Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Give and Get Lists: The Book Edition

Penguin has a page on its website devoted to its authors’ lists of books they are giving to others for the holidays and books they wish to get. It’s pretty nifty. It also puts me in a mind to examine my literary purchases for the season.

For my brother, the last book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, The Gathering Storm. A deep and abiding obsession with all things fantasy is one of the few traits my brother and I share, and we had both invested years in this series when Robert Jordan died in 2007 without finishing the final installment. My brother is not aware that this book even exists yet, so I’m hoping it will be a nice surprise. I’m currently catching up on the penultimate and pre-penultimate books. Don’t hate me because I love books that include maps of places that don’t exist.

My father gets David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers. This one is on a bunch of year end best-of lists.

The EBM-spawned copy of Susannah Moodie’s Roughing it in the Bush goes to my aunt. She digs historical nonfiction, especially of the pioneer-lady ilk. As a side note, my camera doesn’t work so I couldn’t take a picture of the beautiful, stupendous edition that I got. I can say that it looks every bit like a real book—the color quality and design of the cover is brilliant and the book itself is indistinguishable from a mass-produced paperback. The only flaw was that a couple of the pages were out of order.

For my friends Frank and Suzan, with whom I watched Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre for the first time, I purchased Wallace Shawn’s Essays. I had to ask for help finding this one from one of Third Place Books’ friendly info desk guys. When we found it in the stacks, he took one look at the cover image of the author and said excitedly, “Vizzini!”

The fiancĂ© has already received his Christmas tome, Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room. It takes place in a fictionalized version of Prague. We got engaged in Prague. It seemed appropriate.

Perhaps most apparent in this list is the absence of any poetry books. It’s not surprising. I am, admittedly, not a poetry proselytizer. If my people don’t typically read poetry, I don’t tend to push it on them. Besides, my poetry reading friends also read this blog, and I don’t want to ruin any surprises that may be coming their way.

On the get list: Ted Hughes’ Crow and Frances Wilson’s The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth. Also Ana Bozicevic's Stars of the Night Commute.

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