Tuesday, January 01, 2008

christmas full of books

This, assuming I haven't forgotten any, is the pile of books that made up our Christmas book gifts. Most of these were from Momma and me to the boys. Four of them were gifts from my family to Momma and me. The one book that wasn't actually a Christmas present was purchased within a day or two of the actual day as I finished shopping for my family, so I've included it, that one being the The New Encyclopedia of American Animals.

Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits as well as Alton Brown's book, I'm Just Here for the Food, were gifts to me, visible in the two lower corners. Next to Alton Brown are the gifts to Momma, Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef and The Reach of a Chef.

I'm well into The Nasty Bits and am a big fan of Bourdain's work. This makes the third of his books that I own. The two Ruhlman books are firsts for us as is Alton Brown. Momma and I have become fans of Ruhlman through his appearances with Bourdain, while the entire family loves Alton Brown. Big Brother and I have enjoyed his show Good Eats for a while, and though Momma also enjoys the show, she generally seems to be at work when we get a chance to watch it.

Among the other books, one notable is The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman's ode to making your baby hate Jesus (sarcasm) which Big Brother seems to be enjoying. I've mentioned this book before as one that we loaned out never to see again. I've wanted to replace it for some time, and we finally did. You can see the top of a book mark peeking out. In addition we picked up three other Pullman books, I Was a Rat, Clockwork and The Fireworks Maker's Daughter. These are all delightful stories and fairly quick reads, and I've read two of the three already.

One really cool book that I was unfamiliar with is Abarat, by Clive Barker. It's the second kid's book of his that we have, and I've also already read it in the week since Christmas. Now we have to hunt down a copy of the next of his Abarat books so I can read the rest of the adventures of Candy Quackenbush. It's an odd story in the best possible way and exactly what a fan of Clive Barker would expect. In addition to a great story the book is full of illustrations painted by Barker, beautiful work that really pulls one deeper into the story.

A couple of notables that I've barely flipped through but look forward to diving fully into are The Dangerous Book for Boys, mentioned variously and randomly by a few homeschooling bloggers I enjoy, though I can't think now who. It was with their mentions in mind that I snatched this up as soon as I saw it, though it wasn't technically on any list when I did see it. Next to it, the bright red book at the top of the picture, is Characters from Tolkien by David Day, the purple book with the giant TOLKIEN. This was a score from the used book store, one that I wasn't looking for but again had to snatch up as soon as I saw it. Having flipped through it a bit I've been awed by the art, not to mention the further immersion into Middle Earth.

There are, as one can see, a number of books not getting a mention in this post. I didn't set out to write an obnoxious list of gifts and books, but there are a few I'm proud and happy to finally own as well as some new discoveries. My parents were kind of enough to give us two new bookcases, so I know that as soon as they're put together our new books will have a home. We'll also need to sort through all our books and arrange them somewhat sensibly. I still won't put all my foodie books and cookbooks together, but at least the kids books can all go on a bookcase together, removing several of them from my foodie bookcase.

Apart from some really good ham and the joy of seeing family, the pile of books might be my favorite part of Christmas. Some people fantasize about rolling around in piles of cash, while I dream of the day I can wallow in a big pile of books, or maybe just have a huge room with built in book cases lining the walls, each full with a variety of friends and neighbors of the written persuasion. And no, you can't borrow any of them, because I've learned that lesson a few times. But you are welcome to come by and hang out and read.


Ren said...

A pile of books for Christmas would be truly lovely.
I just finished The Golden Compass for the first time and really enjoyed it. Planning to get the next two in the trilogy.

Let me know what you think of The Dangerous Book for Boys. I've also heard it mentioned but not looked into it. Mainly because I don't want my daughter thinking the suggestions are not for her as well.:) Though she's comfortable with power tools so I doubt a title for boys would stop her.

JJ Ross said...

I LOVE this post! I'd post a picture of our pile if FavD weren't too busy to um, do it for me, since I can't -- but let's see, she gave me The Portable Atheist, I gave her two pricey photo books Ren will smile at (the gorgeous Kevyn Aucoin make-up books, along with a Mac thermal case for the theatre dressing room!) and there were at least a dozen weird word books this year, like "The dord, the diglot and an avocado or two, and "Six words you never knew had something to do with pigs" -- to go with my previously blogged "word books for pubescent nephews".