Another Chapter of Book Buying:
In perusing the dozens of children’s books we held onto from our childhood and the hundreds we bought for our sons that made it through biting, throwing and many moves and that I saved…
By Robin Jovanovich
In perusing the dozens of children’s books we held onto from our childhood and the hundreds we bought for our sons that made it through biting, throwing and many moves and that I saved, I came across an old favorite, Joan Walsh Anglund’s “A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You.” True enough, but in my case, a friend is someone you want to buy a book for, and vice versa.
And so, while others are waiting for a parking spot at The Westchester, I am walking the short distance from my office to Arcade Books to pick up the dozens of books I’ve bought on the spot or ordered, and they’ve wrapped to my heart’s content. I stay as Patrick and Aly open boxes of books that have just come in. We talk about what the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have included in their Best Books of the Year lists, and I ask about the less-talked-about books that they’ve heard great things about from readers.
So, dear friends and family, co-workers, and party hosts, don’t be surprised to find the following under your tree.
For the one and only grandson, there is “Hey Seymour: a Search and Find Fold Out,” not to mention two from the “Otis” series. He’s a friendly tractor, in case you didn’t know, who loves puppies, calves, playing, and Christmas. Author/illustrator Loren Long has created an unforgettable character. And because everyone in our family warms to pachyderms and naturally will root for a boy and a pet, who don’t fit into your average Pet Club, I will be finding room under the tree for “Strictly No Elephants” by Lisa Mantchev.
For my published author friend, there is “Plotted, A Literary Atlas.”
While all of my friends love to travel, they haven’t seen anything until they’ve sat down with “Maps,” a celebration of the world for all ages by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski.
Because some never grow up, I had to buy a copy of the new illustrated edition of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” For other J. K. Rowling fans, I bought the latest in her adult detective novels, “Career of Evil,” written under the pen name of Robert Galbraith.
I have the good fortune to be married to an omnivorous reader, who swears he doesn’t need another book (true as countless numbers are piled on nightstands in our bedroom and all the other bedrooms no one sleeps in), but when there is a new book on Lincoln, especially one in which he’s not a vampire, we can find room. Same thing goes for a short, 800-page history of World War II or any other war, unless it’s one that’s going on.
If I had a friend wedded to modern fiction, I would get her or him a copy of Lauren Groff’s “Fates and Furies,” which was nominated for this year’s National Book Award. In this portrait of a marriage, the reader hears both sides.
More than one of my friends over 40 will be getting a book I want, “The Old Man,” a new collection by the ageless and inimitable Roger Angell, one of the last of the New Yorker’s great authors and editors.