at nomadreader gave it 5 out of 5 stars, and it zoomed to the top of my wishlist.

5. Charles Dickens: The Classic Radio Dramas
This collection includes Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit, and Hard Times. Admittedly, I’ve already read all but the first and last titles, but man! This collection would look so good on my shelf, and it’s only $24!

4. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Again, this book was highly recommended by Carrie, who goes so far as to say that Tom Perrotta is her favorite author. Others I know have also read and recommended it, and it was a New York Times Notable Book for 2011. The premise is extremely interesting to me: A small town loses a hundred of its citizens in a Rapture-like event. It reminds me of The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier, one of my favorite books of the year.

3. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
A colleague walked into my office a few months ago and told me I need to read this book, and since then I’ve seen it popping up everywhere. I loved Donia Bijan’s foodie memoir, Maman’s Homesick Pie, and this volume seems very similar.

2. Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Millie, my unerring book recommender, had great things to say about Campbell’s first offering, American Salvage, which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. This book is also getting rave reviews, and it seems right up my alley.

1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Named one of The New York Times‘ Best Book of the Year, nominated for the Orange Prize, this book is my kryptonite in 2011. I’ve been dying to read it, and I’ve even gotten it out from the library, but couldn’t read it in time. Every glowing review I read of it reminds me of how I haven’t finished it yet!

I’m on the library wait-list for most of these books, but it’s only a matter of time before I claim a copy for my own!

So, what about you–what books are you hoping to find under your tree?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!

Categories: Book Lists, On Writing

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4 replies »

  1. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on both The Sense of an Ending and The Leftovers. They’ll both be on my top 10 list for 2011 (unless something CRAZY happens in my reading in the next ten days!) I didn’t love Swamplandia! or The Tiger’s Wife, but they’re both incredibly well-written and certainly worth reading. I think both of them have better books in them in the future. Once Upon a River is near the top of my pile too. I’ve heard so many great things about it. Enjoy (whenever you get to them!)


  2. Nice list! I would gladly take any of these books, with the exception of The Tiger’s Wife. I feel so-so about that one.

    I hope Santa is generous to you this year!


  3. I’d sensed that lukewarm feeling about “The Tiger’s Wife” from several reviewers, which is why it was surprising to me that it’s gotten so much recognition! Maybe I’ll push it to the bottom of the list 🙂


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