Is this not the cutest little gift box? As you can see it's in the shape of a book, but can you guess what's inside? A coworker very kindly gave me a B&N gift card, which fits perfectly in it. I had never seen these before, but it is the coolest idea. It opens just like a book and has a small raised cardboard platform for the gift card. You don't know how tempted I am at the moment to go and start shopping, but I'm going to wait and contemplate which book I most want and save it for a splurge after the holidays. It takes so little to please me. I'm almost more excited about the box than the card. Almost, I said.
It's been reasonably nice out (well, for the midwest in winter anyway), so I've been able to listen to my MP3 player on my walk home from work. It's a brisk walk these days in the dark evenings, but it goes much faster if I can listen to something good. I chose three books to download (many thanks for the input), and am listening to Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South at the moment. I read it not too long ago and loved it (still need to write about it), so it seemed a safe book to listen to. I mentioned that I am a picky listener, but this has been a good fit so far as the reader, Juliet Stevenson, is excellent. It's unabridged and lasts a whopping 18-1/2 hours, so I'll be spending the rest of the month (and likely into January) with it. In case you're curious, the other two books (there was a three for the price of two deal going on) I decided on are Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter and Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement.
With the year quickly winding down and my attempts at reducing my reading pile already underway I'm beginning to think of next year's reads. Caroline has announced the titles for her continuing Literature and War Readalong. This year she had a dozen books that dealt with WWI & II, the Vietnam War and the American Civil War. I've read nine of the twelve so far and still hope to finish at least one other, though it may end up being a holdover to next year. She's kicking off 2012 with Helen Dunmore's Zennor in Darkness, which I've just ordered. This is Dunmore's first novel which is set in Cornwall during WWI. It's about D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda who leave London for a cottage in Zennor. I was completely unfamiliar with it until I saw it on the list, but I like the sound of it and am looking forward to reading it. You can see the rest of the titles here. It will fit in nicely with my own WWI reading list and I have only just discovered a related readalong, War Through the Generations, which is focusing on WWI next year as well. Reading opportunities abound as you can see.
The Slaves of Golconda have chosen their January book. Reif Larsen's The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is next up. Another new one to me. The blurb reads: "A brilliant, boundary-leaping debut novel tracing twelve-year-old genius map maker T.S. Spivet's attempts to understand the ways of the world." It's experimental and a bit longer than the last few Slaves choices, so I will be looking for a copy now. It's good to try new things--something I hope to do more of in 2012.
And I have my next postal reading group book waiting for me on my reading pile. I'll be reading this book in January (sorry for the secrecy but I don't want to ruin the surprise for any of the other readers in the group). I read the book years ago, along with quite a few others by the author, but it's been ages since I have picked up anything since. It will be a good opportunity to revisit her work.