Larry Wilson's Public Eye blog More 

WHAT do we want to see under the tree? Book-shaped boxes, containing books. 


They contain the world's best stories, and they are a lot better looking - in the hand, on the bookshelf - than a Kindle file. 

First, you could get a jump on Pasadena's 11th One City, One Story community read in March with Karen Thompson Walker's fabulous "The Age of Miracles." The novel is set in North County San Diego in a time much like the present, except that the Earth's rotation has dramatically slowed. The days are longer, and so are the nights. It's either about the environmental havoc that ensues - beached whales, high tides - or the ordinary havoc of being a teenage girl like our heroine Julia. Both amount to the same. I loved this story. 

The romance readers in your family, and the Italophiles, want San Marinan Terry Stanfill's second novel "Realms of Gold," set in opulent Venice and ancient Celtic Burgundy - those Celts were everywhere - among Americans and Italian-Americans. As in Lian Dolan's "Helen of Pasadena," the hunk is an archaelogist, apparently the sexiest grove of academe. You'll learn tons about the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, Jason and the Argonauts, mythic Avalon and a millenia-old mystery.