Thursday, December 25, 2008
This year, for the second time, we decided to give only books to each other for the holiday. That's right. Books from Brazos Bookstore in Houston. Brazos is one of the last remaining independent bookstores, and at the holiday season, it is absolutely stuffed with wonderfulness. (I say that even though I have a small ownership interest in the store which might prejudice me somewhat.)
I thought some people might be interested in what books we actually gave and received.
Hale, for example, has been immersed all morning in National Geographic: The Photographs. I was in the store hoping for inspiration when the cover of this little book jumped out at me. It's the famous closeup photograph of the Afghan Girl, the one with the striking green eyes that was everywhere in the media a few years ago. On the back cover, there's a similarly posed photograph of the same person, a mother now, and seeing the change is quite moving.
We each gave the other Philip Roth's new book, Indignation. (Obviously, we don't coordinate.) I got Toni Morrison's A Mercy, along with the theory of light and matter, by Andrew Porter (an award-winning collection of short stories), Kathy Huber's book on Texas Flower Gardens, and a lovely book on home decor called Casa San Miguel.
I gave Hale John Le Carre's new one, A Most Wanted Man; also, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, the Untold History of English by John McWhorter and The Widows of Eastwick, by John Updike.
None of these choices are shots in the dark, of course, but rather books chosen out of a thousand references to subjects of interest over the year. How could one ask for a more personal gift than that, or one that will give more lasting pleasure?
Now to find space in our bookshelves...