Always Overbooked…
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Snowflakes on your nose.

Warm mittens and snowball fights. Cuddling in front of the fire as the wind howls outside. Sleigh rides through the park. Glittery-wrapped presents beneath a gorgeously decorated tree.

Okay, so you might not get any of those but the last one. Palm Springs = not so snowy, but if books are on your list to give, you’re still in luck.

My favorite all-time LGBT holiday book is “A Little Fruitcake” by David Valdes Greenwood, a series of essays about Christmases growing up; starting with the year Valdes Greenwood asked for a doll and scandalized the family. This is a humorous book with plenty of heartfelt emotions, too; the kind of book your giftee will want to read every year, and make a new tradition.

If holidaying isn’t necessary on your holiday list, then look for “The Absolutist” by John Boyne. It’s a historical novel about a man who fought for Great Britain in World War I, alongside his friend – a man he had a terrible crush on. Years later, as he reflects on the years in the war and its aftermath, he decides to visit his friend’s sister, who asks what happened during the war – and so he tells her. In addition, what happened will leave your giftee gasping…

I’ve been a big Emma Donoghue fan for a long time, and while I recommend her latest novel “Frog Music,” my favorite of hers is “Astray.” In this book, Donoghue took little-known, quiet human-interest stories that she discovered in various places, and imagined what really occurred behind the corner headline. Each story is short, impactful, and will make the person on your gift list think hard about which tale they liked best. (Hint: all of them, probably).

The dog lover on your list will love “Travels with Casey” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. It’s the tale of a man and his dog, and a trip around the country with the hope that they might bond a little tighter. It’s also a vast, sweeping look at dog lovers and the general doggish community in places like dog parks, dog shows, breeders, rescuers, and conferences. While there were, admittedly, a few too many “shout-outs” inside here, that didn’t make me enjoy it any less.

Finally, for the historian on your gift list, wrap up “Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America” by Rachel Hope Cleves. Just as the title suggest, this is the story of two women who fell in love back when being a lesbian was barely considered possible – but it happened much more often than anyone was willing to say. The subjects of this book, in fact, managed to live together successfully, and they even married… which proves that our ancestors were hipper than we ever knew.

If these gift ideas don’t fill the bill for you, then hurry to your favorite bookstore and throw yourself gently at the mercy of the first bookseller that smiles. He (or she!) will know what to do. That’s why they get the Big Bucks.

Season’s Readings!