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Holiday Book Giving Guide

CSB/SJU Bookstores 2010 Holiday Book Giving Guide


The Child in the Manger by Liesbet Slegers; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
This is a delightful book, retelling the birth of Jesus in a clear and simple manner.  The bright colors of the childlike illustrations help explain the meaning of Christmas to young children in a charming way.

My Mommy Hung the Moon by Jamie Lee Curtis- recommended by Tina Streit, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
A great book for moms.  It describes the special relationship between a child and mother and their never ending love for each other.

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg-recommended by Tina Streit, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
This book is for anyone who has made a mistake!  Using pictures, textures, and pop-ups it shows how every mistake is the opportunity to make something beautiful.


Savvy by Ingrid Law; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
Mississippi "Mibs" Beaumont is about to turn 13. In her family, all members of the family acquire a supernatural power-a "savvy"-at age 13.  Mibs is anxiously waiting for her big day, to see what her "savvy" will be.  Just before her birthday, her  poppa is in a bad accident and Mibs is sure that her "savvy" will help save him.  On the eve of Mibs' birthday, she ends up on an unplanned road trip, with a bevy of interesting travel companions. This is a delightful book about growing up and is filled with engaging characters and fun, descriptive writing.  A great book for 8-12 year old readers.

Winners Take All by Fred Bowen; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
Author Fred Bowen has written a series of good sports books (All-Star Sports Stories) for young readers, all with an important message.  In Winners Take All, it appears that Kyle makes a great catch, while falling over the outfield fence, in an important baseball game. In reality, the ball falls out of Kyle's glove, but he picks it up and pretends he caught it to win the game for his team. The book has exciting play-by-play action, with a good lesson on honesty and good sportsmanship.  A great read for 7-11 year old readers.

Million- Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica; Recommended by Chris Sales, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
This book is one of my thirteen year old son's favorite books.  This book is a story about a young boy who plays football and wins the chance to throw a football through a hoop for a chance to win a million dollars.  As luck has it, he throws a perfect throw and wins the million dollars.  When asked what he is going to do with the money, he says he is going to find the best eye doctor in the world to help his best friend gets her eyes corrected.  It is a touching story about helping others, instead of being greedy and self centered.  This is a common theme for a lot of Mike Lupica's books.  General age level for this book is 10 to 14 year olds.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Recommended by Katie Tomten, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
This book takes a fascinating look at race relations between women in the deep South in the 1960s.  Stockett uses a compelling narrative to explore the notion of the "hired help": African-American women who worked as servants in White women's homes.  With the advent of the Civil Rights Movement, how these women relate to each other becomes more complicated, and more dangerous.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman; Recommended by Katie Tomten, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
Before the movie, The Princess Bride was a classic novel full of mystery, adventure, romance and sword fights.  A good gift for young adults (and adults who love the movie), this book has all the necessary elements of a page-turner.  Set in the fictional lands of Gilder and Florin, the author chronicles a love that persists through piracy, death, giants, masterminds and an arranged marriage.  

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks; Recommended by Amanda Wicker, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Worker
This book is certainly unlike any other traditional sappy love story that he has written. Sparks adds in an element of danger creating a great twist to the growing relationship between Katie and Alex. It truly is impossible to put down; Sparks' descriptions of the 'edge of your seat' events are incredibly effective in keeping the reader wanting more. There is something for everyone: love story, family life, internal conflicts, danger, and an unpredictable ending. Can't wait for his next one!

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway; Recommended by Katie Tomten, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
Galloway writes a haunting tale centered around a cellist who, in 1992, played for 22 days straight in memory of 22 people who were killed by a mortar waiting in line to buy bread.  The book follows multiple people living in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, and chronicles their day-to-day lives living while under seige in the city.  The cellist's playing provides the backdrop for which Galloway analyzes the nature of humanity when forced into violent situations.

The Last Unicorn by Beagle; Recommended by Colleen Cornwell, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
This has been my favorite book since I can remember. It is an allegory about the nature of good and evil, and it has a lot of adventure and mythological creatures in it.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford; Recommended by Tina Streit, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
A beautifully written love story that takes place during World War II.  It depicts the culture of the US during that time period and a forbidden love between two young adults with different nationalities.


What to Eat by Marion Nestle; Recommended by Beatrice Zovich, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
This book offers a fascinating guided tour of a modern American supermarket, explaining in detail the whys and the wherefores of American diets today. Marion Nestle, a highly acclaimed nutritionist, uncovers mysteries like why milk is always located in the back of the store, whether yogurt is a health food or dessert, what certified organic really means, and the true health value of fish. My whole outlook on grocery shopping and food consumption in general was completely changed after reading this book and I think it offers deep insight, not only into food economics, but into the global and national food system as a whole.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris; Recommended by Katie Tomten, CSB/SJU Bookstore Student Manager
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a perfect example of the style and content of Sedaris' work.  His essays illustrate his eccentric personal life, including time spent in France and troubled childhood memories.  The essays are short, bitingly hilarious, and do not follow a continuous plot line, making them a perfect collection to pick up and put down whenever you like.  However, once you get a feel for Sedaris' humor, you may not be able to put the book down for awhile!

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne; Recommended by Rhonda Sauerer, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
This book is for anyone who has an avid interest in Native American culture.  It is loaded with historical facts and events dealing with Cynthia Ann Parker and her life among the Comanche Indians.  A great historical read.

Memories Before and After The Sound of Music: An Autobiography by Agathe von Trapp; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
The eldest daughter of the von Trapp family, Agathe, tells the REAL story of her family, refuting some of the story as told in the film and play The Sound of Music.  Her vivid memories of her childhood are highlighted by family photographs and her own sketches.  This is an interesting read for all fans of The Sound of Music.

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness-And a Trove of Letters-Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
Author Ted Gup, a former journalist for the Washington Post, is given an old suitcase full of letters written to "Mr. B. Virdot" in late 1933. Gup soon learns that B. Virdot is actually his deceased grandfather, who anonymously helped 75 families survive the Depression in Canton, Ohio.  Gup then researches the families of the letter-writers and also discovers some interesting details of his grandfather's life. This book will touch your heart; it is a fascinating and moving account of the Great Depression from a truly human perspective.


The Notre Dame Book of Prayer edited by Heidi Schlumpf; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
Ave Maria Press and Campus Ministry at Notre Dame University collaborated to put together a book of prayers that combines traditional and liturgical prayers with personal reflections by some noteworthy Notre Dame people. This book has such a wide variety of beautiful prayers-it would make a lovely gift and/or a nice resource.

Running With Expanding Heart: Meeting God in Everyday Life by Mary Reuter, OSB; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
In Running With Expanding Heart, Sr. Mary, through stories and anecdotes, encourages us to pay attention to the ordinary happenings in our everyday life.  She incorporates the principles and practices of St. Benedict, with chapters focusing on some of St. Benedict's values, such as "Everything is Holy", "Hospitality: Who's Knocking at My Door", and "Obedience: We Listen, Discern and Respond."  Her stories and experiences are very real and readable, and offer some wise spiritual advice.


The Minnesota Table: Recipes for Savoring Local Food Throughout the Year by Shelley N.C. Holl; Recommended by Ann Jonas, CSB/SJU Bookstore Staff
This is not a typical cookbook; it is a collection of travel stories, recipes and menu ideas.  A number of local food producers are featured in this book, including Common Ground Garden.  This book celebrates local food and sustainable agriculture in a fun and informative way.  It encourages us to support our local family farms and offers us delicious and enjoyable ways to do so.