Hello again! Aaron and I just returned from an energizing holiday weekend in Iowa. I’d like to thank the Iowa winter for its complimentary drill in snow-storm driving — Kansas has been making me soft.
As we gradually get back into the swing of things, I just want to tell you all shortly & sweetly about our Christmas spent with bibliophiles. Some families give each other clothing, electronics, toys, and gadgets, but in our family we see a ton of books come out from underneath the tree. Here’s a quick recap of what we all gave & got:
|Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF
I hadn’t heard of the Regretsy blog before, but they had me immediately at the Fish-in-a-Squirrel-Suit Taxidermy and the Phallic Chapstick Cozy. The sublimely awful DIY projects chronicled here have all been actually listed — and yes, even bought — on Etsy, some for several hundred dollars. It kind of defies explanation; you just have to see it for yourself.
My step-sister and I got to geek out about meatless eating over the holidays. Although we never got around to making that tofurkey, we did commiserate about all the mashed potatoes we ended up eating for dinner. She squealed when she opened up this book from her sister, and I’m dying to check out what’s in-between the covers!
|The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
I first heard about this fascinating book on an episode of one of my favorite public radio shows, RadioLab. As the story of the woman who posthumously — and unknowingly — contributed cancerous cells for one of the very first stem cell experiments, I think it suits my physician-bibliophile brother very well.
My mom loves historical fiction and serial-killer crime dramas! Readers: meet the best of both worlds. NYC’s police commissioner circa 1896 enlists a psychologist — aka Alienist — to help capture a serial-killer who’s been butchering boy prostitutes. In addition to being a suspenseful thriller, this book has gotten rave reviews about its portrayal of New York’s social history.
|Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Zombies, Star Wars, video games… if it’s kind of geeky, odds are pretty good that my husband’s going to like it. We’re also both huge fans of the mash-up (did I ever tell you about the time I stalked mash-up activist Lawrence Lessig at his Stanford Law office?). My sister gifted this to Aaron this year, with its immortal opening line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
|The Millennium-Series trilogy, including two copies of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
I know I talked a little smack about this “Nordic Noir” series a couple weeks ago. But honestly, what’s not to love? I hadn’t previously known that these three books were published posthumously, nor that Stieg Larsson spent many of his years in Sweden as an activist against right-wing extremism. I can’t wait to chat up Amy — who received these books from multiple people — after she’s had a chance to read them.
|The Eight and The Fire
Sometime between Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, Katherine Neville penned these cult-classic thrillers about a female computer-whiz who must recover ancient relics from richly historical settings. The French Revolution, Algeria, chess sets, abbeys, paintings, music… it’s all here! Rachel D. gifted these to Amanda, describing them as two of her all-time favorite books.
| Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA Petbook
Aaron’s mom just took off for an eight-month sojourn in Idaho, along with two kitties and two enormous great danes! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the dogs outweigh Janis 4:1. Although she already has a lot of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to traveling with animals — need to sneak a cat into a hotel room, anyone? — this guide might just have a couple new tips.
Yes, I know it’s not a book, but as a format-inclusive librarian I felt it deserved a mention. We all watched in rapt attention all weekend as Aaron play this with his PS3 on a 65″ monitor, and we screamed in horror every time a dragon swooped down to do horrible things. Often described as “relentless,” “unforgiving,” “brutal,” and “the ultimate hardcore RPG challenge,” I’m a little lost on the appeal… but Aaron seems to really love it ; )
|Zombie Cross-Stitch: 12 Patterns to Raise the Dead
Also not a book, but clearly amazing… and comes with a book, included in the kit. Manda: I would like one delicious-brains hankie toute suite, thanks!
My other favorite part about getting together with my family is that we all get to sit around and chat about what we’ve been reading. My sis and I swapped sci-fi / fantasy recommendations this year: she suggests George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I suggest Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness.
What about you, Readers: gotten any shiny new books lately?