The following is a list of books I've either read or am currently reading or will soon be reading as a result of generous Christmas gift carding (and borrowing from my husband's and our daughters' stashes):
1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini--We saw the movie over Christmas break. Great Scott had read both this book and its sequal to the girls, but I'd registered them only in bits and pieces, so I reread them for myself this week.
2. Eldest by Christopher Paolini--No, I don't believe that Murtagh and Eragon are full brothers. I'm betting Brom was Eragon's father. My older daughter disagrees. This is the stuff of a lively relationship. :) (Even if I did agree, it's entirely too much fun baiting her.)
3. Blue Iris by Mary Oliver--I need to write her. She's kept me alive for years now. She deserves tangible thanks. I begin to breathe again when I read her work.
4. Late Wife by Claudia Emerson--Found this by accident. Am impressed all to pieces. Very concrete. No telling. Showing. Showing. Showing. Meaning conveyed via image. Excellent.
5. Mint Snowball by Naomi Shihab Nye--Prose poems! I've been becoming increasingly interested in prose poetry. Nye is a favorite. Good combo, I'm hoping.
6. Narrow Road to the Interior by Matsuo Bashō, translated by Sam Hamill--Maybe I was feeling a bit harried in the bookstore when I bought this with a gift card after Christmas. Usually haiku doesn't catch my attention. This, though, seemed restful, and when I opened it, immediately I felt permission to "play" more with my own writing, to take it less seriously and try new things. Plus, Great Scott has long been a fan of Bashō's, and I knew he'd enjoy it, too.
7. The Gift by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky--Rumi is one of my favorite poets. Hafiz sounded as though his work might have in it what I love so much about Rumi's. This is an educated guess. I'm widening my horizons.
8. October Palace by Jane Hirshfield--I love the grounding effect of Hirshfield's poetry. I need it.
9. Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk--Finally I'm reading this, and although I'm reserving judgement until I'm finished, thus far I'm notably impressed by the depth of Shenk's research and how cautious he seems to be about drawing set-in-stone conclusions. You'll hear more from me on this one in the future.
10. A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves--I really don't like buying books about writing or books of writing prompts or plans. They ususally sit on the shelf and mock me. This one, though, is friendly. I think it purrs when I open it.
11. The Essence of Zen compiled by Maggie Pinkney--An anthology of zenlike quotations from widely (and wildly) varying sources.
12. Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill--This one is Great Scott's, and I shall have to wait until he finishes it to tackle it myself, since I read in fits and starts, and it drives him crazy to pick up one of his own books and find four or five of my bookmarks in it. He is a patient man.
13. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Volume II by Diana Wynne Jones--I'm always on the lookout for acceptable fantasy books to keep the young book-demanding hordes here in our home at bay. So far I've not read anything of Diana Wynne Jones' that I'd have any qualms about handing over to the girls immediately. This pleases me. Plus, her books are just plain fun.