“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” Khalil Gibran

A journalist friend of mine this week sent me an email asking for suggestions for Christmas gifts that disappear. An example would be a jar of jam that would be eaten and enjoyed or a certificate to a restaurant. Lots of food ideas. She is writing her usual Christmas column and asked a bunch of us to think of suggestions.

“These gifts are really out of the ordinary. They are cool and interesting gifts that aren't made of plastic which later end up in the landfill.” 

She went on to say, “You are eclectic and far-flung, as I hope your ideas will be, so fire away.”

Far flung is one way to describe me. I suppose there have been other less flattering things said about me too, but I digress.

Here are some of the suggestions I sent. I hope they will come in handy for you too.

Hug a local author by buying and giving his or her book to friends, relatives and everyone you know. Spread the word about a local author’s book. Tell everyone you know.

Write a positive review of the book and post it on Goodreads, or No purchase required. Send your local author an email and tell him or her how much you loved his or her book, and who you recommended it to. Invite the author to your book club. It’s tough to make a living writing books, but these notes and reviews and comments from friends and strangers alike really go a long way to make an author’s day. He or she feels they are being heard. I don’t know how many of us wouldn’t benefit from such a gift. 

So in this vein here are some local authors and the books I have enjoyed, bought and told family and friends about.

Katherine Fawcett – The Little Washer of Sorrows - a collection of short stories released in the spring of 2015.

Bren Simmers - Hastings-Sunrise – a collection of poems, released in 2015.

Stella Harvey – The Brink of Freedom – a novel set in a Greece dealing with both an economic and refugee crisis – released on October 1, 2015.  (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself; I had to plug my own novel too).

And here are some other local authors and their books:

Sara Leach – books include: Warm Up, Count Me In (winner of the 2012/13 Cedar Book Award), Sounds of the Ferry, Mountain Machines, Jack Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle? – children or young adult books. 

Sue Oakey-Baker – Finding Jim – memoir 

Mary MacDonald – Going In Now - poetry

Stephen Vogler – Only in Whistler and Top of the Pass – stories of Whistler 

Nancy Routley – Ditch the Diet – non-fiction

Leslie Anthony - Snakebite: Confessions of a Herpetologist and White Planet – non-fiction. 

And while I’m at it, hug your independent bookstore owner. In Whistler, that would be Armchair Books, in Edmonton, Audrey’s Bookstore, in Calgary, Pages, in Winnipeg, McNally Robinson Booksellers and in Toronto, Ben McNally Books.

Thankfully there are still some out there. Find them and thank them for all they provide to your community and to authors everywhere.

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