Book 79 of 80
Let’s start this post with a brief recap of Christmas.
This was definitely a book/reading centered Christmas for me. My family knows me so well. In addition to the handful of Barnes and Noble cards, I also got these amazing gifts:
1) I’ll start with the one that made me cry. When I was in the 5th grade, I read a book about Will Rogers from the ValueTales series. (The ValueTales are biographies of famous people written for children — they also focus on specific values (creativity, honesty, laughter, kindness, etc.); my parents had a small collection and I loved reading them. The books through the years ended up destroyed or given away, which of course means that in 2010 (2011) they are worth a small fortune. Here is a complete list of the series.) So, yeah, I loved the Will Rogers book. And because of that book, I chose to be Will Rogers in my 5th grade super-duper cool project The Night of the Notables. Each student researches a person and then becomes that person for one night — parents walk around and ask you questions and try to guess who you are before entering the “Gallery”, where every student has a booth about their person. I don’t know if my school still does this, but it is easily the best elementary school project ever. Here I was: A little blonde girl in pigtails dressed like a cowboy and spouting off political quotes that I didn’t fully understand. But I loved Will Rogers.
A few months ago, I brought up this story while at my mother-in-law’s house. And I lamented that the ValueTale Will Rogers book was gone from my life.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law filed this away and FOUND THE BOOK online for me.
I have to tell you, opening up such a cool, nostalgic, and personal gift meant the world to me. It totally made me cry. I haven’t touched or read that book in roughly twenty years — but it’s there on the periphery as one of the defining books of my life. It has a special place on the bookshelf right now and I don’t think I’ll let my boys touch it for a bit.
2) Okay. So remember when I blogged about Indiespensable? Guess who got a subscription?! ME!! Matt kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas and the only things I kept telling him were for the baby. I’m glad he’s such an amazing gift-giver on his own. He comes up with much better stuff than I can ever wish for. Last year it was a night downtown at the same hotel where we spent the night we got married, along with a dinner, movie, and a book shopping spree to start of this challenge.
This is a co-gift from Matt and my mother-in-law. It just reminds me how blessed I am! I think Matt said they were going to try to keep the subscription up for a year. Wow. So. Totally. Cool. I’m already drooling over January’s installment. Thank you Matt and Jill!
3) And now…from my mom. This gift was a total surprise. I mean…in typical mom fashion…we had agreed that she and my dad would help us build shelves in our garage for Christmas. Which I wanted and needed. But, of course, Christmas rolls around and she wants us to have something fun to open, so she splurges and gets Matt and me a “co-gift” which I’m sure we’ll both use…but let’s be honest here: This is much more for me to play with right now.
I have now joined the ranks as a Kindle owner. I have been an adamant Kindle-opposer from the start — I like paper. I like to take my books in the bath. I am getting too old to figure out fancy new technology. (I knew this was happening the first time I confiscated a student’s cell phone that was too sophisticated for me to figure out how to turn it off.) But after 48 hours of playing around with this little thing, I think I’m gonna like it. I LOVE the built-in dictionary feature. I LOVE how I can turn the book on to audio and take it in the car with me to listen to it…then turn that off and keep reading. I love how instantaneous downloading books is. I want to read ‘X’ and BAM…there it is. Cheaper than going to buy a book and for someone who likes instant gratification, well, it’s perfect.
I haven’t purchased any books yet. One of my goals for 2011 is to spend virtually zero dollars on books. So, I’m waiting. But I did download and archive several free books. And I spent forty-five minutes perusing cool covers.
AND this does help with my lack of storage for books problem.
Man, I might be a convert here.
And there you go! A very book-centric Christmas. (I got Matt games galore and the new Roald Dahl biography; which he was excited about and promised me he would read.)
Ready for what I’m reading for America??
I bought The Big Sleep last year after finishing my very first Raymond Chandler book The Long Goodbye. I loved Chandler. I didn’t really fancy myself a huge fan of noir until I discovered his writing and then I realized that there is something amazing about these PI stories. When I sit in the bath and read them (can’t do that with my Kindle, I concede), I can hear that gravelly voiceover, the cynical tone, the grittiness of 1930s Los Angeles. I LOVE it.
So, I’ve been holding on to The Big Sleep for this destination for over a year. It’s a chance to not only read something on my long list of “must reads”, but also satisfy America on the map. And what’s more appropriate to read than an iconic American writer? Plus, these books are fun. I get so into them that I don’t put them down…and that’s what I need in this home-stretch. I’m out of time to dawdle. Although, I do predict some December 31st scrambling.