Well, I’ve been extra good this past week—even (mostly) stayed away from the holiday treats in the DGLM kitchen. So I’m hoping you’ll accept this semi-serious wish list of adult books I’d like to find under the Christmas tree:
ROCK N’ ROLL! Santa, you gave the world a rockin’ gift in 2010 with Keith Richards’ Life—how about tossing me a major rock star bio in 2011? I’m sure some other members of the old guard are ready to tell all. (I’m looking at you, Elton—you, too, Sir Paul.) Okay, if that’s too tall an order, then I’d love to see other nonfiction books on music: bio, analysis, etc. And if there’s a QUALIFIED rock critic out there, I think all those kids looking to build a record collection could use an updated album guide.
NARRATIVE NON-FICTION: Santa, I’ve sung the praises of Nathaniel Philbrick before on this blog, but this time I want to point out how Nat brings historical events to life through the characters involved—whether it’s cabin boy Thomas Nickerson leading us through the whaling disaster of In the Heart of the Sea, or Massasoit greeting the Pilgrims in Mayflower, throughout Nat’s career critics often remark how his books read like novels, and I think it’s due primarily to this character-based approach. So while I’m wide-open in terms of subject matter, I would love to see this character-based, novelistic style, be it history, politics, entertainment, true crime, etc.
FICTION: I want to laugh! Santa, surely there’s a funny novel you can send my way. I also want to see novel characters sober up—so many of the novels I see have main characters indulging in or struggling with alcohol or drugs, and most of the time that has nothing to do with the main story. Finally, if you’re going to send me historical fiction, Santa, please let it be really historical—like, pre-1970? Too often, it feels like the novels I see set in the 70s, 80s, even the 90s are actually contemporary stories stuck in the wrong era—like substance abuse, the historical details don’t really seem necessary to the story, and instead come across as clichéd or anachronistic.
CRIME/MYSTERY/THRILLERS: Being that these are genre books, certain conventions are unavoidable. But Santa, can you please send me something with a new angle? I’m not sure what that angle is, but I know it isn’t a college professor who uncovers a secret global religious conspiracy or new evidence about the Bible.
SPORTS: Well, I do want some kind of sports story—again, preferably a character-based narrative piece. But I’d be just as happy if the Giants win the Super Bowl in January…
Thank you, Santa, for reading this list. I can’t wait to open all these presents in 2011!