Christmas was very, very good to me in terms of books; I find myself with a tantalizing new pile of them to peruse these cold, wintry days.
The Kids, bless their hearts, hearing that I had never read any of the Harry Potter books (yes, it's true...it started out that, during the height of Harry-mania, I could never get my hands on one of the books at our local library, and then I just got busy and never followed up)...got me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I got started during our stay in Brooklyn, and read more on the plane on the way home. It's great fun; and there's a Dickensian quality to the matter-of-fact way in which J.K. Rowling portrays Harry's ghastly pre-Hogwarts life that I think may resonate with many young readers, along with that note of hope -- that the despised "other," the one who doesn't fit in, the sufferer, can be a hero for others and the hero of his or her own life story. That's pretty cool.
A wonderful surprise was Julia Child's classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which Fellow Traveler told me she ordered shortly after we went to see the film Julie/Julia. My foodie heart went pitter-patter as I tore open the wrapping paper. While I have no aspirations to replicate Julie Powell's blogged journey throughout the entirety of the cookbook, we did talk about maybe doing a "Julia" meal once a week.
Two books, also cookbooks, were explicitly on my wish list: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, both by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, a pastry chef and scientist/amateur bread baker who have come up with methods for creating no-knead yeasted bread doughs that can be kept in the refrigerator and broken off as needed for fresh, artisan-quality loaves. While I love the ease of a bread machine, it has its limits; so I'm really interested in trying out some of these recipes, even though it means a willing suspension of my disbelief in most things "new and improved."
Finally, a book I gave myself for Christmas/my birthday: Gertrud Mueller Nelson's To Dance With God, a book about sanctifying home life through ritual; something I want to do more of in our own household and a concept I'd like to share in our own faith community and beyond.
My only regret in all of this: I can't find my booklight, which I think I am going to need as I work my way through all these wonderful books!