Ho, ho, ho! ‘Tis the season for displaying, flipping through, hooking up, playing with, and just all-round jump around with glee about our favorite “writerly” and “readerly” Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa gifts. Here were my favorites this year:
Stephen King’s OnWriting, the only craft book I wanted to own. I was so happy to find it under the tree.
New speakers handcrafted from curly maple wood by my talented husband. Now I can listen to music in style.
Bananagrams, a fun, fast-paced anagram/crossword game that I adore. Now I just have to find people brave enough to play me. . .
A Barnes & Noble gift card (yessssss).
And. . . wait for it . . .
A Kindle Paperwhite with graphics so similar to real paper that when I first opened it I kept trying to peel the label off. Except it wasn’t a label–it was the graphic that appears on the screen when it’s shut off, haha. I doubt I’ll ever fully give up the familiar, tactile joy of reading real books, but it’s great to have a close electronic equivalent plus all the conveniences of being able to read in any kind of light, access more books at lower prices, and contend with fewer stacks of read books.
Oh, and I can’t believe I almost forgot. I got a new printer! It’s exactly the kind of black-ink-only workhorse I wanted for printing manuscripts. We haven’t had a working printer in our home for so long, and then I went and broke my classroom computer by printing out too many novel manuscripts (sorry, boss).
Here he is: Brother HL-L2380DW. Isn’t he handsome?
Holy female badass, Netflix’s Jessica Jones is Marvel-ous. Great casting, acting, music, writing, and cinematography aside, Jessica Jones (played by Ann Hathaway lookalike Krysten Ritter) is a character you’d want to watch even if she didn’t possess superpowers. (J.J. Abrams and Disney would do well to take note of how this show does it–characters with depth are infinitely more watchable.)
Beneath Jessica Jones’ ability to throw 300-lb. guys through walls is an aching fragility. She is conflicted, pissed, boozy, shit-talking, embraces her own sexuality, thinks fast on her feet, and is devoted to what she does. Jessica’s bordering-on-con-artist skills as a private detective are especially entertaining.
More than any other series except Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones brims with a perfect cast of strong, interesting female characters, notably Carrie-Ann Moss of Matrix/Trinity fame and Australian actress Rachael Taylor (who at first I could have sworn was Elisha Cuthbert all grown up) .
In case you haven’t watched Jennifer Jones yet, I’ll hold back from revealing which actor was chosen to play the sociopathic, mind-controlling supervillain, but I’ll say this: it was a genius casting decision.
–Eve Messenger (who occasionally takes time away from writing and reading to watch TV shows and movies, especially during a blissful event called three-week winter break.)
I’m pretty sure I don’t have a favorite winter read, but reading in the wintertime makes me think of the classics, so I’ll say Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
2. Find a book with blue on the cover!
I just finished reading the first two books in Lauren Oliver’s YA dystopian trilogy, Delirium, and look forward to reading the last one, Requiem, whose UK paperback edition has a lovely blue cover. (Incidentally, the second book in this trilogy contains a character named “Blue”–which happens to be my favorite color!)
3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree!
There are so many pretty books to choose from. I’ve always liked the cover of Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender,but perhaps it’s not quite right for a Christmas tree. Tahereh Mafi’s Ignite Mecover is also gorgeous, but it would be disconcerting to have an eye staring back at me from the Christmas tree, so I choose. . . The One by Keira Cass. An angelic-looking girl in a gown of white roses would be perfect.
4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a winter vacation!
Fjerda, Matthias’ homeland, from Leigh Bardugo’sSix of Crows. I imagine it looks something like this.
Since we’re on the subject of Six of Crows, I want to share this fabulous poster by artist Kevin Wada. Leigh Bardugo gave it out as a promotional item at her early book signings, and I wish I had one!
Out of all the novels I read this year, Six of Crows grew on me the most AFTER reading it. Does that ever happen to you?
5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your winter vacation!
I’d pick Sam Roth from Maggie Stievfater’s Shiver. Sam is handsome, musical, loves to read, AND he’s a werewolf.
(I highly recommend the film this fan art is based on–
Mamoru Hosada’s spectacular and tear-jerking Wolf Children.)_______________________________________
6. Name one book on your wish list this year!
I’m going to cheat a bit here–well, more than a bit. I already own many of the books at the top of my wish list, and there are lots of others available at my (awesome) local library, so the “one book” on my wish list this year is. . . a Kindle! Oh, how preferable that would be to reading books on my little iPhone 5.
Which color do you like best? I’d probably go for basic black. _______________________________________
7. Favorite holiday drink, treat, & movie?
This one is so easy. My favorite holiday movie is Elf! It’s one of those rare movies I can watch over and over again and love just as much each time. In fact, I enjoy Elf so much that–rather than writing about my favorite holiday drink and treat– I will write the name of this movie twice more.
This ‘Tis the Season book tag was so much fun to do that I want to spread the cheer to everyone on the following “nice list.”