This past year my cousin was diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkins) and has spent the majority of the year going through the hell of treatments. This cousin and I have had a yearly Christmas Eve tradition, ever since we were kids I believe, of playing pool when our family gets together on that evening. We usually play for a few bucks a game, and usually we end up alternating years as far as who ends up winning by the night's end. And this year happened to be my year (despite my cousin's lame quips about "you know I have cancer, right?" and "how can you do that to a guy with cancer?" etc. etc.). He's going to be fine, and I needed the money, and as an added bonus, I get to tell people that's what I did for Christmas...so, you know, Merry F*cking Christmas and all that...
On the gift-getting front, I actually did rather well for Christmas, opening a huge treasure chest of a box from Amazon, filled with books books books. I got more books from a good friend of mine, and as if that wasn't enough, I went used bookshopping on my way back from dropping my brother off at the airport. all told I've added 17 new titles to my shelves in the past week! One of those books is by a very respected author, Czeslaw Milosz, who's name I just learned how to say (from that book), and despite how cool his name looks in print, I will be rather hesitant to tell people in real life when I'm reading him, because it just sounds rather silly (CHESS-wav MEE-wosh). I feel like freakin' Elmer Fudd or something...
What was in that big box?
Thomas Merton - Cold War Letters
Henri Nouwen - Love in a Fearful Land
Charles Bukowski - What Matters Most...
Charles Bukowski - Betting on the Muse
Allen Ginsberg - Collected Poems 1947-1997
Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews
Czeslaw Milosz: Conversations
Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits
Shouts and Whispers
and then I bought used:
Franz Kafka - Letter to My Father
Leo Tolstoy - A Confession (etc..)
Nabakov - Speak, Memory
Thomas Mann - Death in Venice
and then my friends got me:
Frederick Buechner - Secrets in the Dark
Thomas Merton - Asian Journal
Thomas Merton - Dialogues with Silence
Pema Chodron - Wisdom of No Escape
and now I have to figure out where in the hell I'm going to store all these books. But that's a good, fun problem to have, one that I hope will continue to get worse as time goes on...
My brother and his girlfriend were in for the week after Christmas as well, and we had a great time visiting and some good conversations, but that will all have to wait for another entry (one that I may or may not make public). I think I'm done blogging for tonight...