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.


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Oh my gosh I am so glad I got to see this pile of books! Thats amazing!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Quite a fantastic book haul for Christmas :-) I got 3 myself, one "from" my mom (bought with money she sent me) and 2 from my SantaThing. I gave the set of Twilight books, along with a collectors tin of 4 Twilight-themed journals and the New Moon movie book to my oldest daughter, who hasn't read the books. And I gave my middle daughter the Michael Jackson picture book (she's a big MJ fan).

Your mineral book looks fascinating :-) Do they have Naquadria in it? :-D (yes, I AM a sci-fi DORK)

Beth F said...

Awesome pile of books!!! Merry Christmas.

Molly said...

WOW --- Santa sure was nice to you!

Enjoy the convenience of shopping for your ereader. I bet you will have that gift card spent in no time :)

wisteria said...

Merry Christmas to YOU!!!
You sure got a lot of goodies there.
Enjoy your new reader and the rest of the holidays.
Very interesting fact about Howard Hughes. The book must be intriguing.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wow, huge stack of books! I just ordered The Elements too (I saw it being gushed about on Powell's website)!

JoAnn said...

Wow - great stack of books!! Where will you start?

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

WOW...That is one terrific stack of books -- sounds like you had a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the last few days of 2009.

Karen Harrington said...

Wow, those are wonderful presents you have there. I want to read Let The Great World Spin. I hear great things about it. Happy Reading!

Michelle said...

That is quite the stash you got there! I too got a Sony Reader not the touch version though. I'm already excited to be able to get some great books to read and save some space with it at the same time.

I'm glad you had a wonderful holiday!

Anna said...

I'm happy to see you had a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy all your new books and that e-reader!

Diary of an Eccentric

Bonnie said...

What a great stack of books Marie! The Elements book sounds fascinating and one my hubby would be interested in. I have to catch up on the Podcasts at books on the nightstand. They suggest some great books. Let us know what your thoughts are on the Sony e-reader.
I only got one unmentionable book (I had read it years ago), a bit of a dud that was disapointing from a holiday swap.

Trisha said...

What an awesome Christmas! You remind me of me - when I find that perfect book to give to someone, I can't stop thinking about it. Giving books makes me happy.

Anonymous said...

Now that's a pile of books. Happy Holidays!

Gavin said...

What a wonderful stck of books, an The Elements! I've been reading about it and may have to spurge and share it with my husband.

The Buddha "mangas" are marvelous and I am curious about "The Song of Time". Have a great week and a Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

I love your stack of books! And, I'll be interested to know how you like your Sony touch...I'm ambivalent about those reading devices, but probably because I've never used one. ;) I just suspect I'd miss the touch of the page and the smell of the paper.

Andi said...

Wow! That is a stellar pile of books, and I can't wait to read what you think of your eReader. I'll be embarking on the e-reading adventure with my nook when it ships on January 4th.

Happy holidays!

My Novel Thoughts said...

Wow, you received some wonderful books! Like others, I am curious to read what you think of your Sony e-reader.

Vasilly said...

You have a fantastic stack of books. I have The Elements on my holds list from my library. I can't wait to get my hands on it and The Buddha books. Happy reading!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, what a stack of books! I can't wait to see what you think of Burnt Shadows - I really liked it a lot, but I think I'm in the minority on that one.

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like you made out like a bandit this Christmas, Marie. :-) Enjoy you Sony Reader and all those great books!

Alexia561 said...

Very impressive stack of books! Have fun with your new eReader, and enjoy all of your books!

Frances said...

That is amazing. Lucky you! I cannot get people to buy me books to save my life. The standout among these for me is Let the Great World Spin, one of my favorite books of the year. Happy reading!

Florinda said...

Wow, that stack of books should keep you busy for quite awhile - looks like you had a very nice Christmas!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You are the winner. Tallest stack of books wins! :-)

I got one book for Christmas. That's better than nada, right?

bookmagic said...

Holy books! Very nice. Do you love your e-reader? I think they are so awesome

Anonymous said...

What a great pile of books you have there!

The Last Jew...a book I have begun to's fascinating so far.

Alayne said...

Lots of books! Way more than me, haha. Happy reading!

Kathleen said...

What an awesome stack!!! P.S. that is really scary about the Fiestaware...I'm pretty sure my mom has some from my grandmother at her house...jeesh!

Memory said...

Man, that is a LOT of books! As I told you on Twitter, I'm so glad you've got your hands on some more of Ozamu Tezuka's Buddha series. I'll look forward to your reviews.

Serena said...

wow, and I thought I had a big stack of books! Happy reading. I remember The Death of Ivan Illych! I loved that story!

I hope you have a happy new year!

Esme said...

Wow-this is quite the list.

Becca said...

What an enviable stack of books, Marie! Awesome!

Mr. BB said...

Kathleen --

Re: Fiesta ware, according to The Elements, the radiation isn't really a big problem (since it's primarily of the mostly harmless "alpha" type, apparently). Scary, yes, but not a big deal.

However, uranium oxide is toxic in its own right, and can apparently leach out of the glaze if the Fiesta ware is used with acidic foods. Yum.

-- Mr. Boston Bibliophile, who really does love this book.

Zibilee said...

It sounds like you had a great Christmas! I love that you got so many books and I am hoping for the day when my extended family sees the light and orders nothing but books for me! I also think it's really cool that you got an e-reader. I hope you will post about your experiences with it! Also, I hope you have a very happy New Year!

Becca said...

Complete jealousness, Marie! I didn't get any books, but I did get a $25 card to Barnes & Noble. My mom knows I love books but she said I had enough- ha! But she still knows me well enough to let me pick out some books for myself anyway. :)

I look forward to your thoughts on Burnt Shadows and Rooftops of Tehran and Normal People Don't Live Like This.