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Holiday Highlights
By Hilary Williamson, December 2000

Whether you're looking for a Tome for the Holidays (sorry, couldn't resist) or some lighter reading, here are some ideas. I polled our reviewers to see what they would recommend as memorable in books - recent releases and those that have been around for a while. Forgive us if we missed some of your favorites, we've probably also mislaid some of our own. Here are BookLoons' eclectic picks for your reading pleasure ...

Millennial Releases

These great reads were released either in hardcover or paperback in the year 2000:

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Fantasy
Angel Fire East by Terry Brooks Fantasy
Ash, A Secret History by Mary Gentle Fantasy
The Business by Iain Banks Mystery
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear SF
Deadly Décisions, a thriller by Kathy Reichs Mystery
Death at Whitechapel by Robin Paige Mystery
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly Mystery
The Flight of the Maidens by Jane Gardam Contemporary
Hard Time by Sara Paretsky Mystery
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling Fantasy
Lady of Horses by Judith Tarr Fantasy
Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay Fantasy
Midnight Come Again by Dana Stabenow Mystery
Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell Fantasy
O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King Mystery
The Patient by Michael Palmer Mystery
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds SF
Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon Fantasy
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley Mystery
The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin SF
The Testament by John Grisham Mystery
Timeline by Michael Crichton SF
True Justice by Robert Tanenbaum Mystery

Outstanding Titles for Young and Old(er)

These are novels that our reviewers have read and re-read over the years. The texts of many Classics are available in full, online at Project Gutenberg. Give the gift of a book order accompanied by printed samples of your recommended titles, to help the recipient to make a selection.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery Classic
Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden Classic
Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper Fantasy
Firedrake by Cecelia Holland Historical
The Gift by Patrick O'Leary Fantasy
Kim by Kipling Classic
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin SF
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Classic
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien Fantasy
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson Classic
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Classic
One's Company by Peter Fleming Travel
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Classic
The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White Fantasy
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs Fantasy
The Three Musketeersby Alexandre Dumas Classic
Watership Down by Richard Adams Fantasy
Wellington - The Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longford Historical
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle Classic
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame Classic

Series for Young and Old(er) by author

These are stupendous series that have kept us looking for an author's new books year after year. If you find a new one in a favorite genre you have hours of absorbing reading in store. A few of these are also available as online texts.

Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries Mystery
Ernest Bramah's Kai Lung series, e.g. Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat Fantasy
John Buchan's historical adventures like The Thirty Nine Steps Historical
Rebecca Bradley's Gil series with a most reluctant hero Fantasy
Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkorsigan adventures SF
Agatha Christie's mysteries like The Secret of Chimneys Mystery
Lindsey Davis's historical Falco mysteries set in Ancient Rome Mystery
C. S. Forester's Hornblower series, starting with Mr. Midshipman Hornblower Historical
Barbara Hambly's historical New Orleans stories of ex-slave Benjamin January Mystery
Robert Heinlein's future adventures like The Door Into Summer SF
James Herriot's reminiscences of life as a Yorkshire veterinarian Historical
Georgette Heyer's novels such as Arabella or An Infamous Army Historical
Cecelia Holland's superb historicals like Rakossy and Firedrake Historical
Guy Gavriel Kay's historical fantasies like his Sarantine Mosaic Fantasy
Gabriel King's feline fantasy, the first being The Wild Road Fantasy
George R. R. Martin's Winterfell fantasy e.g. Game of Thrones Fantasy
Ian Douglas's action packed Heritage Trilogy, Marines in space! SF
Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time - a series to read over and over Fantasy
Anne McCaffrey's delightful tales of the Dragonriders of Pern SF
Robin McKinley's Damar series ... The Blue Sword Fantasy
Barbara Michael's novels that mix romance, mystery and the supernatural Mystery
Elizabeth Peters' archaeological mysteries especially her Amanda Peabody series Mystery
Philip Pullman's excellent trilogy His Dark Materials Fantasy
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series deserves its enormous following Fantasy
Rafael Sabatini's historical adventures such as Captain Blood and Bellarion Historical
Mary Stewart's Arthurian stories about Merlin, e.g. The Crystal Cave Fantasy
Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries, a most cerebral detective Mystery
Rosemary Sutcliffe's exciting novels set in Roman Britain Historical

Millennial Monographs

Since this is a big millennial year (whether you think it's ending or about to begin) I had a look at what's available in books with Millennium in their titles. There's an amazing range of choices from longstanding predictions of doom and surveys of pagan rituals to idiot's guides on surviving millennial disasters and names for millennial babies (like Xena, poor kids!). I haven't read any of the following, but they are going on my millennial wish list.

First are my serious choices: one on ethics as an important element in looking forward; another which looks back on the history of the millennium just ending; and the third because I have re-read this more than any other book that I own and it's getting tattered.

Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for a New Millennium by the Dalai Lama

Millennium Year By Year: A Chronicle of World History from AD 1000 to the Present Day by DK Publishing

The Lord of the Rings: Millennium Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien

And because the whole thing has been taken much too seriously (after all it's just a mark on a calendar invented by man and not even used by all of us), here are some lighthearted selections:

Garfield Predicts; Fearless Forecasts for a Brave New Millennium by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pooh and the Millennium: In Which a Bear of Very Little Brain Explores the Ancient Mysteries at the Turn of the Century by John T Williams & A A Milne, illustrated by Ernest Shepard

2000 Reasons to Hate the Millennium: A 21st Century Survival Guide edited by Josh Freed & Terry Mosher

May the new century and millennium be a very literate one for all!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.