It has been a great year for book buying, book finding, book giving and books in general, but for me it has not been a great year for actually getting down to the business of reading books. So much to read and so little time to read it. I still find great comfort in entering bookstores and libraries, honing in immediately to the stacks of books, and piling them next to me to figure out what to read first. I love getting a note from the library: your book is ready and there it is waiting patiently on the shelf for me to check out and enjoy. But during the last half of this year, I started considerably more books then I finished. My appetite proved to be way larger then my brain could process.
My morning routine consists of packing lunches and which books I might possibly get to read that day. Often, I am realisitic and bring just one, but I can carry as many as five books into work, hoping against all hope that i might get to choose and read from more than one. It rarely happened.
So for my holiday giving guide--the best of the books that I still hope to finish. All have been returned to the local public library.
A GREAT GIFT FOR ALL WOMEN
We've always loved and admired Anna Quindlen. She is us. She reflects our hopes and dreams and parenting styles. We love her journalism; we love her fiction. Her words ring true. So here is her memoir--words about family, faith, career and love. She is 60 and hitting her stride. I don't know anyone woman who wouldn't love to read this memoir. I'm on page 43!
ANOTHER GREAT GIFT FOR WOMEN
Susan Gubar is a professor of English and Women's studies here at IU. She is famous for editing the Norton Anthology of Women's Literature during the time people were figuring out that it might be important to recognize women's literature. In 2008 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and sentenced to an early death. Well she survived and wrote this fabulous, raw and amazing book about her ordeal. Notably, she held a public reading of this work here in Bloomington and invited her oncologist to read the poems she (the oncologist) had written right beside her. It was the most talked about literary event of this year. I returned it to the library at chapter three. Someone has since leant me another copy. I have hope I will finish it.
A GREAT COFFE TABLE BOOK and GIFT FOR A WOMAN
For Christmas last year my husband gave me this fabulous collection of photographs by Nancy HIller and Kendall Reeves. The subject is women's homes, beautifully imagined and decorated and lived in. They are small, big, victorian, town homes, city homes, barns. They are lavishly decorated with heirlooms and found items and art and personality. Each home is written about with love and intrigue. When the book was launched the authors had a great exhibition at a local gallery that we attended. Thanks to my husband who gave me a beautiful book I can feel free to leaf through all year and not be obliged to finish. This is the wonder of the coffee table book.
GREAT GIFT FOR A CHILD OR A PARENT WHO WOULD RATHER PLAY THAN COOK
Out of the blue I recalled this lovely old book I used to check out from my public library as a kid. Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow was a child's cookbook for making wood chip stew and dandelion lollipops and of course, the best kind of mud pies. The copy from the library was stained with grass and dirt and lovingly used over and over again for every tea party with dolls any girl ever held. I don't know what made me remember it, but I had to have it and lucky me it was not out of print. I will have to haunt the used bookstores to find one that has all the lovely grass stains that I remember, but at least I have this one to share with my daughter when she is ready to start cooking for her dolls.
A GREAT GIFT FOR ANYONE WHO LIKES TO LAUGH
Mike Bribiglia is famous for his storytelling routines often broadcast on public radio's This American Life. This year he came out with a film autobiography called Sleepwalk with Me, basically his memoirs about sleepwalking when the stress hits life. This is the book that the movie is based on--or perhaps this book is based on his movie which is based on his comedy/storytelling routines. I just read that the movie is available on i-tunes. I will probably download and watch that since even though the book is funny, I don't think I am going to get to finish it but someone on your gift lift might love it!
I wish all my readers--all three of you--the best book filled Holiday season there could possibly be. I am going to intentionally take a vacation until after the first of the year in order to possibly get some reading done. I'll be back with more good reads in 2013. Namaste.