Books I received as gifts.

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Books have always been my favorite items to give and receive. This holiday friends & family presented me with the following:

  • Evasiondescribed by The Insurgent as “many beautiful stories about surviving in voluntary squalor that are human and touching, yet liberatory and hopeful at the same time.”
  • London Under: the secret history beneath the streetsI’ve enjoyed the other Peter Ackroyd books I’ve read, especially his Shakespeare biography, and anything with a subtitle that includes the phrase ‘secret history’ is likely to pull me in.
  • Americanahwhich I’ve previously read as an audiobook and am happy to have on paper to reread.
  • The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: selected stories. Tove Jansson is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’m ridiculously excited about reading new-to-me stories from her.
  • HavI’ve read other travel books by Jan Morris but had no idea this one existed; a travel book about a place she invented, with an introduction by Ursula K. LeGuin. Sold!
  • The Urban Circus: travels with Mexico’s malabaristas. I have a longstanding interest in circus, and this paragraph from the first chapter is immediately intriguing: “Malabarista. Most dictionaries will tell you it means ‘juggler’, but it’s broader than that. It describes a specific type of circus performer: one whose skill lies in the manipulation of objects. And beneath that it carries a note of ambiguity, a hint at something darker. I have heard that in Chile, it can also mean ‘trickster’: one whose skill lies in the manipulation of people.”
  • Godtalk: travels in spiritual AmericaI’m also fascinated by the role religion & spirituality play in people’s lives, so I’m looking forward to this overview of several faiths by an author who took a participatory approach to his investigation.
  • Ilf and Petrov’s American Road Trip: the 1935 travelogue of two Soviet writers, Ilya Ilf and Eugeny PetrovAlmost done with this one already; wry observations and interesting photos.

If I don’t post again before 2015, the above should explain why.