Oh my gosh, last night I was tossing and turning until approximately 4 AM and now I am so tired. I tried to pump myself up with music this morning, but I didn't have the energy to sing along!

Are You Havin' Any Fun? Tony Bennett and Elvis Costello
Butterfly, Jason Mraz
Your New Man, Mason Jennings
Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

I had an interesting thought on my drive this morning: last night Mr. Andrey and I had a fun time going through "The Best Books of the 20th Century" list on Good Reads. We told each other which books we loved, hated, read, meant to read, would never pick up, couldn't finish, etc. I told him which books he absolutely must read (and I'm sure he would have done the same if he hadn't already loaded the audio books onto my iPhone). And here's where my idea came from: when you are getting to know someone, when a new friend enters your life I think there should be a book bundle exchange. Pick four books that are essential to your livelihood-whatever that means. Books that formed you, formed your outlook, books you loved or books you reviled and want the other person to hate as well. Mix and match. Imagine saying to a new friend "Here are four books, I hope you hate, love and think about them in a way that we can have lots of great conversation and you can understand me a little bit more." Also, it would be a really lovely and consistent gift- I love the idea of a signature gift, something you are known to give. You would never have to think about birthday presents again, just stock up on those four books (okay, I'm sort of teasing on that part, but also half serious).

At the moment my four book bundle would be:

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (for my love of wordplay)
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks (for my love of science)
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, J.D. Salinger (for my love of nostalgia)
A Guide to Elegance, Genevieve Antoine Dariaux (for my love of all things elegant).

I would wrap the whole thing up in a pretty ribbon with a book mark tucked in the bow. Then I would wait for my new pal to finish all the required reading to be my friend. What? You thought required reading ended with middle school? Stop. Read, then you can be my friend.

What would your bundle be? What books would illuminate you? How so? I can't wait to hear.


  1. Hmmmmm. Favorite idea ever. /best way to screen people whose book taste upsets me. My 4:

    1. "A Primate's Memoir" -Robert Sapolsky, because it was my two favorite things: biographical and scientific. And it made me cry like a baby over an aging baboon troop.
    2. "Can't Buy Me Love" -Jonathan Gould, because my love of The Beatles is ~90% of my personality.
    3. "Ender's Game" -Orson Scott Card, because I am terrified of the monsters technology/video games can create.
    4. [Oh crap, I just realized I can't pick a final book] Either "The Princess Bride" or any Orwell book (I'm OBSESSED with George Orwell...), or Ayn Rand's "Anthem" or are we allowing plays because Shakespeare is pretty huge in my life..

    I think I'm going to choose Orwell's "Coming Up for Air." Mostly as a cheat because everyone's read 1984 so that's my 5th* book. But CUfA's imagery has been sitting at the front of my memory since I read it months ago, so I'm pretty sure that's important for whatever reason.


  2. OMG fail. I forgot about my favorite current author, AJ Jacobs. I can't choose which of his books would help people know me the most, but I'm in love with him, so any and all will do.