A Few More Gift-Worthy Books

Here are a few more books worth gifting that I took to Good Day Alabama on WBRC Fox 6. One is by a local group of poets, the other will inspire young (and older) minds. Then there’s something that’s pure escapism during this busy holiday season.  

Poems for Hungry Minds 2022

by Highland Avenue Poets

This is a follow-up volume of verse by a local group of poets. They were organized by award-winning Birmingham poet and past Alabama Poet of the Year Barry Marks. Members include Jeff Book, Mel Campbell, Roger Carlisle, Steve Coleman, Jim Ferguson, Tom Gordon, Chervis Isom, Charles Kinnaird and Shannon Webster; they are professional writers, lawyers, editors and communicators but before getting together none had published poetry. The first book was full of thoughtful and hopeful pandemic poems, this second one is more about the members’ own experiences in life and loss and their hunger for community and connectedness. “Poetry is about expressing something in a unique way that adds life and vibrancy to others,” says Roger Carlisle. “It’s sharing the journey we’re all on together.” The poems here are lovely and wistful and sometimes heartbreaking. They are about sailboats and baseballs and truth and beauty. “They are accessible,” says Tom Gordon, and that’s important. These poets write about life that is easily recognizable—the loss and love of friends and family (the book is dedicated to Brian “Voice” Porter Hawkins, a member of the group who died in 2021), kids growing up, parents growing older, the world changing so quickly around us, this world at war. Poems for Hungry Minds will help you look at life differently. It’s available at Thank You Books in Crestwood and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What Do You Do with an Idea?

By Kobi Yamada with illustrations by Mae Besom

This is a picture book, true, but like most of the books for young readers that I recommend, it has a message for all ages. This one is particularly inspirational. We’ve all, at some point, come up with an idea that is perhaps a little too big or too odd or even too scary. So, what do you do with that kind of idea? You could try ignoring it or hiding it if people make fun of it. But sometimes ideas have a way of demanding our attention and our action. This little book will encourage readers to consider, really consider, their ideas, to welcome them and give them room to grow. To see what happens next. I’ll point out that this book is illustrated in an especially beautiful and clever way. As the idea takes shape and is nurtured, the illustrations turn from simple monochrome line drawings to full-color paintings. It’s magical in an inspiring kind of way.

Behind Closed Doors

By B.A. Paris

The big question here:  perfect marriage or perfect lie? It’s really hard to tell in this fast-paced thriller … until it isn’t. Jack and Grace, young, beautiful, wealthy and charming, seem like the perfect couple. Their fun photos from frequent trips to Thailand, his attentiveness to her, the fact that they are always together surely is proof of that. But look closer and wonder why Grace never leaves the house without Jack, why she has no cell phone or email account, why her handbag is always absolutely empty—not even a pen and paper. I listened to this book during my trips to the gym and it got me there a few times when I didn’t feel like going because I had to know what happens next. Need a bit of escape during this busy season? Here you go. 

I link to Amazon to show you exactly what book I’m talking about, but I love to shop locally at Church Street Coffee and BooksThe Alabama Booksmith, Little Professor Book Center, and Thank You Books in Crestwood. And I visit my local library often in person and online!

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