Saturday, December 27, 2008

Libros de Navidad

What's Christmas without books? In our house, nuthin'. I got:

100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Márquez - from Husband. Marquez is one of my favourite authors, and I had put Autumn of the Patriarch on my Christmas list. He couldn't find it locally so got me a copy of 100 Years of Solitude instead. Since I haven't read it since I just graduated university, and I don't own a copy, it's much appreciated and I'll enjoy reading it anew. My favourite novel is Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, and we gave our eldest niece a copy for Christmas.

The Audacity of Hope - Barak Obama - from Mom O. Never got around to reading it prior to the election but it seems like some good and optimistic reading for the Holiday break.

Bodies of Evidence - Dr. Scott Christianson - from Husband. A great book about the history of forensic science and how various aspects of it came into play in well-known cases, and the repercussions. (Example: after the O.J. Simpson trial, cops no longer carry blood samples drawn from suspects in their pockets as they return to and wander around the original crime scene!)

The World in Your Kitchen: Vegetarian Recipes from Africa, Asia and Latin America for Western kitchens - Troth Wells - From Husband. I'm not vegetarian (although to quote C. commenting drily on a different topic, "I suppose if I was a better person I would be") but why that would stop anyone from enjoying vegetarian recipes from around the globe is beyond me. Husband got this at Cultures, a small Fair Trade store here in Fredericton. He knows how much I love African, Asian and Latin American food (all those years of being exposed to international home cooking at the multicultural association were an education and a half that I wish everyone could have). It's chock-full of recipes from starters to desserts and drinks and I can't wait to start trying them out.

Our Dumb Century - Scott Dikkers and the Staff of The Onion - from Husband. A wonderful collection of Onion-style headlines and news stories from throughout the 20th century. Examples: April 16, 1912: WORLD'S LARGEST METAPHOR HITS ICEBERG; June 8, 1944: WAR RATIONING BOARD RESTRICTS NYLON USE TO ARMED FORCES, J. EDGAR HOOVER ONLY. Incidentally, last Christmas I got Stephen Colbert's I am America and So Can You and loved it.

The Portable Cudmudgeon - Jon Winokur, Ed. - From best friend A. A wonderful collection of quotations and anecdotes from an A-level list of misanthropes.

Husband got:

The Best of Little Feat - Cherry Lane Music - From me - A guitar tablature book of music by one of his favourite bands about which I know nothing, but it was on his Christmas list, so mine is not to wonder why, mine is just to search and buy.

Best of Crosby, Stills and Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash - From me - A guitar tablature book of music by one of his favourite bands about which I know quite a bit, and it was on his Christmas list, so I was willing to buy it. (I'm the one who gets to listen to him play this stuff for hours on end, you know.)

Cuba by Korda - Alberto Korda - From me - One of the most famous photographers to ever emerge from Cuba, and the one whose images of the Cuban revolution have become iconic around the world. He writes the text that accompanies the images, which range from his early work in cheesecake and fashion photography, through his period as something like Castro's personal photographer, to - well, I haven't seen the end of the book yet. Translated from the original Spanish.

The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto Guevera - From me. Of the dozens of books we've read about Cuba, somehow neither of us have read this one. Another piece in understanding the puzzle that is Cuba.

The Comics - Jerry Robinson - From my best friend and his friend, A. - An illustrated history of comic strip art. A beautiful full-colour, text-rich history of the funnies.

Lots of good reading in the weeks to come!


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Blogger Carl said...

With the current state of the art in implant software, can you listen to and enjoy music? I'm a big fan of Little Feat myself, and I'm wondering if you'll be able to hear your husband playing those songs.

4:44 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Hi Carl! Good question. The degree to which I enjoy music depends on two things - my familiarity with the music, and the medium through which I hear it. Live music is far superior to music coming through a speaker. Music piped directly to my processor using the "Direct Connect" hook - essentially plugging an MP3 player or my computer directly into the processor via a cord - is not as good as live music but surprisingly good and far superior to music on TV or radio.

In most cases, if I'm familiar with a tune I hear on TV or radio I will "pick it up" after a few seconds of trying to "place it". I expect my brain is filling in a lot of the gaps for me without my even realizing it.

A new song or piece of music I can usually sort out after two or three listenings, but I have no way of knowing if what I hear is what the piece really sounds like - I may be missing instruments or elements entirely without recognizing it.

When Husband plays guitar I can pick the piece up almost immediately if I know it. With the Little Feat stuff, I will probably come to know "my" version or understanding of any given piece by his repeated playing of it.

These things are funny. I got a music box that plays "When You Wish Upon a Star" in my Christmas stocking; I didn't recognize the tune until I was told what it was, whereupon I immediately understood and could hear the melody. Later in the day my Mother-in-Law gave me a snow globe that plays "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", which I recognized immediately without being told.


8:18 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I love getting books for Christmas, tho when you essentially live in a bookstore, the accumulation can get dangerous! I got a Barnes & Noble gift card and i'm resisting blowing the whole thing on their year-end sale right now! Especially since i have such a backlog of reading already.

6:33 p.m.  
Blogger Dave said...

Being in the right area, you might want to pick up Antonine Maillet's "Pelagie: The Return to Acadie"
Great read!!


11:53 a.m.  

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