The same procedure as every year…
Every year Ralf asks me what I want for Christmas and every year I answer ‘a book’.
We would dispense with the gift-giving entirely if it weren’t for the kids, but this is a fine solution since there are some books I’d love to own but rarely buy for myself. We’re talking about the large and opulent so-called coffee table books that weigh ten pounds apiece.* The Library. A World History by James W.P. Campbell and Will Pryce published by the University of Chicago Press (2013) is one of these – so beautiful that I find myself wishing, once again, that it were possible to transport oneself (Physically. Mentally I’m already there.) into a place using the pages and a magic word or two.
Rock the Shack was my gift to Ralf, although why exactly I should whet his appetite for building even more at the moment, I don’t know. It’s just that I saw this book last summer in Berlin at the Bücherbogen on Savignyplatz and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. Photos of fantastic cabins located in even more spectacular settings make up most of the book and it is not very informative. However, it has been leafed through many times already, often accompanied by deep sighs and plans to build a tiny hut in an extremely remote place someday.
Once the hut or house has been built, the next logical step would be to fill it with books. Leslie Geddes-Brown’s Books do Furnish a Room (I received it in German: Räume für Menschen, die Bücher lieben) offers more than enough ideas. This is basically a picture book of books on shelves in various rooms of the house from fancy loft apartments to tiny bathrooms and there is no way a bibliophile could ever get tired of looking at it.
Soprano’s Family Cookbook was under the tree because two years ago Ralf received the Sopranos DVD set from my dad for Christmas and then we spent the better part of the following summer hooked on the series. The cookbook is for fans who also got hungry for baked ziti while watching the episodes and it is full of little stories and anecdotes from the Soprano family.
Iris Hammelmann’s Haltet die Welt an. Von Aussteigern und Einsiedlern has short essays on people who have lived outside society, from monks (including Francis of Assisi) to philosophers to those who have founded their own communes to a short bit about Howard Hughes.
My 17-year old son, Alexander, was adamant that I should read The Bartimaeus Novels by Jonathan Stroud, but since his are in German and I would only read them in English, I have now received a Bartimaeus book from him for the third Christmas in a row. Ptolemy’s Gate is the title but I shall have to put off reading it until I have many uninterrupted hours to immerse myself into the last story about this sarcastic and funny grouch of a djinni, without anyone coming along and wanting something from me.
From my friend Liisa in Lapland, I received two novels, both of which also take place in Lapland (she does this on purpose, I know, to make me wish I was back up north). Oliver Truc’s Viimeinen Saamelainen (original: Le Dernier Lapon, English: Forty Days Without Shadow) which I began reading immediately (see more under Books Read). Veripailakat is the first novel by Milla Ollikainen who won a crime novel contest sponsored by the publisher Like and Suomen Dekkariseura ry (Finnish Crime Novel Association) and which takes place in and around Ylläs.
All in all, a booklover’s perfect Christmas!
* Couldn’t resist going into the kitchen and finding out…The Library. A World History by James W.P. Campbell and Will Pryce weighs 2,315 kg (5,1 lbs)