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Home / Articles / Special Sections / Gifts II /  What to read (and give) this season
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Thursday, December 10,2009

What to read (and give) this season

Books make for great holiday gifts. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s out this season. Snag your copy from the Boulder Book Store (1107 Pearl St.; www.boulderbookstore.com) or the Colorado “On the Hill” Bookstore (1111 Broadway; www.colorado.bncollege.com).


Evening’s Empire

By Zachary Lazar; Little, Brown and Company 228 pages, $24.99

Zachary Lazar’s remarkable Evening’s Empire — his novelized investigation into the killing of his father, Ed Lazar, in the stairwell of a Phoenix parking garage in 1975 — breeds anger, and it’s cosmic anger that runs true crime stories.


Hollywood Moon

By Joseph Wambaugh; Little, Brown

352 pages, $26.99

Veteran author Joseph Wambaugh weaves together several seemingly unrelated vignettes for a darkly comic, gritty look at street cops and identity thieves in Los Angeles in Hollywood Moon.

Under the Dome

By Stephen King; Scribner

1,075 pages, $35

Stephen King’s new novel, Under the Dome, is nearly 1,100 pages of stuff so scary that you’ll realize early on that even if Mommy were Wonder Woman, she couldn’t help you out of this nightmare.

A Creed Country Christmas

By Linda Lael Miller; HQN Books

253 pages, $16.95

A rather tepid, but nice, romance. You won’t need tissues nearby, feel your heart race or break out in laughter while you read it. But it’s a fast, easy read and a sweet story.


The Museum of Innocence

By Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely; Alfred A. Knopf

544 pages, $26.95

At more than 500 pages, “Museum” can be slow going, although the action picks up considerably toward the end. Even when the plot is at a standstill, however, the grace of Pamuk’s prose makes it a delight to luxuriate in the company of his delusional, sad-sack main character.

The Ghosts of Belfast

By Stuart Neville; Soho Crime

326 pages, $25

In his stunning debut, Stuart Neville delivers an inspired, gritty view of how violence’s aftermath lasts for years and the toll it takes on each person involved. The Ghosts of Belfast also insightfully delves into Irish politics, the uneasy truce in Northern Ireland, redemption, guilt and responsibility.

The Untamed Bride

By Stephanie Laurens; Avon Books

356 pages, $7.99 Reading a Stephanie Laurens book is a lot like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of boring stuff to find the shiny material, but once you unearth it, it’s definitely worth keeping. Laurens gives readers a new series, and it’s a good one.

War Dances

By Sherman Alexie; Grove

208 pages, $23

Alexie’s works are piercing yet rueful. He writes odes to anguished pay-phone calls, to boys who would drive through blizzards to see a girl, to couples who need to sit together on airplane flights even though the computer thinks otherwise.

A New Literary History of America

Harvard University Press

1,095 pages, $49.95

New Literary History of America is an extraordinary anthology of literary culture brought to you by a seat-of-thepants polyglot of a country. As rich as its title is dry, this chronological collection of essays starts with the first appearance of the name “America” on a map in 1507 and concludes with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

The Lacuna

By Barbara Kingsolver; Harper

$26.99

Told through journals, letters, newspaper articles and congressional testimony, The Lacuna is both epic and deeply personal, with Kingsolver masterfully interlacing one man’s journey from houseboy to acclaimed writer with the equally tumultuous mid-20th-century courses of the United States and Mexico.


No Impact Man

By Colin Beavan; Farrar, Straus & Giroux

274 pages, $25

Beavan was freaked out about what was happening to the environment. He decided to spend a year trying to do without, just to sort out what he absolutely needed to do with. He wondered just how much of it was avoidable, how much was inevitable. It has significant emotional and ecological heft. No Impact Man works, most of all, because Beavan is intelligent, funny, provocative, and, above all, honest.

Box 21

By Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom; Farrar, Straus & Giroux

400 pages, $26

Dark, often crushingly grim, Box 21 introduces us to a world of characters who hate what they do for a living. The book is profound, with much to show, much to say, much to set in play, on the human condition. It’s a novel with a heart, even if it’s a hardened heart.

Compiled from the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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