The 12 Books of Christmas?

Santa Reading by a Fire

Santa Claus Gets Lost in a Good Book | Vintage Coca-Cola Ad

I realize that we’re still a full week away from Cyber Monday, but just in case you have a voracious reader on your list, I wanted to share twelve books I’ve read during the past year, that I think everyone should consider reading, too.

These are not ranked, merely listed with the most recently-read titles at the top.

  1. The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean, by Susan Casey – It’s about surfing, storm-chasing and giant waves, and even the science-y parts are really interesting.
  2. The Naked Gardener, by L. B. Gschwandtner – Delightfully funny and insightful, and full of feminine energy and woman-power.
  3. Body Work, by Sara Paretsky – the first V.I. Warshawski novel in several years, does not disappoint. Great plot, great dialogue.
  4. Under Orders, by Dick Francis – Dick Francis never disappoints, and this book is no exception. It’s not terribly recent, but it’s still a great read, especially if you follow horse-racing at all.
  5. Roast Mortem, by Cleo Coyle – coffee, romance, and murder – what else does one need?
  6. A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, by Tim Gunn – probably the most gracious style guide ever written – and Tim Gunn can be hilarious.
  7. Lunch in Paris: a Love Story with Recipes, by Elizabeth Bard – part memoir, part cookbook, all delicious.
  8. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, by Alison Arngrim – the funniest, most candid, celebrity biography EVER.
  9. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin – gives you hope for the future, and provides a much-needed perspective on world events, as well.
  10. The House on First Street, by Julia Reed – a post-Katrina memoir with architectural details. Brilliant.
  11. The God of the Hive, by Laurie R. King – the most recent in her Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes series. Intriguing. Interesting. Inspiring.
  12. Population: 485 by Michael Perry – Actually either of his other two memoirs, Truck: a Love Story or Coop would be acceptable. This man’s writing is just…brilliant.

I should note: Not all of these books were WRITTEN this year – in fact, hardly any of them were – but most are fairly recent.