Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all. Feel free to use this as an open thread to mention/discuss the books you’ve received/given this Christmas.

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Happy Holidays to all! I got Against The Day from my parents. However, I have several novels already on my table, so I might not get to it until next year. This has been another great year for fiction – Vollmann’s NBA win last year and Powers’s win this year. Finally some of my absolute favorites are receiving the top-shelf recognition they so deserve. BTW, Scott, your bookshelf looks frighteningly similar to mine.

3 days ago I was hunting through the crap at Habitat for Humanity looking for maybe a non-Maigret Simenon or an old forgotten noir and instead I found Independent People. All I knew was that he won the Nobel, didn’t know when, and the 3 overthemoon blurbs were by Leithauser, Smiley (Jane) and Annie Proulx. Lucky me–50 cents!

The book that I was happiest to get was Partial Payments by Joseph Epstein–a collection of essays on various writers.
I read two essays last night and then today succumbed to the charms of David Copperfield–I’ve been wanting to reread it for a while, and now’s the time. But I’ll get back to Epstein soon.

Not a single book. I’ll have to choose my own.

I gave away:
Q Road by Bonnie Jo Campbell
John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead
The Right Man for the Job by Mike Magnuson
Provinces of Night by William Gay
Nobody was crazy enough to try to buy me a book, believing I’d probably already have it if I wanted it.

Howl: 50th Anniversary Edition, w/ original draft facsimile, transcript and variant versions – Allen Ginsberg
Book of Sketches – Jack Kerouac
What is the What – Dave Eggers
And a gift certificate, with which I’m buying:
Collected Stories – Amy Hempel
Independent People – Halldor Laxness
The Shape of Things to Come – Greil Marcus


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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