Under the tree on Christmas morning, a swell stash of books that my personal Santa picked up from Green Apple Books on Clement Street in San Francisco
The Jokers, by Albert Cossery
I know nothing about this book, which is precisely why I love Green Apple: Santa will always find something he didn’t know he was looking for.
A House with No Roof, by Rebecca Wilson
A memoir by the daughter of labor leader Dow Wilson, who was murdered when the author was 3. Wilson writes about growing up with and later caring for a loving but mercurial mother, in the shadow of Rebecca’s violent and much older brother, Lee, in Bolinas, California. With an introduction by Anne Lamott. I’m not sure why, but I read this book in one day. It is a coming of age tale that focuses not on the murder itself but rather on the repercussions of the father’s death on the individual members of the author’s family.
The Ice Princess, by Camilla Lackberg.
A few years ago, my husband bought me The Man on the Balcony, a Martin Beck mystery from the crime writing husband and wife team Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I’d never read crime thrillers before, and my husband thought some easy reading might be relaxing. Well, I was hooked, and I quickly made my way through all of the Martin Beck mysteries. At the time, I thought of them as a guilty pleasure, but I’ve since dropped the “guilty” part and have come to consider a good thriller to be simply a great pleasure, guilt-free. Now, for every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, along with a couple of novels in translation by writers I’ve never heard of , my husband gives me a crime thriller, and it’s usually the first in the stack to get read. Good writing is good writing, no matter the genre.
The last great crime thriller I read, by the way, was The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. I’ve also become partial to the Icelandic writer Arnaldur Indridason, who has created a wonderful character in Inspector Erlandur Sveinsson.
The Year of the Hare, by Arto Paasilinna
I haven’t started this one yet, but any book that the wonderful travel writer Pico Ayer wants to “live in” piques my curiosity.
If you go in for an element of surprise, join the Green Apple Book Club, whereby you receive a new book i in the mail each month, handpicked by the excellent Green Apple Guys, Pete & Kevin.