BOOK & BLOG
November 28, 2011
“But, Charlaine,” you say, “You’ve already reviewed Max Brook’s book.” This is quite true, but I think it’s important to stay sharp on my zombie survival skills. Also, with my children returning for Thanksgiving, I had a good opportunity to remind them to be on the alert as well. It was good to discover middle son was absolutely on track about where to go and what to do when the zombies rise. The Zombie Survival Guide can be good reading when you’re expecting a lot of relatives . . . I’m just saying.
Barry Eisler is a bold writer, and The Detachment is a welcome addition to his John Rain books. Rain, half Japanese and half American, is an aging deadly assassin whose latest relationship has failed. At loose ends, he falls back into his old patterns, but he’s instantly on the alert when he finds he’s being watched. The plot that follows is intricate and involves three other killers who must go on a mission with John Rain. They’re all far more used to working alone, so the tension mounts. Though this is not my personal favorite of Eisler’s works (I never connected with the changes in points of view), it’s an essential part of the story of John Rain.
Seanan Mcguire’s books are both fun and suspenseful. I’ve read all of her October Daye books, and in fact I’m listening to one in my car. I was really pleased to get a manuscript of Discount Armageddon, her new series. This book will be out in MARCH. It’s available for pre-order. And you’ll definitely want to read this book, because it’s even more fun than the October Daye books. Verity Price is a human trained to guard otherworldly citizens, so she’s dismayed and angry when female cryptids start disappearing from New York. The Covenant of St. George sends one of its young men to kill cryptids, and though they’re deadly enemies, Verity definitely has an itch for her adversary. Plus, her apartment is full of singing mice . . . you’ve got to love them.
This isn’t an original idea, but it’s one I’m going to emphasize. From now until Christmas, we’re going to be in hurry, hurry, hurry and panic, panic, panic, mode. We may spend and eat too much. We may be determined our house will be perfect for the holidays, and we may be convinced that we have to have a huge pile of gifts under the Christmas tree.
None of that is necessary. You know that, right?
In a year, who will remember that your house was perfectly clean and orderly for the holiday? Who will remember that every single item on the wish list wasn’t under the tree? No one. Unless you have some seriously odd relatives.
Here’s my suggestion: make a ritual of necessity. When you wrap gifts, put on Christmas music. Make sure the house is as empty as you can get it. Assemble everything you’ll need. While you wrap, think about the people you’re giving to, and why you’re giving them a gift. I guarantee you’ll be happier.
When you clean your home, set aside some time to do it and give it that time and no more. Don’t make yourself crazy, and delegate. Enlist help if you need it. Even if you can simply assign one family member to clean all the mirrors and TV screens in the house, that’s something.
If at all possible, start cooking early and freezing things.
Nothing will prevent the holidays from being anything but busy, but you can cut down on the frantic rush.
Listen to me handing out this good advice . . . and wondering if I can stick to it myself!
Relax. Smell the Christmas trees.
© 2011 Charlaine Harris