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Celebrating a birthday with books, ice cream cake

I'll be celebrating my birthday on Wednesday. For me, the ideal festivities would include a pinata filled with candy and trinkets, an ice cream cake and at least a day or two of uninterrupted reading.

However, sitting around reading doesn't make for much of a party, even if there is cake and a pinata. Chances are I'll end up doing something a little more social. In fact, I'm already planning to take the day off work and hang out with my friend Rachel. I swear that she's real and that I'm not just referring to myself in the third person.

Still, if anyone happens to be shopping for gifts for me, a book is never a bad idea. OK, there are more than a few titles that I wouldn't really be that excited about receiving. I am not that interested in military history or spy novels. I'd also rather not read anything that's guaranteed to make me cry. I prefer to save my tears for real life.

But unwrapping any book with a brightly colored cover would make me unbelievably happy. In fact, if the cover is cute enough, the book probably won't even need to be wrapped. And you certainly won't have to buy a card. Just write a small greeting on the title page.

Since I'm not really expecting strangers to buy me books, though, I'll probably head to the bookstore to buy some gifts for myself.

Books about vampires are almost always a guaranteed good read, especially if they happen to be written by Laurell Hamilton, who is one of my favorite authors. I'm pretty sure her publisher planned the release date of Hamilton's newest Anita Blake novel so that it would be available on my birthday.

Clearly, I'm not Hamilton's only fan, because "Danse Macabre" (Berkley, $25.95) has made it to the top of bestseller lists. That makes me happy not only because other people share my reading tastes, but also because I'm going to get a discount when I buy the book.

I haven't read "Danse Macabre" yet, but I already know that the storyline will include some kind of grave danger for Anita Blake, who is a necromancer and vampire hunter. I also expect to see more of Anita's many boyfriends, who include vampires and wereanimals.

I haven't been sneaking around looking for my presents, but I already know I'll be getting at least one book for my birthday. When I was at my mom's house recently, I noticed a copy of "Twelve Sharp" (St. Martin's, $26.95), the newest Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich.

I think Evanovich's books are hilarious, so I really want to read "Twelve Sharp." I asked my mom if I could borrow it and she said no, which surprised me. Usually, what's hers is mine, especially when it comes to books. I asked why and that's when she told me that she had already gotten me a copy of it for my birthday.

She offered to let me have "Twelve Sharp" early, but I told her I could wait. Knowing that I will get to unwrap at least one book gives me something to look forward to on my birthday. Now all I have to do is arrange for that pinata and ice cream cake.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.