What marks the start of the holiday season for you?

The beginning of the holiday season for me is the Christmas shopping trip I take with my best friend. We arm ourselves with lists, clear out our cars, and head for either Shreveport or Texarkana for a day of shopping. We plan our route, eat a lunch at a good place, and come home tired but happy. Then I'm officially in the holiday mood.

Does your family have one very special holiday tradition?

We have a few things we usually do, but I wouldn't characterize them as traditions. We do always have the same meal, and I do always get all the kids books even now that they're grown. We open presents on Christmas morning, and we go to church on Christmas Eve.

What are you most looking forward to during the holiday season?

I most look forward to having my whole family together. The winter my son was in the service and had to stay on post in Alaska for Christmas was so painful.

What’s your favorite holiday book or song?

I love Christmas carols, and nothing gets me in the Christmas mood faster.

Why do books make the best gifts?

Books are such a great gift because you take the time to match the book to the recipient.. That process is a lot of fun, and you're thinking about the giftee all the time.

What books are you planning to give to friends and family?

I usually give my daughter some nonfiction book, my middle son gets science fiction, and my oldest son . . . well, he's pretty hard. Sometimes a nonfiction, sometimes some sort of adventure book. My husband is a Civil War buff, and if I can find a new publication on that topic, that's what he gets.

What was the best book you read this year?

The best one. Hmmm. That's almost impossible to pick, because I've read some really good ones. Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News? was awfully good. So was Harlan Coben's Long Lost. I also loved The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, and Martin Mullar's The Lonely Werewolf Girl.

What’s your number one resolution for 2010?

I don't make New Year's resolutions! That's just asking for defeat.

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