What are you reading? Books to give and books to get

It’s the middle of Channukah, Christmas is soon….so, today….books to give and get

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

What are you reading? is crossposted to dailykos

What books do you want?

What sorts of books do you give?

How do you decide what to give to whom?

My thoughts here, tell me yours in comments

I keep a list of favorite authors, and my wife can use it to buy me hardcovers, since I always wait for paperbacks.  I also have a list of specific books.

My author list:



 Connie Willis

 Greg Egan

 John Varley

  Neal Stephenson

  Terry Pratchett

   Eleanor Arnason

   Nancy Kress

   Charles Stross

   James Patrick Kelly

   Richard Lovett

   Scott Westerfield

   Max Barry

   Carolyn Ives Gilman

   John Moressy

   Linda Nagata

   Iain M Banks


  Robert Parker

  Stuart Kaminsky (only the Rostnikov novels)

  Robert K Tannebaum

 Laurie King

 Ian Rankin

 Sujata Massey

  Paul Levine

  Andrew Vachss

  Michael Dibdin


   William Calvin

  John Casti

and my Wish List, from BookMooch

Gregory Feist: The psychology of science and the origins of the scientific mind

Nancy Goldstone: Four Queens: The Provencal sisters who ruled Europe

Douglas Hofstadter: I am a strange loop

Sarah Igo: The averaged American

Steven Johnson: The ghost map

Charles C. Mann: 1491: New revelations of the Americas before Columbus

Ian McDonald:  River of Gods

Karl Polanyi: The great transformation

Alfred Possamentier: The fabulous Fibonacci  numbers

Simon Singh: Fermat’s last theorem

Carol Tavris: Mistakes were made (but not by me)

Jack Vance: Araminta station

           Compleat dying Earth

           Demon Princes

John Varley: The John Varley reader

Bruce Wexler: Brain and culture: Neurobiology, ideology, and social change

David Yearsley: Bach and the meanings of counterpoint

Howard Zinn: People’s history of the United States


as to giving – I don’t give books to my wife because….she prefers earrings.  🙂

but I’ve given lots of books in all kinds of areas – to my parents, to my nephews, to my sister.  For my older nephew’s law school graduation, I got him a big gift – the complete Aubrey Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian.  Usually, the gifts are much smaller.  I don’t know how I pick….I just browse around Barnes and Noble, picking what looks good

How about you?


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    • Robyn on December 7, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    The Art of Discworld.  I tend to disagree, since I think the images I have in my head are more accurate than the images other people have in their heads.

    At least they work very well for me.


  1. I recently saw a documentary on him, at the time Barfly came out I was just sobering up.  I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to watch the movie for fear it would trigger a relapse.  Luckily during the documentary we find out that Charles thought Mickey Rourke did a crappy job and was not impressed with Hollywood at all.

    The book is an easy read for me, it uses language I am familiar with, situations I know before he even gets done describing them.  Like the time his father drove them all out to the country so they could steal oranges for no particular reason.

    A child tries to put together a personality based on the bizarre racist and confused signals he is given by society and most of all by the family…the American Family.

    It’s good to question assumed roles and ask the question:  what do you do when the people entrusted to your care have a little crazy in them?


    • pico on December 7, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    which is a sad admission from someone who writes a series on literature.  🙂

    Dissertation and work stuff is crowding out my free time.  But I bought a shiny new paperback copy of Pynchon’s Against the Day, which I’m looking forward to.  

    I tend not to give away books at all: I hoard them.  My apartment is overflowing.  As for gifts, I’m more likely to get someone a gift certificate than a book, because there’s no accounting for taste.  Usually, that is: I pick books for my brother, because he and I talk enough that I know what books I really think he needs to read (he’s going into film, but I’m throwing a lot of what I’d consider ‘necessary’ fiction at him, too: the latest is Chekhov.)

    • RiaD on December 7, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    consider giving books by authors you might know…


    • kj on December 7, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Vyvyane Loh’s “Breaking the Tongue,” but it just hasn’t grabbed me like I thought it would.

    On the table for this winter (in no particular order):

    “The War of the End of the World” by Mario Vargas Llosa

    “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk

    “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett

    “The Places in between” by Rory Stweart

    “The Space Between us” by Thrity Umrigar

    For a wild trip, and a fairly short reads, I recommend:

    “Rosario Tijeras” By Jorge Franco

    “Tsotsi” by Athol Fugard

    First line of “Rosario”:

    “Since Rosario had been shot at point-blank range while she was being kissed, she confused the pain of death with that of love.”

    Great first line!!!  🙂

    • RiaD on December 7, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    even this year… we’re not doing gifts, but I’ve always bought everyone One Great Book every year so…

    MrD gets Tolkein… and has done for all the years we’ve been married. For many years this was hard to do. Then Al invented tubes & later Peter made a movie. (But MrD doesn’t like the movie stuff) This year there is a ‘history of the hobbit’ set…three books with different versions!

    I’ll browse on-line probably tonite for the kids & order thru my local bookseller next week. I get them sci-fi that they love…& that I can borrow & enjoy when they’re done

    For my grandson & the few young children I give to, I go to the bookstore & find books with wonderful pictures… like Michael Hague’s. I feel books that are fantastically illustrated can capture a childs imagination… turning them into a lifelong book lover.

    • oculus on December 7, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    do the recipients actually read the books?  Manytimes, I suspect the answer is “no.”  I say that because, even though I only give books to people who actually read books, many times the recipient never mentions the book after receiving it.  But, one of my friends immediately loans the book to me after she has finished it.

    I’m reading The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Famili’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World, by Lucette Lagnado.

    • ybruti on December 8, 2007 at 8:31 am

    about Orland Bartholomew, the first person to climb Mt. Whitney in the winter.  From late December to early April 1928-29, this man traversed the High Sierra from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite National Park, alone, on skis, sheltered from storms and fierce cold at night by a little tent.  It’s a tremendous story. I plan to give it to my daughter for Christmas, since she almost reached the top of the great mountain two years ago (in the summer).

    • Temmoku on December 8, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    an old copy, it was an Oprah pick that I didn’t need to buy, I hadn’t read it and it is on the Banned Book List so I was planning to read it anyway this year.

    • oculus on December 8, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    at DK.  Certainly less comments on “what are you reading” than at DK, but, of course, much higher traffic there than here so far.

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