Only five more days…

Recent acquisitions.

Recent acquisitions.

… until jólabókaflóð!. As I shared last year, it delights me that the way in which we have celebrated Christmas Eve for more than thirty years has a name, “Christmas book flood.”

A flurry of coupons, gift cards, and textbook sellbacks has meant that I’ve experienced a bit of a flood before the flood, so to speak. Speaking of recent acquisitions, The Vegetarian is a fine book, but it has, in my opinion, been rather over-praised. The “Kafka-esque” description, for example. Really? It reminded me more of Josephine Hart’s Damage (1991) — fraught, erotic, offbeat, memorable even; but, ultimately, slight.

Soon it will be time for my annual reading life review. At this writing, I’ve completed 120 119 118 books, of which thirty were graphic works and seventeen were plays. Interestingly, at least a dozen were rereads, including a number of books first read in high school or earlier (e.g., The Call of the Wild (Jack London) and The Turn of the Screw (Henry James)).

What have you been reading? What books do you hope to receive this holiday?

12 thoughts on “Only five more days…

  1. I just started TOOLS OF TITANS by Tim Ferriss, which is a compendium of practical tips, tricks, and best practices organized according to things that make you healthy, wealthy, and wise, based on the Benjamin Franklin quote. It is both massive and fascinating.

    I am also reading BEATRICE AND VIRGIL by Yann Martel. I loved LIFE OF PI, which I thought was masterful and beautiful, so I picked up this novel as a follow-up. While it is quite different I like what it is saying about art and creativity so I find it engaging.

    On the boring side I am reading INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN FOR E-LEARNING by Marina Arshavskiy, which is a work-related instructional book.

    I just finished a couple of graphic works; DAREDEVIL BACK IN BLACK VOLUME 1: CHINA TOWN, which I thought was a great story and a new SUPERMAN book, which I thought was awful. I really despise what DC has done with my favorite hero.


    • Good to see you! Tools of Titans was supposed to arrive on my doorstep yesterday, but the weather delayed deliveries. Great minds, eh? Life of Pi is a nearly perfect novel — beautifully told, thoughtful, unique. I loved it. And I am glad to “meet” another reader of graphic works. What other titles do you follow?

      Have a wonderful holiday!


      • I usually stick to the superhero type books. I have always loved Superman, and I also enjoy other classic heroes like Batman, Captain America, etc. I also enjoyed The Watchmen by Alan Moore, which, while not your classic superhero book, still falls into that subject matter.

        Very recently, I have tried branching out because–as you know–there is a whole world of graphic fiction that has nothing to do with superheroes.

        For example, I just recently borrowed one on Andre the Giant called “Closer to Heaven”. I also borrowed a book called MIRROR: THE MOUNTAIN by Emma Rios. The art in that looks sumptuous.

        My experience with other types of graphic fiction is limited so any recommendations would be welcomed. You are the one who got me to read THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG after all, which was wonderful.

        On that note, have you read Barbery’s newest book THE LIFE OF ELVES? I was deeply disappointed in it, but I would love to know your thoughts.


  2. We went to Iceland this fall on vacation and for many reasons I made the statement that it seemed to be a country made for me. Jólabókaflóð is yet another reason. Both Air BNB’s that we stayed in were well-stocked with reading selections in English and Icelandic.

    I just finished All the Birds in the Sky which was excellent. For Christmas I bought myself The Mistletoe Murders by P.D. James and I’m saving it for the day after when I can finally have the time to snuggle up and read for hours.


  3. I just joined a Shakespeare in a Year 2017 Facebook group (through a WTM acquaintance of yore), and Two Gentlemen of Verona is up first. I am reading A Man Called Ove and My Brilliant Friend for an in-person book club. I am looking for an astronomy text as well.

    Warmest wishes!


      • My son is in his junior year in college studying computer science and he could not be happier. My daughter is a senior part-time homeschooler/part-time public schooler, and is very involved with FIRST robotics. College application deadlines are upon us — she is looking at engineering or physics.

        How about your daughters? I get the impression that they are thriving at university.

        Happy New Year!


      • How can your youngest be a senior already? Congratulations to both of your students — and to you. My youngest would tell your youngest to choose physics, by the way. *smile*

        The girls, 19 and 20, are juniors (and roommates) studying physics and psychology, respectively. The 20yo landed a research assignment shortly after arriving on campus this fall; she’s with a lab devoted to adult learning. As the semester drew to a close, the 19yo secured a spot on an experimental HEP research team that is working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

        They amaze me.

        I think of you often, by the way, especially when the youngest talks about her assorted dream-job scenarios (one of which is working where your brother did (does?) here in our state). Edited to add: The world seems so much smaller because of the internet, doesn’t it? It feels as if we’ve known each other for years, although we’ve never met; as if our children have attended school together, although they’ve never met.

        Should I move A Man Called Ove onto my TBR pile?


  4. Hmm. A Man Called Ove seems to be wildly popular but I didn’t really like it. A cranky, aggressively rude man is loved by generous, warm-hearted women — why?

    Alas, the funding ran out on my brother’s experiment, and he decided that he didn’t want to follow the research to CERN (– why?). I think he’s trying to transition to something in computing.

    I also transitioned last spring and now work with radio astronomers ( If your daughter is ever interested . . . .


  5. Pingback: Notes about the stack | ~ Nerdishly ~

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