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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the unveiling of my Secret Santa and what she gave me for Christmas 2010!

2010 Book Blogger Holiday Swap present from Zee

Thank you so much Zee (a.k.a. @zommie) from Notes from the North!

Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods was one of the first books on my Bookdepository wishlist so it’s awesome to finally get my hands on it! :)) Zee’s twitter alter ego @zommie wrote she had no trouble deciding at all since it was one of her favourite books of 2009! Knowing that makes this gift even more special.

I haven’t seen a note about Zee’s Secret Santa yet… I hope she got something nice herself too! :) I guess anything Scandinavian will do, since she’s hosting a 2011 Nordic Reading Challenge! ;)
Book Blogger Holiday Swap button
Of course I was allowed to play Secret Santa too (that’s part of the deal ;) and I thoroughly enjoyed finding the right gifts for my Santee: Iris from Iris on Books, whom I’ve known and liked for quite some time now. She did a very nice blogpost about her Persephone & Book Blogger Holiday Swap presents.

Now, this is the Last Sunday Salon of 2010 and I’ve got some other bookish news to share.

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2011

Murakami Challenge 2011 cover buttonAnother week, another update, another challenge. That’s how you can tell it’s December LOL!

I told you before I plan to read all books by Haruki Murakami. I am lucky enough to live in The Netherlands, where the first two volumes of his new novel 1Q84 came out in June this year, earlier than in other parts of the world. We got this treasure right away but the weird thing is… I still haven’t read it! Good thing tanabata from In Spring it is the Dawn decided to host a Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge in 2011. :) She made two awesome buttons which I can’t seem to choose from and will alternate between.

The level of participation I’m choosing is ‘Toru’: read 5 of Murakami’s works. That seems appropriate since Toru is the main character of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which is how I came to know this fabulous author. It also really constitutes a challenge for me because that comprises almost 25% of the amount of books I can currently read in a year! But who knows, I might even upgrade later this year if I feel like finishing the rest of his oeuvre as well. ;)

The books I plan on reading:

  1. Murakami Challenge 2011 cat-tail-buttonHear the Wind Sing
  2. Pinball, 1973
  3. The Elephant Vanishes (buddy-read with Elsje, just like we did with Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman)
  4. 1Q84 – part I
  5. 1Q84 – part II

The list is not in any particular order, except that I wish to read Hear the Wind Sing before ‘Pinball‘, and part 1 of 1Q84 before the second. ;)

Books read and to-be-read

I finished reading Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil — which will probably end up real high on this year’s list of Best Reads — and Thomas J. Davies’ The Christmas Quilt (a warm blanket of a cozy x-mas story), just like I planned.
*pats herself on the shoulder*

Today I’ll start in my online book group’s December read: Kalme chaos (Caos calmo), by Sandro Veronesi. It’s quite a chunker and I don’t think I’ll be able to manage all of it this month, but I might at least get the ball rolling, so to say. I’ve heard raving reviews as well as people getting bored and/or annoyed, so I have no idea what to expect! Don’t you like it when that happens? :)

Cover The Wasted Vigil (Nadeem Aslam)Cover The Christmas Quilt, Thomas J. DaviesCover Kalme Chaos, Sandro Veronesi

Are you free to read this week? What books are on your stack?

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

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You've got mail: Book Blogger Holiday Swap 2010

The Day After I received my Canadian loot in the Great Grocery Bag Exchange, again a mysterious package fell into my mailbox. Hooray, a present from my Secret Santa! Of course I knew Santa lives somewhere in the Nordic hemisphere, but I never would have guessed (s)he actually lives in Sweden..! I should have know that when I visited the country in 2002! Eh, not that I have any plans about what to do with that knowledge ;)

Anyway, my present is wrapped in some cool helper-trolls paper. And I’m keeping it that way for a short while longer! Our rental Christmas tree won’t arrive until December 18th and I want it to lie under the tree like a proper x-mas gift. Even if it’s just for one day LOL! So you’ll have to be patient too. Nothing you can do about it! :)

Book Blogger Holiday Swap present 2010 (wrapped)

Thanks to helper-troll my Secret Santa ‘Zee’ from  ..?

Other bookish news

I’ve finished reading The (Temple of the) Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima and am about to start in Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil. Just like I promised last week ;)

Foodie's Reading Challenge 2011 buttonI’ve also been a baaaad grrl — again — and joined yet another challenge :\

But.. it-was-made-for-me! It’s the Foodie’s Reading Challenge, hosted by Margot of Joyfully Retired. If you’ve participated in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking meme you’re bound to have met her! She challenges us to explore the world of good food writing; taking the form of cookbooks, biographies or even novels centered around food.

Now look at Graasland and tell me honestly: could I really have resisted this challenge??? :)

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

A week of plenty. I received two acclaimed books (& other great goodies) from my Secret Santa Valentina in the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. And I started looking ahead to 2010 by making some reading plans, joining the Women Unbound reading challenge and What’s in a Name #3.

In the meantime I’m slowly progressing in volume 2 of I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki, for the Japanese Literature Read-along (deadline next Tuesday). That might sound as if it’s a heavy task but I’m actually enjoying part two even more than the first. JLit Host tanabata created a ‘wave’ to talk about Japanese literature, which got me to finally check out Google Wave… Well, I haven’t really figured it all out yet ;) I guess I need to look for a GW for Dummies book ;)

But I shouldn’t spend any more money on readables right now because The Book Depository was mean kind enough to have a 10% holiday discount — and to tweet about it. Of course I couldn’t resist :\ So I’m awaiting four (!) new books that I’ll have to find reading time for :) You’ll hear about them once they’ve arrived!

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

Yesterday around 10PM I could no longer stand the pressure and I tore open my two still-wrapped presents from my unveiled Santa.

I have to admit Santa had me a wee bit worried by mentioning in her letter that she thought there should be A RULE to make adults read children’s books… Yeah, Santa would say a thing like that, right? But this is a genre usually not to be seen on my nightstand. Of course the first of her 3 arguments was immediately incontestable:

Because they’re brilliant.

Rightio. Clever Santa! She’s brilliant herself, ‘cause you know what she got me?

TADAAAAAH

Unwrapped :)

It’s been only a few weeks since I said:

Now that I’ve crawled out of my familiar reading nook I might also try one of Gaiman’s actual fantasy books — next year.

Santa has been listening closely! ;) Getting me Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (I feel envy coming towards me now ;) What a nice surprise! And she goes even further in getting me to try new things, by also giving me a Terry Pratchett! I know plenty Pratchett enthusiasts, so I’m indeed excited to find out what I’ll think of The Wee Free Men living on Discworld. Whatdoyaknow, maybe you’ll get to meet a new addict here in the new year ;) I already found out that these books are interlinked by the fact that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have done some project together…

BTW Note how the gift wrappings are in tone with their respective book covers? Isn’t that marvelous? (Yes, I’m still going on about how great these presents looked ;) This Santa obviously cares about details :)

It was my first time participating in the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. I figured I would like to pick a present for some reader on the globe, but I hadn’t expected this wonderful feeling because someone who absolutely didn’t know me took such care in finding me a special present as well. Wow.

Thank you so much Santa Valentina!

IIIIEEEEEH just as I was bouncing off the wall out of excitement because my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift was received (positively) by my santee, the doorbell rang… The MAILMAN! With my present from Secret Santa! And I have a huge secret to blab out tell all who still believe Santa lives on the North Pole… He doesn’t! He is a she residing in Ireland. There you have it, an ancient mystery has been solved ;)

Now, as I wrote to Santa in my letter, I especially like nicely wrapped gifts. And boy did he she take that seriously! Look at these! Really, that’s what I’m doing while writing this post — for now I’m just enjoying these presents the way they are :) It’s called ‘deterred gratification’ ;)

To prove this is the REAL Santa: I didn’t write to him (it needs a bit of getting used to) HER that this Gnoe (Gnu) used to be a magpie in a previous life! Or possibly some glamrock person ;) Gimme glitteries and I’m going OMG OMG OMG! * bouncing off the wall again * Now look at the bling bling on those presents… :) See what I mean? Only the real Santa could have known — proof beyond reasonable doubt!

But wait, you haven’t seen it all yet! Santa went way out of her way to make this the most special gift in the whole Book Blogger Holiday Swap! Even mooooore goodies to enjoy :) Here’s the complete loot:

With a long, kind letter of Santa herself — who by the way has a special fondness for Japan as well ;)

Now, like me, you’ll just have to wait a little while longer to see what’s actually in the presents!

To be continued

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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