I've had a lovely quiet Christmas at casa Bani, and my beloved husband gave me two books: Annie Proulx's Fine Just The Way It Is and another called Dead Lovely by Helen Fitzgerald. Very excited obviously by the former, but actually almost as excited by the latter, since it may turn out to be quite a find if the cover quotes live up to what they promise. I've never heard of the woman, but it seems promising. It's very sweet of him, and here's me only after getting him a box of chocs and running trousers (that turned out to be too big). The shame.
Fittingly I shall conclude by writing about another gift, one of the books my cousin sent me for my birthday, namely Raymond Carver's collection of short stories. Reading up a bit on Carver on Wikipedia (can't be bothered to link now because I'm at work and the computer is soooo slow) I learned that there are apparently two versions of this collection, or at least of many of the stories in it; one being a sort of author's cut since he was unhappy with his editor's heavy editing. It would be interesting to read Carver's preferred version some time. A quote from the Times Literary Supplement on the back cover calls the stories "brilliant shards", and that is an excellent description - they are short, often only describing the centre of something much longer, so you are left to imagine what led up to it and what might follow and why it happened, and they feel as translucent and brittle as glass shards too. I liked some better than others, as is always the case, but in general the whole is still one of the best books I've read. I think the first one, Why Don't You Dance? might be my favourite. It stuck with me most. Very much recommended.