Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas wish list

My sister-in-law always gets me a few books for Christmas. She calls and asks my wife what I want, and I send along a slightly-too-long list so that there will be some element of surprise about what I actually receive. I try to make it more of a wish list than a shopping list without seeming obnoxious about it. (In the meantime, I have to take care not to request those books from anyone else or buy them for myself.)

I usually compile my list with the help of the New York Times notable books list, which comes out in a couple weeks, I think. I ask for a handful of the fat expensive hardcovers that I haven't already laid my hands on somehow. (That's how I ended up with Savage Detectives and Tree of Smoke last year.)

The problem is that she sent word this year that she wants to get her shopping done earlier, and the New York Times list isn't out yet. And I'm sure she'll pester me for me requests next week at Thanksgiving. There are plenty of books I want, of course, but I'm looking for that sweet spot of new and critically acclaimed and otherwise overlooked by myself. (The new Toni Morrison, for example, is not overlooked and has already been purchased.) I don't have my handy gift guide to encourage me like usual.

I heard on the radio this a.m. about the National Book Award winners, so that added a few titles to my wish list, but what else?

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