Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 11/18/2010 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - Holiday Book List 2010

Martha's Big Adventure - Holiday Book List 2010

By Martha Randolph Carr

The holidays are approaching rapidly. Chanukah begins December 2nd and Christmas is not far behind. There will be plenty of books being given as gifts, most of them from the bestseller lists. However, if you're shopping for someone who loves books it can be difficult to know if you've found something they've never read.

Finding a great book that hasn't made the bestseller lists yet used to be a lot easier when there were plenty of locally owned bookstores with well-versed book lovers running the shop. However, with the advent of box stores like Borders or Barnes and Nobles it's become almost impossible to find a large selection of books that weren't mass produced.

So, let's start a new holiday tradition this year. Here are seven books that make great gifts, even stocking stuffers that are wonderful and may some day hit every must-have list but haven't yet. That will ensure that your gift is not only unique but for once you're ahead of the crowd.

1. The Christmas Gift by R. William Bennett, (Burgess Adams Publishing). This little book is a parable about asking for forgiveness even when we feel the other person committed the bigger 'wrong' against us. The story centers around two boys, one who moves often and the other the bully no one wants to stand near much less get to know. Great stocking stuffer that people will want to share.

2. 1000 Years of Sobriety by William G. Borchert and Michael Fitzpatrick, (Hazelden Publishers). Stories of 20 people with 50 years apiece of sobriety from alcohol. Inspirational for anyone who is looking to grow a bigger life and is afraid to take the next step toward their dream. A homerun for anyone who is struggling with addiction or alcohol or anyone who is struggling to love someone with the disease of alcoholism. If you need a shot of hope and faith, choose this one.

3. Snow Day by Billy Coffey (FaithWords Publisher). This is the first book by Coffey, who is from my old stomping grounds in Virginia. Peter Boyd is a man who has everything but in the face of a possible layoff from his job right before Christmas he's having a little trouble really believing that's true. He gives himself a snow day and in the course of his day sees one example after another of what really matters. A good story to share with family of all ages.

4. Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson (Revell Publishers). Melody Carlson is the author of several short Christmas fables. This is her newest and is a strong story of redemption and willingness centered around the true meaning of Christmas. The main character, Lena has just been released from a women's prison for something she's still not entirely sure was her fault. Through a series of kind acts, despite Lena's desire to hide who she really is, she discovers forgiveness can be a necessary part of learning how to be there for others as well.

5. The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh (Revell Publishers). This is the first novel by Dan Walsh and is set during the Christmas season of 1943, during WWII. A small boy, Patrick Collins, has unexpectedly come to stay with his grandfather, Ian Collins while he waits for word of his father overseas. Ian has been estranged from his son for years and their last exchange was hurtful and angry. Now he has to face the possibility that those were his last while trying to let go of his own bitterness in order to care for the grandson he has just met for the first time. A story about the cost of choosing to be right rather than happy and the power of prayer.

6. The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House Publishers). Give this book to anyone on your list who loves historical romance and wants to curl up with a good book this holiday season. The story is set around the true lives of Elizabeth Whitbread and John Costin, the Puritan who wrote Pilgrim's Progress. Set in England during the time of Cromwell and the attacks on Puritans, the love story is about first love, healing the heart and being of service in the face of grave danger. It has everything you'd hope for in a good romantic novel.

7. Without Grace by Carol Hoenig (iUniverse Star Publishers). This is a self-published novel and was named ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year. I came across this gem a few years ago and happily wrote the author about the compelling story about the complicated threads that hold a family together and when cut can send them spinning apart. Beautifully written with grace and insight into the mind of a young girl who is trying to figure out how to be a young woman without any women to guide the way.

Seven great ideas and you can shop for them all without leaving your computer. Happy Holidays everyone. More adventures to follow.

Martha's latest book is the memoir, A Place to Call Home. Email Martha at:

© 2010 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email

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