Other Than Peace and Love, Books are Holiday Treasures

One one hand, I am difficult to shop for in the holiday season. I don’t need much. I have a beautiful family and more stuff than I need. On the other hand, I do love books. So I found a few paper treasures with my name on it yesterday (and gave out my fair share, too). The problem with receiving so many cool books at once is not just where to begin, but how to finish the book already underway (I am reading At Home by Bill Bryson) so that I can get to the pile of books that await me.

Here is what is in the personal book queue (aka, the pile of books on my bedside table):

The Best American Nonrequired Reading

The Best Non-Required Reading of 2011. This series remains my stalwart favorite, and I just read the introduction by Dave Eggers (loved it) and Guillermo del Toro, who not only makes interest films but also keeps an entire house just for his books. That’s right. He has a house as a personal library. His intro really captures the love of reading and why books matter. And I love that this collection is culled by high school students, and that the writing comes from traditional and non-traditional sources.

The Best American Short Stories of 2011. Another great collection, and one which I look forward to reading each year. It turns out I have a bunch of these “best of …” that I read throughout the year (the technology stories one is always a keeper, too). I’m a sucker for the collections, I guess.

Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson. I guess this has become required reading, and my two older sons said they might read it, too. I’ve read biographies of Jobs before and found them interesting. I’ll see how this one holds up too, given all the praise it seems to be getting (or is that because Jobs is dead?). I’m all for what Apple has done for design and ease, but I am a little leery of the Cult of Steve that seems to have been built around him.

I walked With Giants, an autobiography of Jimmy Heath, is a nice surprise. My dad gave it to me. Heath, the famous jazz saxophonist, had a celebrated life in the world of jazz, and I know his life story is interesting, beginning with his role as the “Little Bird,” in the shadows of Charlie Parker. Life stories of musicians always fascinate me.











And my own purchase for myself: Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan. I know his writing a bit, but not much, but the rave reviews of his essays has me ready to jump in.

What are you reading?

Peace (in the pages),



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