December Amy Tan at Brazos, Plus Sarah Jio at MBTB, Ree Drummond at Blue Willow, and More

My People (nerds) don't need a reason to visit a bookstore, but if you are not one of My People, and you need enticing, here are my top reasons for why you should get thee to an indie bookstore and pry open your wallet:

  1. It's almost Christmas, and you need to buy presents, and books make great presents.
  2. All of the bookstores on my list (Brazos Bookstore, Blue Willow, and Murder By The Book) have beautiful holiday decorations to get you in the spirit.
  3. Well, books.

That's three reasons why you should play hooky from work or school and spend a day luxuriating in bookstores--and we haven't even talked about the book signing events, yet.

Murder by the Book

If you're searching for mystery titles, the folks at Murder by the Book have you covered. "We've picked 24 of our favorite reads for our holiday promotion, and each one is 20 percent off," says publicity manager John Kwiatkowski. "Signed books make great gifts, and we're happy to get books personalized by any of the authors visiting in December."

You can review the full December calendar of events at MBTB, but here are some highlights:

Saturday, December 7: Dallas Noir Anthology signing, 4:30 p.m. Authors Harry Hunsicker, Merrit Tierce, Oscar C. Pena, Daniel J. Hale, and James Hime, along with editor David Hale Smith. • Tuesday, December 10: New York Times best-selling author Sarah Jio will sign her new book, Morning Glory, at 6:30 p.m. Jio's books are among John's favorite discoveries this year; her new title centers on a woman who, after buying a new house in Seattle, embarks on an investigation of the mysterious previous owner -- a woman who went missing years before. • Saturday, December 21: Murder By The Book Holiday Open House, 1 p.m. McKenna will be playing the violin while customers shop and enjoy refreshments--an annual tradition!

Looking ahead, MBTB will have Charlaine Harris on January 7, for two events -- mark your calendars! More details to come.

Brazos Bookstore

As if you needed more reasons to visit Brazos Bookstore (a giant, upside-down tree sculpture anchored from the ceiling should be plenty) they have a full month of amazing events. In addition to tons of amazing books, Brazos has some adorable stocking stuffers. Ask about the Nihilist Toothpaste!

View the full Brazos Bookstore events calendar; highlights for December include:

Saturday, December 7: Come celebrate the holidays at A Grinch Story Time at 11:30 a.m. A reading of this Christmas classic, plus a craft activity at the end. • Sunday, December 8: Brazos Bookstore Holiday Party, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Shop, snack, and sip! • Saturday, December 14: Famed dog photographer William Wegman will be in-store signing copies of his latest, Flo and Wendell at 10 a.m. Combining dog photography and painting, this is a lovely, charming book suitable for all ages. A great gift for dog lovers. • Monday, December 16: Hurry, tickets to Amy Tan's presentation of The Valley of Amazement are selling FAST! Tickets come with a hardcover copy of the book--seriously, hurry.

Looking ahead, Brazos Bookstore will be hosting local attorney David Dow on Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. Dow will sign copies of his memoir, Things I've Learned from Dying.

Blue Willow

We asked Blue Willow for some reading suggestions, and here is what they offered:

Fiction: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a light, fun read. National Book Award Winner The Good Lord Bird by James McBride is another popular title. • Non-fiction: The Smithsonian's History of America in 100 Objects or One Summer: 1927 by Bill Bryson. • Teen: Just One Year by Gayle Forman and Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. • Middle Grade: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Ghosthawk by Susan Cooper. • Gift Books: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Golden Book and Quotable Book by the Quotable Card Company.

View the full Blue Willow event calendar; highlights for December include:

Tuesday, December 10: Ree Drummond, better known as "The Pioneer Woman," will be signing her latest cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays at 6 p.m. • Saturday, December 14: YA authors Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynn Barnes sign their most recent novels, United We Spy and The Naturals. Looking ahead to January, mark your calendars for Saturday, January 12, when R.J. Palacio--author of acclaimed children's novel Wonder--will appear at Inprint's "Cool Brains" series at Johnston Middle School.

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