Under the tree: “Big brothers know everything…Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”*

by chuckofish


My dual personality blogged about her haul of Christmas gift books the other day, so I thought I would follow suit with a list of mine.

My big brother gave me the new biography of John Wayne by Scott Eyman and I dived right in. (Middlemarch was unceremoniously shoved to the back of the bedside table.)


I read the whole thing and enjoyed it very much. It supported my previously held view that old Duke was the greatest. I always knew he was intelligent, hard-working, kind, humble, and dreamy, but it was nice to have that opinion validated. Here is a good review of the book by Peter Bogdonavich in the New York Times.

When everyone goes home tomorrow and I am bereft, I am going to binge-watch John Wayne movies. This is what I call good therapy.

My sister gave me a new book about Raymond Chandler–another favorite of mine–The World of Raymond Chandler in His Own Words edited by Barry Day.


Chandler, as we all know, wrote not about crime or detection, as George V. Higgins once observed, but about the corruption of the human spirit. He is a man after my own heart: “Philip Marlowe and I do not despise the upper classes because they take baths and have money; we despise the upper classes because they are phony.”

As you can imagine, this book is chock-full of great quotes by the master of simile. “Soot…was down-drafted into the room and rolling across the top of the desk like tumbleweed drifting across a vacant lot.” (The Big Sleep)

An old friend (and a reader of this blog) gave me


which is full of good things to remember:


And, of course, I can always count on daughter #2 to give me something intellectually stimulating. This year it was a copy of


I can’t wait to delve into this one! Emerson is one of my favorites and you know I always like to look at the spiritual side of things.

“Travelling is a fool’s paradise. We owe to our first journeys the discovery that place is nothing. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern Fact, the sad self, unrelenting identical that I fled from.” (Self-Reliance)

(P.S. I received some wonderful non-book presents and I hope the people who gave me these will not feel slighted that I did not mention them today.)

What are you reading?

*Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking by Charles M. Schulz