Christmas isn’t Christmas if I don’t get a book from someone. As a kid, it was often my dad who was the gifter of books, most often a new mystery by a favorite author such as Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. One year, my brother gave me a copy of D.H. Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers.” I think that was what got me started on true literature and steered me toward my chosen major of English.
After we got married, my husband began giving me cookbooks for Christmas — sometimes one I’d requested but more often something that simply caught his eye. He knows I read cookbooks like some people read “chick lit”, a term I actually despise. My feeling is that people should be allowed to read whatever they like and not feel put down because they enjoy reading something light rather than, say, some philosophical tome.
In more recent years, my daughters have taken over the task of book giving. They never fail me — I’ve never disliked any book they’ve chosen. The fact that one daughter is a shift manager at a bookstore simply ensures that I’ll be adding to my ever-burgeoning book stock.
This year was no different as three more books found their way to my stack of gifts. For some people this might present a problem, i.e., which one to read first. In my case, that’s not a problem. I never read only one book at a time. I’ve always got at least two or three going at one time. Someone once asked me how I do that, but it’s really no different than when one is in an academic track and reading texts for multiple courses. Well, it is different, I guess. No one’s testing me on what I’ve been reading.
At the moment, I’m starting Geoff Nicholson’s “The Lost Art of Walking,” a non-fiction book about the history, science, philosophy and literature of pedestrianism. Just as the author has been awarded a contract to write a book about walking, he falls while walking and suffers an injury. Having just taken a long walk/run in the snow, I decided this would be a good choice for this morning. Besides, Lindsay, who gave me the book, has been quizzing me on the content so I have to be ready to answer with some semblance of knowledge. She is, after all, the on-site professional rhetorician and I refuse to let a 27-year-old get the best of me.
Anne, the bookstore expert, based her choices on my interest in cooking…or maybe my interest in food. She’s probably remembering our games of “where did this food item come from?” Our source was always my well-thumbed 30-year-old copy of Larousse Gastronomique, a fascinating encyclopedia of gastronomy. Anyway, Anne’s gifts were “Julie and Julia”, which I now have to finish before I may watch the movie, and “A Cook’s Bible: Seasonal Food,” which I’ve read through once already. It influenced my grocery list this week, and placed the suggestion of cabbage rolls in the cooking section of my brain.
Lucky me. The snow has fallen, I’m on vacation for another week, and my favorite chair is empty. No question about what to do today.