A List of Authors, Their Books And Those Who Will Love Them


Book Review by Heidi Simmons

I love the look and feel of a bound book. The smell of the paper, the cover art and the excitement of getting involved in a compelling narrative is one of life’s great pleasures. I like having books around. Some are very good friends and I always appreciate their company.


If you have a gift list you need to fill, please consider books. It’s the present that can be opened over and over and still thrill, surprise and entertain. I’m all for electronic books. They are private and easy to carry, but an e-book file can’t be wrapped. If the books you seek are not on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, no worries, they can be found somewhere on-line and mailed directly to your home or that of the lucky recipient.

Here are some of the favorites I reviewed since the CVW began. The authors can be trusted, your gift will be appreciated and your giving will be a success. Something for everybody. Check the authors and books below:

Non-Fiction: Candice Millard. History is never boring with Millard. In fact it is quite the opposite — it is thrilling. They are hard to put down. She writes with such depth and detail you’d think she was there as it happened. She weaves such an exciting tale about known historic figures it will give you a new perspective on the characters and the events that shaped our country.

Books by Millard: Destiny Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President and The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey (both Anchor Books) make a perfect gift for anyone who loves American history, adventure, politics.

Fiction: Rob Roberge. I’m fond of flawed, marginalized and borderline characters. I find those who live on the fringe and struggle to maintain a life in the world of responsible “normal” people, fascinating. Local author Roberge has a way of pulling the reader into the lives and heads of these “types” where we recognize how close we are to resembling them. And how easy it is to get sucked into something shady or dangerous and out of control.

Books by Roberge: Working Backwards From The Worst Moment of My Life (Red Hen Press); Drive (Hollyridge Press); More Than They Could Chew (Perennial Dark Alley) make perfect gifts for anyone who loves short stories, is hip, has an appreciation for the grittier side of life and doesn’t mind spending time on the wrong side of the tracks dodging on-rushing trains.

Biography: Walter Isaacson. Getting an inside look at someone’s life is universal pleasure — especially if that someone is a public figure. Understanding a person, famous or infamous, why they are the way they are (or were) and what forces or eventws shaped them is hugely entertaining. Isaacson understands how even small events become part of the big picture that make-up a life. He skillfully creates a compelling narrative that conjures a living and breathing person

Books by Isaacson: Steve Jobs: A Biography; Einstein; Ben Franklin (all Simon & Schuster) make a perfect gift for those who love history, business, psychology and invention.

Memoir: Jill Bolte Taylor. An honest and humble telling of personal tragedy and triumph is riveting as she articulate’s her own terrifying experience with a brain aneurism and resulting coma. Bolte Taylor’s expertise as a doctor of neuro-anatomy allows her to recount her awakening and recovery from the inside out. She gives the reader a look at how complex and resilient our brain and body can be.

Book by Bolte Taylor: My Stroke Of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. (Plume) makes a perfect gift for those who love science, personal triumph, know a stroke victim, who seek to understand the mystery of the mind, have an appreciation for living in the present.

Self-help: LD Thompson. There are many great mysteries in this world and the challenge of living everyday is complicated. Having tools that help manage the joy and the chaos can only be a good thing. Thompson has a very gentle nature and the wisdom he “channels” is sincere and comforting.

Book by Thompson: The Message: A Guide To Being Human (Divine Arts) makes the perfect gift for those who are open-minded, seek a centered existence, enjoy meditation and desire to be a better person while roaming the planet.

All of the above are satisfying reads. Those you think are hard to buy for may not be so difficult when you consider there is a book for everyone. Happy holidays and make time to enjoy a book.

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