Happy Holiday!

Courtesy of my new macro lens. 


Bookmarks' Best Books of 2008

Occasionally I will buy Bookmarks' magazine to find my next entertaining read. I like to travel with a book review magazine; it helps when I lack the concentration for a novel. The only gripe I have is there should be more reviews for the science fiction section. For the closing of 2008 Bookmarks has compiled a list of their staff's favorites, which were reviewed earlier in the year. 
The List:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Netherland by Joseph O'Neil
Lush Life by Richard Price
Dear American Airline by Jonathan Miles
Last Night at the Lobster by Steward O'Nan
Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
Zeroville by Steven Erickson
Sway by Zachary Lazar
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss
So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
The Theory of Clouds by Stéphane Audeguy 
Trespass by Valerie Martin
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa 
The Gathering by Anne Enright
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner 
Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy
The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
Say You're One of Them by Uwen Akpan
The Boat by Nam Le
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber 
Slip of the Knife by Denise Mina
Winter Study by Nevada Barr
The Legal Limit by Martin Clark
One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak (planning to read soon)
An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham
Soldier's Heart by Elizabeth D. Samet
The Good Rat by Jimmy Breslin
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee
Apples & Oranges by Marie Brenner
The Eaves of Heaven by Andrew X. Pham
Counselor by Ted Sorensen
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Journals by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre
The Forger's Spell by Edward Dolnick
Retribution by Max Hastings
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
The Slave Ship by Marcus Rediker
The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson
A Land So Strange by Andrés Reséndez
Your Inner Fish by Beil Shubin
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku


The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2008

Soon another year will past. 2009 is just around the corner. Reflecting on 2008, compilations of outstanding books are emerging. This week's The New York Times’ Book Review (Holiday Books) has a compilation of 100 Notable Books of 2008, fiction and nonfiction. I feel rather indifferent, but also discomfit, for I have not read any of the books on this list. After perusing the list, though I do read books outside the genre of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, I do not have an inclination to go visit the nearest bookstore to buy many books from the list. Two books in the fiction category did stand out. While in Barnes & Noble, I skimmed through “Dear American Airlines” by Jonathan Miles, which I thought was witty but did not buy it due to expensive purchases relating to my limited edition book collecting tendencies. The one book that did pique my interest in the compilation is with no surprise related to the supernatural with a philosophical twist, “The Sacred Book of The Werewolf” by Victor Pelevin, translated by Andrew Bromfield. Here is the list. In addition, compilations of the The New York Times' best books for the past ten years are accessible.


Collector's Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

When I arrived home from a long day, my doorman handed me a wonderful package. It was evident from the smile on the box that it was from Amazon. My preorder of J.K. Rowling’s Collector’s Edition “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is finally here in my hands. I could not wait to rush upstairs to open my book dose for the day.

It was well packages to not shift around in the box. The book was plastic wrapped then covered with a soft paper slipcase. The disguised wizard textbook that contains “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is marvelously built. The front cover, back cover, and spine feels like it is made out of leather. The front cover is impressed with the title and an illustration by J.K. Rowling. The fake pages of the textbook are made of slabs of wood, painted gold and page lines are carved to create a realistic look. Inside on the right, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is stored in a burgundy velvet bag, and to the left is a side pocket, which holds an envelope containing 10-printed illustration by J.K. Rowling. The book looks very similar to the handwritten book J.K. Rowling auctioned at Sotheby except for the lack of tattered page edges, and the bookmark is not green but blue. I am very satisfied with my purchase of the Collector’s Edition; all I need now is a reading copy.

Click "Read more..." to view the 10-printed illustrations, which is not available with the standard edition or original and photographs of my copy.

Pages within "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"
Front of the envelope, which contains the 10-printed illustrations
Front of disguised wizard textbook