Tag Archives: holidays

in which I recommend holiday books

December is always a quiet month in blogland for me. This December has been no exception.

Things have been busy here at Chateau Lee. Good, but busy, between starting new jobs, finishing old ones, and working other random side ones I sometimes have. Plus revising a novel I shouldn’t be working on and not working on a novel I should be working on. Plus social life, because there are so many great things happening in Boston this month, plus reading, because I gotta plow through the 45 library books I currently have checked out from the library1. Then the MT is coming to visit me next week, rendering this week the longest week of the year because WAITING, and after some adventuring in Boston and beyond, we will head home together for a few weeks and ring in 2015 with the family.

So don’t expect to see me much around here this month2 but I will be back in January, likely with exciting news about THIS MONSTROUS THING as we ride boldly ride into its debut year3!

Now, with that said, let’s talk about books4!

This past week, I was reminded that there is nothing better than being a bookseller during the holidays. Yes, the crowds are crazy, and the giftwrap gives you paper cuts, and you will go hoarse counting out change and asking people if they want a bag. But being a holiday bookseller is great because you get to spend all day recommending books to people and generally during the holidays, people will take those recommendations without question. So these past few weeks have mostly been me shoving Code Name Verity into the gloved hands of Boston shoppers, no matter who they tell me they’re shopping for.

As I’ve been thinking about my reading year and the books I want to handsell this holiday season, I decided to put together a list of my favorite books I read in 20145 and who they might be good for. So you can enter your local independent bookstore armed with recommendations!

Mackenzi Lee’s Guide to Holiday Book Buying

For Fault in our Stars fangirls…

Chance you won't return

The Chance you Won’t Return by Annie Cardi

For Dauntless initiates and District 12 Tributes…

not a drop to drink

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

For fans of Firefly…

retribution falls

Retribution Falls by by Chris Wooding

For Westeros transplants…

plantagenets

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones

For “what to read after Harry Potter”…

last dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

For adventurers…

Airborn

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel 

For readers who like their words with pictures…

sparky

Sparky by Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhans

For Sherlockians and Whovians…

jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritter

For Marvel fanatics…

Vicious

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

For Serial addicts…

Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

For readers of the classics…

Rooftoppers

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

For Frankenstein fans6

lady and her monsters

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo 

And looking ahead, here are some books that aren’t out until next year, but I’ve been lucky enough to read advanced copies of. Look out for them in 2015!

Bones and All

Bones and All by Camille DeAngelis 

Zeroboxer

Zerboxer by Fonda Lee

22548098

An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook

COnviction

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

2015 is going to be a good year for books. Get excited.

  1. Finally swallowed my pride and paid my $15 in library fines so I am now allowed in the building without sirens going off. I showed my displeasure at being forced to pay by putting EVERY BOOK on hold. They all came in. Simultaneously.
  2. I know between posts you all just sit and hit refresh over and over and over hoping I will have posted again. I know.
  3. If you can’t wait until then for more details about it, the lovely blogger Kathy Coe picked THIS MONSTROUS THING as one of her 15 most anticipated books for 2015 and interviewed me in conjunction. You can read it here. I talk about tea and time travel and, of course, Frankenstein.
  4. Smooth transition is smooth.
  5. Note: Not all these books were published in 2014. That’s just when I read them. However, they are all outstanding.
  6. I CAN’T NOT.
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in which I celebrate valentine’s day

For the first eighteen years of my life, I lived in the same place. Same city. Same neighborhood. Same house. The biggest move I made was from my upstairs bedroom to the downstairs one.

But then I moved away to college, and never really stopped moving. In the last five years, I’ve moved five times. Salt Lake to Logan, Logan to England, England back to Logan, Logan to Chicago, Chicago to Boston. So I’ve lived in some great places, and had some great times, and met some amazing people.

But when you move that much, you don’t have enough time to really make friends. You find people you have things in common with, have some wild adventures with them, but then you leave and fall out of touch, only occasionally communicating on Facebook. I have friends from childhood I still talk to pretty consistently, the friends of the life-long variety, but even that’s different when you only have texting and emails.

This is not necessarily a bad way to live. I met some really amazing people and had some great times, but it also taught me to be self-sufficient—I learned to function independently, go to things on my own, and be my own emotional crutch when things went south.

These last two years in Boston have been the longest I’ve stayed anywhere in a while. And I’m starting to feel like I actually live here instead of just passing through. I know the subway system. I’m no long alarmed when traffic seems to be coming from twelve directions at once. I have heard the phrase “wicked hard” used ironically. I know what people mean when they say Allston Christmas.

And, as I realized the other night, I have friends here.

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Real, great, honest-to-God friends. Friends who I drag on my crazy adventures. Friends who laugh at my references even when they don’t get them. Friends who do more than tolerate me, friends who are friends for more reasons than just shared classes or living in the same place.

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Friends who sit on my bed and eat ice cream with me when I had a crummy day, or talk me down from my anxiety, or encourage my weirdness, or don’t make fun of me when I really let my fangirl show. Friends who pick me up from the airport. Friends who listen to me. Friends who like me.

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So this year, on Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating my friends, who I love and adore and am so thankful to have in my life. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone—here’s celebrating all the weird kinds of love in your life.

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in which I celebrate Halloween

Hello, I know I have been MIA for the last month, and I will do my best to be back to regular blogging soon but no promises. This thesis is sucking all my writing energy!

But I just wanted to say Happy Halloween to everyone from the crew of the Serenity.

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This is the most proud I’ve ever been of a Halloween costume. I made that tshirt. MADE IT. Not as in wove and stitched it. As in bought the grey shirt from Urban Outfitters and then put that lettering on it. STILL IMPRESSIVE!

If you do not know who I am supposed to be, leave immediately and go watch the 14 glorious episodes of Joss Whedon’s scifi masterpiece, “Firefly.”

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