Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Salon- A Bibliophile Christmas




I hope that everyone who celebrates Christmas had a great one last week; I know I did. Good times with friends and family, including great bookish gifts given and received. The best gift I gave was The Elements, by Theodore Gray, a fabulous coffee table book that went to my husband and to a family friend- both of whom loved it. A cross between an encyclopedia and a picture book, it goes through the entire periodic table with beautiful photographs and fascinating stories about the elements that make up our world. Did you know that Howard Hughes was sent on a secret mission by the CIA to recover a sunken Russian ship with a cover story about harvesting manganese nodules from the ocean floor? Or that certain kinds of pre-1942 Fiestaware will set off a Geiger counter? Neither did I, but you'll find these and many other neat anecdotes in this gorgeous and fun book.


I heard about it from the Books on the Nightstand podcast. Thanks Ann and Michael!

The best gift I got was my huge stack of new books and a Sony Touch e-reader to add even more new books to the mix. I think 2010 is going to be a great year in reading!

The details:

Five Finger Fiction, by my Twitter pal Brooks Sigler.
The Ladies of St. Petersberg, by Nina Berberova,
Rasskazy: New Fiction from the New Russia, an anthology of short stories,
Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann,
Song of Time, "literary scifi" by Ian R. MacLeod,
The Last Jew, by Yoram Kaniuk,
a new translation of The Death of Ivan Illych and Other Stories, by Leo Tolstoy- one of my all-time favorite and formative books. I read this when I was a teenager and it's one of the books that formed my taste,
The Klingon Hamlet, a paratext translation of the play by William Shakespeare,
The Making of a Marchioness, by Frances Hodgson Burnett,
Mavis Gallant's Paris Stories,
The Halfway House, by Guillermo Rosales, a "forgotten Cuban masterpiece,"
Burnt Shadows, by Kamila Shamsie,
The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, by Victor Pelevin,
Cassandra at the Wedding, by Dorothy Baker,
Normal People Don't Live Like This, by Dylan Landis,
Buddha, vols 2-4, by Osamu Tezuka, the father of manga,
The Rooftops of Tehran, by Mahbod Seraji,
No Tomorrow, by Vivant Denon, a French novella,
The Last of the Angels, a novel from Iraq by Fadhil Al-Azzawi,
and to top it all off,
Chocolate: A Love Story, by Max Brenner, a cookbook from the restaurant Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man- one of my favorite places in New York City.

I also got the album of music inspired by Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Fun fangirl fun for me!

I haven't bought any e-books yet but with a $25 gift certificate in my hands, I'm sure it won't be long! In any case I think I'll have plenty to keep me busy into the new year and beyond. For now I'm going to pour a glass of eggnog and hang out and watch TV. My husband gave me a DVD of my favorite Jane Austen movie, "Persuasion," and I really, really want to curl up and watch it today!

You can read more Sunday Salon posts here.