The holiday season is in full swing, which inevitably means you’re scrambling for last-minute gifts. While the wonderful folks over at Unbound Worlds have a daily series called Gifts for the Geek to help you brainstorm, I thought I’d give you another insider look at Team Del Rey and share our holiday reads. We want to tell you about our personal holiday books: the ones we reread every December, the upcoming ones we’re most excited for this winter, and the ones we’re giving as presents.
Yes, we give books as presents. Yes, our families are getting irritated about always getting books as gifts. Yes, mom, I got you another book, so you can stop hinting about that expensive watch.
So without any further ado, here’s a list of holiday books from Team Del Rey!
Books We Reread
Every year at Christmas I reread Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I’m not sure why, as it’s not particularly holiday-oriented, but I’ve been sitting on the same sofa while drinking the same brand of black tea with the same worn-out paperback every December for the past 10 years. The spine on my copy might give up the ghost this year, but I’m sure with a little glue and some patience, I’ll be right back at it in 2014.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I know, I know, it’s been done to death, but stop and think about this for a second. A miserly jerk is visited by the horrific guilt-weighted phantom of his business partner and friend, and then assailed by three bizarre ghosts that represent the fleeting, crushing nature of time. Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman dream of doing something this dark and weird. Get into it.
Books We Recommend
Now, I may be biased, but in 2014 I will be recommending Pierce Brown’s debut novel, Red Rising, to everyone I know. This stunning book takes the reader on a thrill ride through the full spectrum of emotion with dazzling prose, brilliant characters, and an adventure that spans worlds. Early readers are comparing it to the work of Suzanne Collins, Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin, or William Golding, which is awesome: Red Rising is a truly special book that will richly reward your time.
The tethering of historical and cultural context to a progressively surreal foreground story gives John Vaillant’s study of survival and revenge a potency usually reserved for the most gripping of novels. The investigation into the mauling of a small-time poacher in easternmost Siberia is used as a vehicle to trenchantly chronicle the geological, social, political, and economic history of the Taiga region, the physical and cognitive development of Siberian tigers, our relationship to predators as a evolutionary impetus, deforestation, poaching, and gun-running. I wish I could Doc Brown myself and re-experience this monster of a book for the first time.
A book that I’m very much looking forward to reading is DOCTOR SLEEP (yes, it’s been out a few months—deal with it). THE SHINING terrified me when I read it as a teenager and I’d still consider it one of my favorite books. Reading for work has made it difficult to make time for pleasure reading, but over the holiday break I look forward to revisiting Danny Torrance after all these years and seeing where King takes the character next.
Books We’re Giving as Gifts
Okay, to start: Brandon created this image. It’s perfection, life doesn’t need anything else, right? Wrong.
Combine an irreverent but loving perspective of pop culture with a childlike enthusiasm that you can only get from coloring, sticker and activity books and you’ve got a gem that will have you howling and buying that Crayola 64-pack you never knew you needed. Cut out your very own Christopher Walken mask, color in scenes featuring Ed Norton and flowers, draw new hairstyles for Nicholas Cage, color in Sylvester Stallone’s squid guns. Yes, you read all of that correctly, and you can thank me later (maybe with Bird’s Law & Order themed Valentine’s Day cards).
I recommend the enhanced eBook editions of The Making of Star Wars, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and the Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. We began with the print editions of each book, which are already packed with amazing production art, paintings, and behind-the-scenes photos as well as an engaging and entertaining chronicle of the making of each legendary movie. To those we added hundreds of bonus images to each eBook along with about thirty minutes of rare behind the scene video and about 20 minutes of rare audio recordings that enhance the reading experience as you explore the trials and tribulations that the cast and crew experienced making these ground breaking movies. Perfect for those new tablet devices under the trees this year.
A great holiday gift this year is LAW OF THE DESERT BORN. The action in this graphic novel is based on a story from the 1940’s by legendary author Louis L’Amour. This tale of the Wild West could lure that reluctant reader away from their first-person shooter games and back to books!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our holiday reads. If there are any books you reread every year, recommend, or are giving as a gift that you want to share with us, then let us know in the comments!
Del Rey Books