What book lover doesn’t love receiving a book as a gift? What writer doesn’t have a stack on their bedside table?
When we asked for recommendations for the best books for holiday giving, writers gave us a number of excellent suggestions — and we added a few ourselves.
Two humor anthologies published in 2018 showcase the work of writers close to our heart.
Allia Zobel Nolan reached out to women humorists for their best funny coming-of-age essays for Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget, published in association with the workshop. A portion of the proceeds benefits the workshop’s endowment fund.
Just for Writers
Beth Bartlett praises Art Matters written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell. “Neil Gaiman always inspires me to do better, write better, be better. And this collection is a lovely reminder of why we write.”
Sharon Wren recommends Freelance Writing for Recovering Journalists. “It’s a welcome nudge of its own for anyone who’s been thinking about dipping a toe into the world of freelance writing. Don’t let the title fool you, there’s plenty for everyone — markets, links to websites to further your education and more. The chapter on the stupid things I’ve done in the name of freelancing was heavily inspired by Erma,” Wren quipped.
Independent Publisher Magazine calls the newly released A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You a “must-read.” The book “offers us an alternative to the incivility swirling around us. Using personal stories, observations, humor (plenty of humor!) and summaries of research, it provides both the why and the how of living a kind life,” said author Donna Cameron. “If the world is going to change, it’s up to us to make it happen.”
Sue Gelber, who attended her first workshop last spring, recommends Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are by John Kaag, a book she bought for her “difficult-to-shop-for 21-year-old daughter. She loves to hike, and she is grappling with the difficult (and never-ending) task of figuring out who she is and how she wants to live her life. Seems like a perfect fit.”
Judith Henry’s The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caretaking: A Practical Memoir is filled with “laughter, tears and lessons learned.”
Peggy Rowe’s humorous memoir, About My Mother: True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother, is one of the hottest books on the market. On Dec. 2, it rose to #8 on The New York Times’ Bestseller List for Combined Print and E-Book Nonfiction. A three-time EBWW attendee, Rowe published her first book at 80.
From Elly Lonon, who won the EBWW Pitchapalooza competition in 2016: “Amongst the Liberal Elite is the perfect gift for your spouse who doesn’t appreciate the toll of emotional labor, for your in-laws who don’t understand feminism, or for your coworker who is always using the office copier to run off flyers for an impromptu weekend march. Most importantly though, it’s for anyone that needs a little comic relief from themselves.”
Stacey Gustafson tackles the foibles of modern family life — from toddlers and teens to empty nesters — with wry wit and plenty of humor in Are You Still Kidding Me?
If you like your optimism served with a side of snarkiness, Lee Gaitan’s Lite Whines and Laughter: Mild Rants and Musings on the Mundane, is the book for you.
In She’s A Keeper!: Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess, the latest book in Lee St. John’s She’s A Keeper! Series, the “unapologetic rogue Southern Belle” rats out former presidents, the Mafia, famous people — dead and alive — AND her own friends and family.
Diane Pascoe’s book of hilarious personal essays, Life Isn’t Perfect, But My Lipstick Is: Real Life. Real Laughs, “collects the mental musings of a wife, mother and (sometimes) gracefully aging woman.”
Author Leslie Handler suggests Rats, Mice, And Other Things You Can’t Take to The Bank: An Inspirational Collection of Essays from Humorous to Simply Human “as a lovely gift for anyone over 50.
From Erma Bombeck’s Son
Andy Bombeck, a retired school teacher, is at it again with a sequel to his humorous travel memoir, Traveler’s Diarrhea. What’s it called? More Traveler’s Diarrhea, of course. “I can’t be the only person who finds travel screw-ups far more entertaining than hearing about a boring museum, landmark, natural wonder, beach, restaurant or the worst — the freakin’ weather!” he says.
For Cat Lovers
As a stocking stuffer or a gift for the office exchange, Allia Zobel Nolan recommends Purr More, Hiss Less: Heavenly Lessons I’ve Learned From My Cat, illustrated by Erika Oller. “It has sayings for the times, such as: “Differences are what makes us interesting” and “Fighting takes away the time you could be chasing butterflies.”
Sharon Love Cook created all the illustrations for her newest book, 15 Reasons Why: Men are for Now, Cats are Forever.
New Books by EBWW Faculty
Marion Winik’s The Baltimore Book of the Dead, a rich collection of essays, is receiving wide acclaim. From author Ann Patchett: “You’ll want to read The Baltimore Book of the Dead as slowly as possible because every observation is a marvel, every sentence a heartbreak or a revelation of joy. This book is both brief and miraculous, and it will be finished before you’re ready to let it go. Like life.”
Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, who wrote the play “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End,” have written what’s been dubbed “the go-to bible of affordable fashion.” ThriftStyle: The Ultimate Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Smart Fashion is a savvy guide for all thrift and vintage bargain shoppers.
Novelist and essayist Amy Ephron has made a successful foray into the world of novels for young people with two captivating books that marry fantasy with reality. Carnival Magic and The Castle in the Mist are enchanting young readers.
Before “A Dog’s Way Home” hits the big screen Jan. 11, it’s time to read (or reread) W. Bruce Cameron’s novel or pick up any of this prolific author’s books. It’s currently occupying the fifth spot on the New York Times’ Print Paperback Bestsellers List.
Elaine Ambrose’s tell-all memoir, Frozen Dinners, “will resonate with anyone who has endured family dysfunction and will defrost the hearts of readers everywhere,” says Joely Fisher, actress, singer and author of Growing Up Fisher.
Jerry Zezima’s fourth book, Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures: Grandkids, Wine Clubs, and Other Ways to Keep Having Fun, is “a crime against literature,” quips the nationally syndicated humorist.
In I See Life Through Rosé–Colored Glasses, Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, are back with another hilarious and heartfelt collection of essays about the possibilities and pitfalls of everyday life.
Publisher’s Weekly calls Jessica Strawser’s latest novel, Not That I Could Tell You, “an engrossing, taut tale.”
Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, The Widows by Jess Montgomery (best known to EBWW attendees as faculty member Sharon Short) is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community. The mystery novel will be released Jan. 8, but available now for pre-orders. Email Sharon at jessmontgomeryauthor.com that you’ve pre-ordered and she will send you a small thank-you gift and enter your name in a drawing to receive “The Kinship,” a piece of art created by artist Connie Post.