I’ve been drowning in wrapping paper and ribbon for the past few days. Since I’m giving a lot of homemade gifts this year, and I insisted on decorating all the jars, my wrapping responsibilities have tripled: in addition to wrapping gifts, I have to decorate a few jars to go in the gifts first. Which means I’ve been watching every Christmas movie and musical I own or Netflix will show me so I have some entertainment as I make a mess every night in my living room floor.

It also means I can’t wait until Saturday, when I get in the car to start the first leg of my holiday journey and stop wrapping. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to be in the car a LOT this Christmas break. D and I will drive 6 hours, then 4 hours, then 12 hours, then 12 hours again. That’s a lot of hours in the car, and a lot of opportunity to catch up on some pleasure reading and let the paper cuts heal. So here’s what I’m reading!

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A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin, reminds me of a more contemplative, richer version of the Harry Potter series (and it predates it by about 30 years). This novel, the first in a series, follows young Ged as he trains and then begins working as a wizard. One of the most powerful young wizards in the world, his adolescent competitiveness leads him to unleash a dark shadow on the world, which follows him as he is forced to confront the darkness within him and his own mortality. I’m about halfway done with it, and really enjoying the fullness of the universe, and the richness of the story.

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Justin Cronin’s The Twelve is the follow-up to The Passage, which I read when it was first released. The trilogy is not your average vampire novel; the first novel had more in comment with World War Z than with Twilight, which was part of the reason I liked it so much. The Twelve picks up where the first novel left off and follows a group of survivors of the “virus” as they lead an offensive against the virals (vampires). I have to say, I’m apprehensive about this one; the first novel was really gripping, but this follow-up has received tepid reviews. Then again, what do critics know? And Justin Cronin sure does know how to spin a plot.

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The Outlander series has been around awhile, and I’ve had the first book downloaded on my Nook for awhile, but I’ve yet to open it. A Facebook conversation last night persuaded me to give this one a try soon, though. A friend with very similar taste in fantasy-esque fiction (think the Sookie Stackhouse novels and the Discovery of Witches series) asked for recommendations on similar fare, and Diana Gabaldon’s series was overwhelmingly recommended. A time-traveling love story? Count me in.

What are you reading in the car over the holidays?

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