Books?!? Books for Christmas?

As a former children’s book publicist, the first thing I did when I saw this video was zoom in to make sure it was not one that was published by a certain publisher in Nashville, TN. Again, old habits die hard ;)

You would think that after reading nonstop for a whole semester, to the point my eyes were in danger of crossing irreversibly, I would never want to look at the written word again.  However, this winter break books were exactly what I DID want for Christmas.  I had so many good ones still left over from this summer and ones that sat half-read and neglected on my bedside table once the craziness of Fall began.  Then of course right as finals started rearing their ugly head, all the “Best Books of 2010″ lists come out.  It’s enough to make a girl anxious to catch up.

So with my hideous Con Law, Civ Pro, Torts, and Contracts books in their 1L grave, I am finally able to read for pleasure again. Although I do have the irresistible urge to pick up highlighters and start marking different plot developments.  You know, just in case someone cold calls and asks about the plot.  Habit I guess.

The first book on my list was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  This book is to blame for this post not going up until now.  I just couldn’t put it down.  It was the one I had saved for last this summer and didn’t get to it when everything got crazy.  This is the last in the Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and unlike most series, this one simply gets better and better.  I wanted to make sure I had it done before break was over because this is not a read 5 pages and then set it down book.  Once you get sucked in, there’s no hope of returning.

I have also been reading a lot about the movies that are in the works.  The first, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will release next December with David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and most recently The Social Network) as the director.  I think he’s going to be absolutely perfect for these movies and for once a movie might live up to the book.  Either way though, I wanted to make sure I was done with the series before it made it’s way to the silver screen.

For Christmas I got some great books as well.  Actually, one great book, a McSweeney’s issue and the coveted gift of all book nerds lovers, a gift card.  Unlike the little one in the above video, I’m really excited about these Christmas presents.  My brother gave me Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I love the gifts from my brother each Christmas because it is either a new band who I have heard of but never gone to get the cd, and it ends up being my favorite or a book, like this year, that somehow got buried on my Amazon list but is one I should have read a long time ago.

I had heard of Mitchell through different literary circles and seen his book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet  on the Best of lists for 2010.  Cloud Atlas is Mitchell’s third book and was up for the Man Booker Prize.  Mitchell, who in 1997, was listed as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, is known for weaving together different styles and genres and from what I’ve read, this book is no different.  In Cloud Atlas there are six separate narratives each set in a different time or place each with it’s own unique style.  After reading about Mitchell, I am really excited to read this!

My brother also gave me McSweeney’s Issue 33, the San Francisco Panorama.  It looks like a full color Sunday edition sized newspaper and it contains everything you would expect, sports, arts, comics, and a magazine insert.  McSweeney’s says it’s “basically  an attempt to demonstrate all the great things print journalism can (still) do, with as much first-rate writing and reportage and design.” Articles are written by Michael Chabon, Stephen King, Miranda July, and so many more.   It combines everything I love.  I miss getting the paper every morning like I did in Nashville and staying in the loop on all things publishing.  Since it’s not my job to read literary journals, they have fallen to the wayside with law school but I am bound and determined to keep up this semester with my favorites like McSweeney’s and The Oxford American.

The last books is one that has intrigued me for a while.  It’s on almost every best of list, including the heavy hitters like the New Yorker, NYT, LA Times, San Fran Chronicle, Wash Post and Time, and I’m interested to see what it’s about and hear what you think about it.  It is written by Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff and has been called compelling and captivating.  I have always been fascinated by history and secretly, my favorite types of books have always been biographies although it’s rarely what I will pick up (I’m sensing a theme here, good books that get lost in the shuffle).  I am intrigued by Cleopatra, the myths that surround her and the truth to be found within the pages.  Have you read this book?  What did you think?

There are so many more for this list but we’ll have to save them for later! I can’t get too ambitious this winter break.  It is a break after all right ;)

What are you reading this new year?  What books would you put on the Best of 2010 list?