I usually read a couple of books at a time. Or three. Or four. Things seem to have gotten out of hand recently, though. I came back from the Humanities Montana Festival of the Book with a stack of about 10 books—new ones to add to the ones I was already reading.

Even though it made sense to wait to finish those before I dipped into the new acquisitions, I couldn’t resist peeking into some. The result? I got hooked, and ended up reading six books simultaneously. I’ve since finished a couple, including Spider Woman’s Daughter, by Anne Hillerman, an excellent continuation of her father Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn-Chee mysteries set on the Navajo Nation. Also, an advance copy of Laurie Halse Anderson’s new young adult novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory. Also most excellent. And, I ripped through Martin Cruz Smith’s Wolves Eat Dogs, an absolutely fascinating mystery set in Chernobyl.

That leaves Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. (His Frost Willow Song is in the to-read pile.”) Baby’s Breath by Eugenie D. West, which features a reporter investigating the death of an infant. I’m also reading a friend’s as-yet-unpublished vampire rock-and-roll novel, Never Before Noon—it, too, features a reporter.

Awaiting my attention are Gregory Spatz‘s Inukshuk, Keith McCafferty‘s The Gray Ghost Murders (he names his mysteries after fishing flies. What’s not to love?) and two by James Lee Burke, Sunset Limited and Swan Peak. Oh, and a Nevada Barr and whole stack of Margaret Coel mysteries lent to me by Wellbuddies coaching friend and running guru Pam Gardiner. I’ve finished two of the latter, with three to go. And I’m pretty sure I bought Karen Joy Fowler‘s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, but I can’t find it, which is probably just as well.

Recently, my sweetie looked at the growing stack and observed, “You’re out of control.”

The next day, I was in Fact and Fiction Books, one of our local independent bookstores. (Yes! We have more than one!) “Scott says I’m out of control,” I told David. He nodded in a way that told me I’m not alone.

Then I bought another book.




Every time I turn around, it seems as though another “best of” book list is mocking me with all the titles I never got around to reading this year. There’s New York Times’ 10 best books of 2012, and NPR’s list of indie booksellers’ choices, too.

Amazon lists 100 best, and Barnes and Noble has a hefty list of its own. (Meanwhile, those indie booksellers took a jab at Amazon by recommending “50 Best Uses for a Dead Kindle” as a holiday gift, The Guardian reported last month.)

It’s not just the heavy hitters.  The Sandusky Register sought suggestions from writers and readers for its list, while the Christian County (Missouri) Public Library turned to its own librarians.

And those are just a very few of the general lists. There’s no end to the (ahem) list of specifics.  Is Tolkien on your list of all-time favorites? Then you’ll want to check out this list of the five best books about “The Hobbit.”

Fancy yourself a photographer? Put that camera down and read. Start with these five.

Firmly on Eddie Arnold’s  side in “Green Acres”? Here’s some books on farm livin’.

Or maybe “Sideways” was more to your viewing taste.  In that case, these books about wine might be able to help you deliver a Paul Giametti-esque zinger about merlot.

Lest all these lists set your head to spinning, here’s the good news: The holidays are a golden time for booksellers, as USA Today’s Bob Minzesheimer details here:

“The holidays remain the heartbeat of print book sales,” says Michael Norris, a publishing analyst for Simba Information, a market research firm. “When you give someone a gift, you want it to have some weight, to see them open it. You can’t really do that with an e-book or a Barnes & Noble gift card.”

Filed Under: Book lists Bookselling