Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books & Things - What I got for Christmas & Birthday

I'm including my birthday gifts here because I was too lazy to blog about them before Christmas. My birthday is December 22. I won't spend time whining about how over the years I have received lots of Christmas/birthday presents. It happened sometimes, but not enough to scar me for life. Plus, Valerie never combines gifts, and her gifts are always just what I wanted even when she surprises me with something that I hadn't put on my Christmas wish list. :-)

Birthday Gifts
Drood by Dan Simmons - I've been wanting this book all since it was released in February. I've been rather obsessed with it. Searching the New Releases shelf during each visit to Half Price Books since its release. The kind of funny thing is that I've never read any Wilkie Collins books or Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood. However, I did purchase a copy of Dickens's book and Collins's The Woman in White at Half Price Books during the spring or summer, but I haven't found the time to read either yet. I even downloaded a free audiobook of Collins's book. It's funny how I can sometimes read about a book and can't stop thinking about it. I think I'll have to read Drood very soon, even though it's 784 pages makes it a daunting read for this slow reader.

CueCat Barcode Scanner from LibraryThing - Yes, I'm a nerd. I've been wanting one of these as long as I've known about them, but I wouldn't purchase myself one because I thought it was silly. However, Valerie and I really need to weed some books and organize what we have. I'm not happy about the thought of getting rid of books, but I'm excited about organizing them in a joint library. We downsized our living space in April and weeded several boxes of books then, but, sadly, we still need to weed more, especially since we can't seem to stop accumulating them.

Smart Glass Necklace - A couple of years ago, Valerie gave me some cool cobalt blue earrings made of recycled glass, and this year, she gave me a matching necklace. I was totally surprised by the necklace, but it was a perfect gift. :-)

(Some) Christmas Gifts
Because Valerie and I bought a new TV for ourselves right after Thanksgiving, we only gave each other stocking stuffers on Christmas day. Once again, she made great surprising choices: a nifty Scrabble tile necklace that she purchased from someone on Etsy.com, some superb sterling silver earrings that I can wear all the time, and a box of Red Hots. I love Red Hots!

I got lots of other good things from Valerie's family and from one of my nephews-in-law--my extended family is too big, so we draw names--but I won't bore you with all the details. I'll limit myself to the two books I received.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson - I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. Robinson and Joseph O'Neill did an Inprint reading here in September, and I had to miss it because my school Meet Your Teacher Night was the same night. Since I was having a book fair that week, I had to be there to sell books that night, and I'm still upset about the timing. Anyway, every time I hear someone talk about this book, it makes me think that I have missed out on a masterpiece. This book is rather short, so it should be easy to work into my reading schedule very soon.

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro - I've read two other books of Munro's stories, Runaway and The View from Castle Rock, which I read this summer as part of my Short Story Reading Project. I've completely fallen in love with her writing, and I would now list her as one of my favorite writers. I can't wait to find the time to read this volume of stories.

Like I said above, I got lots of good gifts that I'm very grateful for, and I feel like the gifts that I gave were well received. As far as I'm concerned, Birthday and Christmas 2009 were GREAT!

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