It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re screwed, aren’t you?
You waited until now to finish your Christmas shopping, and there’s no way in double-E hockey sticks you’re going to get it all done, is there? You’re at the Walmart/the Target/the “insert name of appropriate store here” and they’re all out of nearly everything, which means they’re all out of whatever you were looking for. If you even knew what to get him/her/them in the first place.
Sigh. You’re probably a straight guy too. You guys never learn.
So, instead of leaving you to plague and torment the holiday retail staff, who are probably on their last nerve and you are not helping, let me suggest something:
Now, we all know that I love my paper books. However, I do also like the fact that with an e-reader (or with an app on a phone or tablet), I can browse for and buy a book without getting up from my chair. And—and!—I can do so while still supporting my local independent bookstore, which has an e-book arrangement with Kobo.
So, what should you buy? Here are some of my favorite reads from this past year, as well as some things I’m looking forward to:
KC, at Bat, by Tom Mendicino
I read this novella after finishing Mendicino’s novel Probation, and its story of young longing left me longing for the next installment, which I hope will be coming soon.
Foolish Hearts, edited by Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane
Although this anthology isn’t officially released until next month, you can start reading it right now because it’s available to download instantly as an e-book. Even though I will be getting a pair of copies since I have a story in here (ahem), I went ahead and bought the e-book today because I want to start reading it soon. Plus, if you go over to Becky (dba R.D.) Cochrane’s blog, you’ll find she’s been posting snippets from each story in the anthology (this being the most recent one).
This Is How You Die, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki
The premise behind this anthology is deviously simple: A machine has been invented that, through a simple blood test, will tell you how you are going to die. Of course, the reality is not always as straightforward as the machine’s answer might make it seem. My friend ’Nathan Burgoine‘s story leads off the collection, and it was very amusing this year to see the reactions to his story on Twitter, most of which ran along the lines of “damn it, you made me cry.” Geez, it’s like people don’t like getting in touch with their emotions or something. (Check out ’Nathan’s debut novel, Light, as well.)
The Golden Mean, by Annabel Lyon
Full disclosure: Annabel is a professor in the creative writing program I’m currently attending. Sadly, I haven’t taken any workshops with her, but this book is a wonderfully crafted and beautifully written account of Aristotle begrudgingly fulfilling King Philip of Macedon’s charge to tutor his two sons, one of whom has been rendered mentally disabled, and one who will grow up to be Alexander the Great. The follow-up novel, The Sweet Girl, is on my to-read list.
Detours, by this guy
What, you didn’t expect me to suggest my own darn book? It’s a road-trip/romance/ghost story, which is not a mash-up you come across all that often, is it? (By the way, I’ve got a new book coming out soon.)
So finish up your shopping and go back to spending time with your family, which is a much better pursuit at this time of year. Happy Merry, y’all!