Book swag

Phil Ford

This will be my last post for a week or so. (Really, this time I mean it.) If Christmas is your thing, I hope you had a good one. I know that the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about love and giving and stuff, but really, for me, it’s about books. Not necessarily a lot of books, but for me it’s not Christmas without at least a couple of things to read. And not professional stuff, either. That’ll be waiting for me when I get back to work. This is a holiday, dammit, and I’m going to read what I want to read.

So, here’s a challenge to whatever music bloggers or litbloggers or academic bloggers might still be trawling the blogosphere in these quiet days. What books did you get/were you given this month? This is my own haul of Christmas book swag:

  • American Elf Sketchbook Diaries, Volume 2, by James Kochalka (my favorite comix evar)
  • Pierre Bayard, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read
  • Jo Walton, Farthing
  • Neil Stephenson, Quicksilver
  • John Crowley, Little, Big

The last three obviously cater to my SF/fantasy jones. (How about this for a better term of literary genre: Geek Fiction, or GF). This is all I really wanted for Christmas.

Well, also a hat.

photo_1012

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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15 Responses to Book swag

  1. Lisa Hirsch says:

    Please post about Little, Big when you’ve read it. Almost everyone I know loves it passionately; I didn’t get it.

  2. Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day. I’m nearly half way through, but it will probably be the first book next year rather than the last book in this one.

  3. Bob says:

    I’m on p. 708 of Quicksilver today — enjoying it a lot (have already bought another of his). Hope you do too! I read Little, Big last year, and enjoyed it, but apparently you’ve got to read the correct edition, not the $0.10 paperback version. I’m w/ Lisa — didn’t quite get it. Have a good read!

  4. Michael says:

    Phil, thanks for the tip on the Bayard (I really liked your dissertation, by the way.) I’ll definitely look for that soon!

  5. OpGal says:

    Catch – 22
    A collection of Mark Twain essays
    yes, that looks odd to me too!
    ~wod~

  6. Galen says:

    “Minimalism: Origins” by Strickland. I read the music section a few years ago, but now I’ll have it for my reference library and I can read the other sections as well.
    “My Father’s Dragon” by Gannett. Got it along with a very copshow rabbit-in-hat puppet at my office Yankee Swap.
    “Management and Reporting Standards: Standards for Annual Giving and Campaigns in Educational Fund Raising, Third Edition” by CASE. Got it for work. More interesting than it sounds, if you work in fundraising.
    “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson. I read the original Wired article back when it first came out (you know, back before it was cool. . .) and I’m looking forward to the book.
    A guitar playing book, because I suck at the guitar and aspire to sucking less.
    And I’m currently reading “The Rest Is Noise,” although I didn’t get it this month. It’s excellent.

  7. Navel Gazer says:

    I struck out on books this year (for a variety of reasons), but did snag a collection called _The Paranoid Fifties_ from my husband’s childhood bedroom. I already read _I Am Legend_. Looking forward to _Day of the Triffids_ (Wyndham) and _Time Out of Joint_ (Dick). Quicksilver is really good, but it’s the last Stephenson book I was able to get all the way through.
    Am I the only musicologist who just assumed that they would get a copy of Alex Ross’s book? I guess I’ll put my name on the list at the public library.

  8. heather says:

    Oh, I loved “How to talk about books you haven’t read.” I actually read it, with a certain shame at my own philistinism. Hope it comes out in paperback next year so I can distribute it liberally.
    I received “Eat Pray Love,” which is pretty bad. Really bad. The kind of book where somebody loved it and gives it to you, and that undermines your faith in them and in your friendship with them.
    I didn’t get Alex Ross’s book either! And I wanted it!
    I bought “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for a special someone and am looking forward to presenting it on the Seventh Day of Christmas (Monday).

  9. Kip W says:

    Enjoy “Farthing.” The second book is already out (“Ha’Penny”), and she seems to be just about done writing the finale (“Half a Crown”). It’s great stuff, even if I find myself shivering a little as I read it.
    The Library of America has a truly wondrous two-book compilation of Mark Twain’s short stuff — stories, columns, speeches, essays — which is the most heady, concentrated draught of reading matter known. Even more than the original run of MAD comics, which is saying something.
    My recent acquisitions are a bit more prosaic: volume 2 of “Batman: Black and White,” and a Showcase edition of 50s Superman stories (500 pages of head-smacking stupidity to savor), also black and white, and a special treat: the “Magic in the Air” volume from Grolier’s Junior Classics, which includes the complete story “Mischief in Fez,” which enchanted the socks off of me years ago. I’d been wanting to re-read it for years, and finally developed an unquenchable jones for it when I got to pet a baby fennec at the Wilbraham Fall Festival.

  10. Sammee says:

    I could talk about the books I DIDN’T get, but WANTED for Christmas. Such as, Bill Bryson’s, “History of Nearly Everything” and Stephen Colbert’s “I Am American and So Can You.” Oh well.
    I like the idea of having a genre called GF or Geek Fiction. I think it would end up including a lot of sci-fi and fantasy: That term would encompass the two.

  11. MJ says:

    I got a book of Marian prayers (from my priest) and a paperback Italian dictionary. I already had an Italian dictionary (although smaller and harder to use), so I gave the old one to my priest. Not a very good Christmas, book-wise.
    I second the Geek Fiction moniker and wonder why someone hadn’t thought of that before. Do the DUNE books count as GF, or did having Sting associate himself with them cover over their geekiness?

  12. Andy H-D says:

    I actually did get Alex Ross’s new book, and I’m not even a real musicologist. One of my professors also gave me her book, but maybe it counts since it’s a mystery.
    I’m way big into GF too, I’ve spent many an hour at the idols of Stephenson and Gibson. (I’m assuming that GF would include steampunk.) Been thinking about re-reading The Baroque Cycle, except it took me nearly a year to do it the first time…

  13. Yeah, books! I got:
    A new edition of Nick Salvatore’s bio about the Man From Terre Haute, EUGENE DEBS: CITIZEN AND SOCIALIST.
    Jeanine Basinger’s THE STAR MACHINE (about 1930s-50s Hollywood)
    Michael Chabon, THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION (great premise, but a bit disappointing so far)
    John Bush Jones, THE SONGS THAT FOUGHT THE WAR: POPULAR MUSIC AND THE HOME FRONT, 1939-1945
    …and last but not least, THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF PULPS.

  14. Hi, and boy did I get to this late. I got the New Granta Book of the American Short Story, which was exceedingly gratifying. And a big hello to David Brent Johnson, w/ whom I worked at the Bloomington Borders back around 2002, when it was still cool. One minor problem, though: Christmas presents aren’t really swag. Swag is promotional crap, Stuff We All Get, the type of books that end up on the Employee Free Shelf at bookstores (and magazines). My two cents.

  15. Hannah says:

    I’m curious about your take on Little Big too. I’m with Lisa up there…I feel like I just didn’t get it, and yet somehow deep down, I did. Maybe?

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