Ahhh, there's nothing like cruising into the last week of the year with the assurance that you're well into your fiftieth book and nothing -- no, nothing! I defy fate to get in my way! HA! -- will keep you from your goal. More on that in the next day or so, but for now let's engage in a time-honoured ritual as ancient as this sacred festival itself: tallying up our loot.
Before I start, I must recant something I posted a short while back. Remember when I said that it's impossible to shop for a book person (i.e. me) without reference to a cheat list? I was wrong -- and happy to be so. It turns out that if you know someone really well and you're prepared to do some clever lateral thinking you can totally knock the socks off a book person (i.e. me).
You could do what my mom did, and give me a vegetarian cookbook. Now, I already have a healthy number of these, but you can never have too many cookbooks. And getting a vegetarian cookbook from my mother -- a woman who gets vegetarianism about as well as I get Keynesian economics -- well, that touches me a fair bit.
Or you could do what my awesome friend Libby did, and give me a newly released novel that she'd read and loved so much that she wanted me to read it, too, so that we could talk about it together on a book date (a date I'm keenly looking forward to, especially now that I'm two-thirds of the way through the book). It shouldn't have come as a surprise that Libby was able to think around me so deftly; I've known since pretty much the inception of our friendship that she's much, much smarter than I am.
Or you could do what my wonderful Doppelsis did and send me a book that was one of my favourite first books, a book that I loved, a book whose title I didn't even remember, a book that I have only ghost memories of reading, and a book that I never in a million years thought would ever cross my path again. I read it to Sam from start to finish as soon as I opened it. The ending was even more touching than I remember. Fortunately, Sam's too young to mock his poor mom for being too choked up to do more than whisper the words.
Or you could do what I did and totally cheat by getting gifts for other people that you secretly want to read yourself. (What? Don't you look at me like that. We've all done it, and don't you deny it. It's a matter of public record that Baby Jesus weeps over your lies.) In this case, it was new books for ol' Sam, mostly to replace many of the baby board books that we're all just done with, because I have to tell you something: if I read Baby's Favourite Toys one more time I'm going to tell Baby exactly where she can put her bloody toy horn, and I'm not going to feel bad about myself afterward.
Shopping for real story books was ridiculously fun. I stuck mostly to the 3-to-5-year-old section, where Sam scored such classics as Where the Wild Things Are and Corduroy, as well as newer titles like Walter the Farting Dog, Olivia Forms a Band, and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. And oh my lord, people, it's such a relief to have real stories in the house -- stories written by people who love words and sounds, and illustrated by people with an eye for the beautiful and the weird -- I can't even begin to describe it. I don't mind re-reading books, if they're good books, so even though we've already read all Sam's new titles more times than I can count, I still find these stories and pictures delightful. Luckily, so does Sam.
Words and pictures, beautiful and weird. What did you get or give along these lines? Anything that amazed and delighted you? I'm home for the week, I have a steady supply of peppermint mocha and mango martinis on standby, and I've got nothing but time to enjoy your comments.