Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Books for Christmas

There are all kinds of things the family can give me as gifts for the holiday that will make me happy, but nothing more than a carefully chosen book.
by Charlie Leck

I got an awful lot of wonderful Christmas gifts and I’m filled with gratitude. Among the things I got – things like sweaters, a new Bose sound system (Bluetooth), a charging base for my iPhone and iPad, Oregon wine, a Starbucks card – were a stack of new books. Amazing, wonderful books!

Having gone to bed terribly early because of the way Christmas exhausts me, I awoke in the middle of the night and started thinking about my new books. I climbed the stairs to my wonderful tree-house study and hauled the big pile of books with me. You’ll hear about these volumes as time passes because I’ll be writing about them here on this blog.

The first of the books I cracked, however, in the early, dark morning hours of today was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (a novel). I’m about a third of the way through the book and I know already that it’s a winner and has to be one 2012’s finest works. This is a danged good writer. More about it later this week…

Here’s how I was blessed with additional books this Christmas…

All four volumes of Robert A. Caro’s biographical works about Lyndon Baines Johnson. I’m very excited about reading them. (I've already read the Introduction to Means of Ascent (Ends and Means) and it was wonderful. Caro is currently at work on the fifth and final volume in this biography.
A biography of the life of Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man, by Sylvie Simmons. Cohen work has meant a lot to me over the years and especially in my young and desperate times.
 Interventions, by Richard Russo – a boxed set of four small cloth volumes including three short stories and a novella. It's no secret here, because I've told you a number of times, that Russo is my favorite contemporary writer. So this little treasure gets me pumped.
 Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon – a novel that won the National Book Award. I know nothing about this, but the person who gave it to me certainly knows how to pick books worth reading.
 On Par, the Everyday Golfer’s Survival Guide by Bill Pennington. It sounds wonderful and I think I’m going to like it.
 Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, is a massively big book that I really know nothing about, but as I read the back-cover comments it sounds as if it’s going to be wonderful. It’s over 1,000 pages, so let’s hope the glowing comments about the work are correct. I’ll let you know.
 1775, by Kevin Phillips, was on my Christmas wish list. It’s won high, high praise as a historical work that highlights the pivotal year in the birth of America.

And, now, to sit back and read awhile!

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