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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Santa, won't you please bring me...

Today I figured out why the capitalist Christmas machine starts the day after Halloween. Really, I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me before: it's because we need it. At least here up north. The days shorten, the snow comes, and with it a fleeting delight followed too quickly by panic and despair (it has only just begun). I can no longer wear leather-soled shoes. Or take my coffee outside. Is life even worth living anymore? But then the industry comes in— all those sparkly lights, the promise of eggnog and cookies and presents. (That's what the holidays are about right? Vanity, gluttony and greed?) This online shopping addict's inbox keeps reminding her that it's Black Friday tomorrow; just sending you a little message to let me know that everything is going to be o-kay, this year you can give and receive your way out of your seasonal affective disorder! I'm buying it. So, dear "Santa", here's my first list of beautiful new books I'm wishing for this season. K thanks!

1. Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos by John Shade edited by Brian Boyd and illustrated by Jean Holabird.

Pale Fire may be my favourite Nabokov novel. Its structure is brilliant, a fictional text about a fictional text. The central text is a poem, Pale Fire, written by the recently assassinated poet John Shade. The poem is forwarded and heavily annotated by John Shade's neighbor, Charles Kinbote, a lecherous "expert" and editor of the supposed poetry book.

This new edition takes this fiction of a fiction and turns it into a physical reality. Here we have a box set, including a pocketbook of John Shade's Pale Fire and a stack of cue cards, facsimiles of the index cards John Shade used in composing his poem, printed exactly as Nabokov described them in his novel. The edition also comes with a pamphlet with two non-fiction essays (by real live scholars) about Pale Fire, the poem.

 

 

 

2. Momofuku Milk Bar is one of my favourite bakeries. They make this "crack pie" that is just so aptly named. Here is a cookbook filled with recipes from the New York establishment (part of David Chang's mini food empire which includes Momofuku, Milk, and the publication Lucky Peach). Because sugar is another means to getting through the snow.



 

3. R Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection. The book design explains it all...


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