Friday, November 28, 2008

Give Knowledge for Christmas This Year

Looking for Christmas gift ideas? Why not look for quality goods and not for stuff that, in the words of that Home Alone kid, will "probably rot your teeth and your mind."

I've got a couple of sources for you today:

1) "All I Want for Christmas"-- A National Review Online Symposium. Weighing in on the matter is Raymond Arroyo, Myrna Blyth, Rick Brookhiser, Matthew Franck, Mark Hemingway; Kathryn Jean Lopez; John J. Miller; Jay Nordlinger; Michael and Catherine Pakaluk, and John J. Pitney, Jr.

And though mostly books, their gift suggestions do run a wide gamut: Exiles by Ron Hansen; the Matthew Hervey novels of Allan Mallinson; A Secret Life:The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country by Benjamin Weiser; the 33-CD series of The Sopranos; Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce; Firing Line classics on DVD; Amata Means Beloved, a murder mystery by Sister Mary Catharine Perry, O.P.; Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan; Safe Houses by David Pryce-Jones; The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life by Ramesh Ponnuru; the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Hilary Hahn, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gang of One: Memoirs of a Red Guard by Fan Shen; and many more.

They're fun, helpful ideas. And you might want to check out NRO's previous years too.

2) Here's an another angle -- already fantastic but made more so by the current financial crunch -- why not treat the readers on your Christmas list (and, of course, yourself) to quality pre-owned books? You can get a stack of 'em for what you'd pay for a single new book. And though I'm sure there's some good stuff being published nowadays, you can't lose by reading (and re-reading) the classics.

For ideas on used books, may I be so bold as to suggest you take a look at the Top Ten lists from my own reading in 2008 (one list for non-fiction and another for novels)? And while you're over there at the Book Den, you can check out the much, much longer lists represented by the reading rotas of the Notting Hill Napoleons. This post covers the 2008 list whereas this one covers 1992 through 2007.