Sometime in December, I realized that in my immediate family, the gifts most appreciated are books, chocolate (either the solid or liquid variety), and gift cards (to buy more books and chocolate). I love the January routine of settling down with new books, under a blanket with an oversized red mug of hot chocolate (topped with whipped cream, a sliver of candy cane, and if it’s evening, a dash of Bailey’s Irish Cream). This is bliss, and it isn’t the same when the winter wind isn’t whistling outside.
This year, I received copies of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, and Wild. (It took me an embarrassing nine weeks to complete my library copy of The Broom of the System; I kept putting it down for a week, then had to reread to remember what was going on.)
I also received a Kindle Fire HD, which is quickly becoming my personal entertainment system. Within days, I learned why the birds in Angry Birds are angry, and learned that Pandora isn’t just the woman associated with the Box. I can email documents to my Kindle (like the PDF file of my book, new poems, or anything else handy to have on hand), read books or magazines, listen to music, surf the web. This won’t replace physical books for me because I like writing in them, but it’s a lovely thing to have until the kids steal it away completely.
I love this excerpt from Randall Jarrell’s “A Girl in a Library,” which describes the luxuries of words and dreams:
An object among dreams, you sit here with your shoes off
And curl your legs up under you; your face moves toward sleep. . .
Here in this enclave there are centuries
For you to waste; the short and narrow stream
Of Life meanders into a thousand valleys
Of all that was, or might have been, or is to be.
The books, just leafed through, whisper endlessly. . .
Here’s wishing you a little bliss on a cold day!