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Tish Davidson
01-01-2008, 06:49 AM
I am often given books by friends and family. This year for Christmas my daughter gave me This is My Best edited by Retha Powers and Kathy Kieman published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco 2006 (paperback). She found it heavily discounted at one of the major chain bookstores.

The premise of the book is that about 50 fiction and non-fiction writers and poets and even two cartoonists (Scott Adams and Gary Trudeau) pick a short piece of their writing that they think is their best work. In an essay that precedes each piece, the author explains why he or she chose that particular piece and why they think it is their best work. I found the essays fascinating and enlightening (expect Paul Auster's. He wrote what I found to be an exceptionally snotty single paragraph for his essay saying that writers didn't know anything about their own work and shouldn't talk about it.) The essays made me realize that all writers, even famous ones, go through a universal process of fears, doubts, and self-criticisms as they strugle to translate their ideas from brain to paper. I highly recommend the book.

So what was the best book you received as a gift in 2007?

poetinahat
01-01-2008, 07:49 AM
One I received:

LOVE THAT DOG (http://www.amazon.com/Love-That-Dog-Century-Readers/dp/0582796636/ref=pd_bbs_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199158628&sr=8-8), by Sharon Creech
Brilliant story, in poems, aimed at kids, about a kid's first-grudging, but growing, enjoyment of poems. A very quick read, but worth it for anyone. This was a surprise, and much-loved, gift.

One the family received:

Poetry Speaks to Children (http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Speaks-Children-Book-Read/dp/1402203292/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199159223&sr=1-1) -- a book/CD package that includes poems and readings by a great range of poets: Robert Frost, Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, on and on. It's a who's-who of recent poetry, often reading their own work.

Willowmound
01-02-2008, 05:57 PM
Possibly Special Topics in Calamity Physics (http://www.amazon.com/Special-Topics-Calamity-Physics-Marisha/dp/067003777X) by Marisha Pessl.

And I'm not saying that just because she's both hot (http://thephoenix.com/WordUp/content/binary/31masl.jpg) and clever (http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/original/marisha-pessl.jpg) and my exact age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marisha_Pessl). Oh no.

This book is a nugget of good.

chonnychonny
01-03-2008, 07:12 PM
I got a couple of books that I have really enjoyed.

Carry me down by MJ Hyland. A very moving story about a young Irish boy who learns to lie from his parents and cannot differentiate between 'little white lies' and what are considered 'big' ones.

The End of Faith. Any one of any faith (or lack thereof) should read this book. It is very eye opening to the dangers of organized religion in our world today and the conflicts it is responsible for when religions clash with one another.

Where the Wild Things Are. Got a hard cover edition of my favorite book as a child. Nothing is better for reminding one to be a kid sometimes. Plus, I hear a movie is on the horizon...

Birol
01-03-2008, 07:57 PM
The essays made me realize that all writers, even famous ones, go through a universal process of fears, doubts, and self-criticisms as they strugle to translate their ideas from brain to paper.

What were some of the universal fears, doubts, and self-criticisms that spoke to you, Tish?

larocca
01-03-2008, 08:01 PM
The Woman Who Painted Her Dreams, by Isla Dewar.

And if you know me at all, and you know this author at all, you'll be all "WTF?" Definitely not a genre I'm known for reading or writing in. That's the beauty of it as a gift. I enjoyed being stretched that way, because she's THAT good at what she does.

cletus
01-04-2008, 02:00 PM
There was already a thread started about Christmas books received over in the AW Book Club section.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87292