If you're an Ellen DeGeneres fan, or you know of someone on your Christmas list who is, her newest book Seriously...I'm Kidding would make a great gift. Ellen has that special gift of making the most mundane topics into entire humorous chapters. It reads like she talks. I could hear her voice in my head as I was reading. Every page was a chuckle. A good light read.
On the heavier side, I just finished Nightwoods by Charles Frazier. Frazier has done it again with his newest novel. Author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons, he takes you on a historic literary journey of a time in the Appalachian region of North Carolina that I knew little about. A place so needful one cannot wonder how anyone could survive a day, much less years. The story is about a young woman living in a defunct tourist lodge in the mountains totally alone and liking it until her murdered sister's twin children are thrust upon her by the state "system." The children are obviously damaged in many ways and to make it even more interesting, their felonious father, who was acquitted of his wife's murder, is looking for them. I knew from the moment I read the first few pages this book was going to be suspenseful. The story was disturbing in that the characters had such wretched lives you just knew there wasn't going to be a happy ending for any of them. However, I couldn't put it down. Frazier consistently amazes me with his descriptive images. What a gift. Check it out.