Two years ago we spent Christmas with some friends who have the most picturesque farm you could ever imagine. Waiting on each of the very cozy guest beds was a present for each of the overnight guests. We each ended up getting a book. Being the
bookish person control freak that I am, I was a little dubious. How dare someone give me a book. I’m the book guy. My present was a novel that I had never heard of but ended up really quite liking: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. The whole experience opened me up to the idea of people giving me books. I’ve been so particular in what I’ve wanted to read for the past decade, I had forgotten what it was like to accept a book gift or loan from someone.
So this year, as we plan to stay overnight with these friends again the week before Christmas, I thought I should get them a book or two. Why not? I’ll tell you why not, because I know they read, but I have no idea what they like to read. But then I thought about how they took a chance giving me something to read so maybe I shouldn’t make the whole thing too complicated. So I went to Politics and Prose and picked out a handful of books that I have really liked. I kept thinking of dystopian novels I wanted to give them but realized I should probably limit those to just one. Not everyone finds a good dystopian read a fun experience. In the end I tried to make it an eclectic stack thinking that at least one of them will interest them (and hoping that they both end up liking all of them).
I think you will agree, it’s a fairly eclectic stack. I wanted to add Elif Shafak’s Three Daughter’s of Eve to the stack but that one wasn’t in stock.
I loved the A.M. Homes short story collection. Especially the one about the respectable couple who decide to try crack.
The Jackson lets in a bit of Gothic mystery weirdness.
Although a huge fan of John Williams’ Stoner, I think I like Butcher’s Crossing even more. And it’s a better book.
The Starnone (Mr. Elena Ferrante) was a quirky, touching tale of a long-married couple.
I love the end of civilization as we know it scenario that Mandel created in Station Eleven.
I guess The Dinner is dystopian in its own way, but all too real.