16 December 2014

All I Want for Christmas: This Girl's Wish List

With Jo Walton sorting out your gift-buying this season, the ultimate question remains, what does this girl want to see under the tree? Most years, my book list is circumvented by my very wily hubby who makes a trek down to the local SF bookstore at which, I can only guess he calls in the masters and mistresses of book wisdom to discuss what a space operatic nutter would like. The meeting of minds (and robes because in my mind all SF book owners are part of a secret geeky society with strict rules around cloaks, robes and capes) has resulted in some ultimate gifts culminating with me discovering and subsequently falling all over myself for the Expanse series. 

Many a holiday has been highlighted by my reading choices, as I guess all of us are want to do. The right read at the right time is the simply the best of all worlds and unlike food can be re-visited, treating the books as little time capsules of happiness. As mentioned Ibsen will forever have my heart, but so too does John Richardson Picasso biography. Seeing those three tomes of extreme detail, chalked full with art on my shelf puts the feeling of Boxing Day sloth mode fully into my brain. For my American friends, Boxing Day is the best and I highly recommend you adopt this further extension of Christmas. Christmas may be the big daddy of glamour, but Boxing Day is the PJ wearing choco-eating from your lap, playing Trivia Pursuit while gnawing on a turkey leg by 10, cool little cousin. 

Thanks in part to my library-only policy and a recent trip to Arizona, my book list is slightly less extensive. I may have lightly indulged at a large U.S bookstore taking advantage of the slight mark-down in book prices. I say slight, because at one time books just south of the Canadian border were being sold for a nickel, a nickel I tell ya; now, not so much.  I can still buy a bottle of rum for a quarter, fill my gas-tank with spare change but the simple act of locating a bookstore, never mind buying a book is a feat for the seasoned warrior. Where have all the book-store in the States gone?  

First up, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev. I have deep affection, fascination, fandom of Russia. Really, it is quite odd as I am not Russian, nor can claim any past heritage to the Motherland but for some reason the land speaks to me. Whether it be Tostoy's vodka-drinking, ice-skating, fur-wearing aristocratic glimpse, Dostoevsky's deep despair, the Soviet era, Putin, I want to go to there. I have many friends who are Russian, who fled Russia, who share little insights into the corruption, the crime, the poverty and yet I want to go to there. I have a dear friend, whose mother was in the war, who ate shoe leather to survive, who had shrapnel in her body until her passing, I still want to go to there. As for my friend, she fled with her small son and husband, managing to escape to Israel and yet, I still want to go to there. And so when I read Anton's review on Genre-Bending, it was a done deal. Nothing like a Russian, reading a Russian perspective of the goings-on  to grab my full attention. So yes, this Christmas I want corruption, I want the Motherland.

Next up is the continued exploration of the newest SF author on the big stage, Karen Lord. On the list is her inaugural award-winning fantasy novel Redemption in Indigo and the newly released The Galaxy Game that continues the world-building found in The Best of All Possible Worlds. I want them both, yes I do.  I have a feeling that Karen Lord is onto something, opening the genre into a new an exciting branch of SF story-telling. I want to be there for this amazing and a long time coming, triumph. To do that though, I really need to check out her other books to confirm whether I am correct or not. I know I am though, my geeky SF sense is tingling.

And with that, I am done. I know, it is rather shocking but I already own The Maze Runner, have Good Omens on my night-stand and may have purchased some gems for some loved-ones that I may (you never know) read once they are done.  I cannot mention the titles as that would ruin Christmas, but I anticipate happy days ahead for some people.

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