OK, as an editor/publisher, I am going to do a very dangerous thing here, to say which of our books I have most admired during our first year. This doesn't mean that the rest aren't incredible, but these are the ones that really blew me away.
'Confronting Cancer with the QiGong Edge' by Robert Ellal. This is one of my favourite books of all time. Bob had four bouts of cancer and writes about them in a most extraordinary way, reminiscent of Primo Levi and the Holocaust. The book is nicknamed 'Beowulf's Hammer' because Bob imagined himself as Beowulf fighting the monster Grendel. "That's a bit heavy," commented the cancer nurse. "Well, I had to study Beowulf at school, it might as well be of some use," Bob replied.
'How Can Mend This Purple Heart?' by Terry (TL Gould). In 1968, Terry found himself in the US Naval Hospital in Philadelphia surrounded by Vietnam Vets who had lost 1-3 limbs standing on landmines. This is the story of 20 year olds coming to terms with the utter destruction of their personal worlds, having fought for their country in a war many consider the most disgraceful in history.
'Hellogon' by John Booth. This is a YA book, but its real message is how governments, diplomats and the secret services think, strategise and connive, and how well-intentioned Harry Potters meddle at their peril.
'The Old Man & The Monkey' by George Polley. George thinks it is a fable about friendship. I think it is a very sharp critique of the mechanisms of racism. Either way, it is magnificent.
'Descending' and 'Surfacing' by Catherine Chisnall. A downbeat story about a relationship between a support teacher and her teenage pupil after they nearly die in each others' arms. It is all in the words which are quiet, surgical and mesmerising.
'The Eye of Erasmus' by Teresa Geering. Another book where it is all in the words. Indeed, it is almost a shaggy dog story except that it packs one hell of a punchline in this fabulous romance across time dream.
'Of All Things' by Michelle Young. Poems this time, about love and life. Michelle writes incredibly persuasive requited love poems and then rips the carpet from under you.
'Travels Through Love And Time' by Christine Hall Volkoff. Another dreamy book which starts out on the island of Porquerolles in the Mediterranean where a young girl falls in love with a famous young movie actress.
Finally 'The Blacksmith's Daughter' by Minnette Coleman. Not strictly even one of ours, but an extraordinary translation of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to Atlanta, Georgia, c. 1920.
I love this job that forces me to read and edit some truly amazing and groundbreaking books.
Wow I like your choices
Well, for my YA-reading daughter, I bought Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (we already have all of her Mortal Instruments series books, but if the person you're buying for doesn't, they would be a good pick - City of Glass, City of Bones, City of Ashes), Graceling and Fire (both by Kristen Cashore - actually, I bought her Graceling last year, and she sadly lost it at the Y, so this is for her to finish reading it), all of the first 5 books in the House of Night series (I think that series is up to 8 by now) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast. She also has Twenty Boy Summer.
For my grandchildren (and their moms), I bought Other Goose by J.otto Seibold (it's gorgeous, with lovely binding, sparkles, and textures, and the pictures are gorgeous), and some Little Green books Lift the flap books for the younger grandchildren.
My son (10 years old) has the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, as well as some more 39 Clues books, and The Seekers series (which he requested).
I bought myself (yes, I do buy myself presents and wrap them and put them under the tree): Two Steampunk novels: Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.
For historical fiction lovers, I'd suggest Phillipa Gregory or Michelle Moran - any of their books are great. the historical fiction novel I liked best this year was By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan.
Non-fiction picks: Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle (of Homeboys Ministry) or Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (both of these books made me laugh AND cry)
If you have a Stephen King lover to buy for, Under the Dome was a good read, even if it IS like 1,000+ pages long!
Hey dont feel bad I am waiting on my books from Amazon that I bought for my Christmas presents for myself.I think my Oldest daughter would love the series, she is much better than mw when it comes to keeping up with
a series.and I wanted to read the Stephen King book since I use to be a huge fan and thought about picking him up again but I would have to wait until Ihad more time to read a 1000+ PAGE BOOK