What are we getting people for Christmas this year?

DC1:  A set of trick decks for the stocking (DC1 is really into card and coin tricks),

DC2:  Spanish coloring book,  a set of 5 field notebooks and a wellspring flip note (DC2 is really into drawing and list making and notes)

BIL1:  Anti-hero, for the king, and into the breach.  I am told these are steam games.

SIL1:  Usually we get SIL books off her amazon list but this year we only got her Binti:  Home and instead got her the first Timestories game off her wish list because DH really enjoys Timestories.

nephew 1:  A meccano microid and a minecraft plush pig from his amazon wishlist.

niece 1:  We renewed her subscription to the Braille of the Month book club.  Apparently they’ve really been enjoying it.  (The nonprofit provides the books at less than cost, so we also gave them a donation– what a great program.)

BIL2:  We never know what to get for him, so we generally just give an amazon gift card.  This year is no exception.

SIL2:  She had a bunch of stuff for work, mostly craft paper, on her amazon wishlist, so we got that.

nephew 2:  He’s easy to shop for because he’s a similar age to our DC2 and has similar interests, so we got more Magic Treehouse books (our DC2 is not a fan, but our DC1 was, and they were a big hit last year), bad kitty books, and a book of facts that DC2 really enjoyed.

niece 2:  She’s a bit harder because we have to remember what we gave nephew 2 at that age (not to be confused what we gave the other niece and nephew).  Generally we make a list and then ask SIL2 if there are duplicates.  This year we got Go Dog Go, Put me in the Zoo, Big Dog Little Dog,  Sneeches, Green Eggs and Ham, and one fish two fish.

MIL:  Life has gotten easier since she got a wish list!  We got her the Michelle Obama memoir and a non-crisping ninja foodi (so.. basically an instapot?) that is backordered on amazon and may not get there until after January.

FIL:  An instant food thermometer and a gift certificate to Cabela’s.

Sister:  She’s been doing a lot more cooking lately and asked for a bread book, so we got her DH’s current go-do– Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno.  I would call this a recipe book for the advanced beginner.  It has a lot of really good information (with pictures) about different types of bread, ingredients, and multiple techniques before it gets into the recipes.  It’s not a coffee table book with rich histories like Home Baking, nor is it a trendy artisan bread in 5 min a day, but we learned a lot of techniques from it and it’s got a lot of variety and almost all the recipes we’ve tried have been excellent.  (Exception:  DH notes on the soft pretzel recipe:  THESE ARE NOT PRETZELS, need baking soda.)  We don’t know what else to get her– she has said she will think about what she wants.

Mother:  The local bookstore in her town went out of business, so I guess it is back to Amazon gift cards.

Father:  I’ve given up here.

For #2 I got her a bunch of excellent books off her wish list including three for kindle that I sent her right away because Amazon sucks for gift giving via kindle (stuff stays on the wish list so you might end up with two people buying you the same thing).  I got her Deception by Amanda Quick, KJ Charles’ retelling of the Prisoner of Zenda, and Band Sinister.  The other stuff is still a secret.


#2 says:  This year, as with most years, it’s an Icelandic-style bookflood for me.  Though I still have to figure out what to get for DH.

Our fantasy library

So, some day when one of us becomes extremely wealthy… you know, when #2’s partner’s long-lost great-uncle dies and leaves him his hundreds of millions… we’re going to buy a three story flat in San Francisco.  #2 and company will live on the top floor, my family will live on the bottom floor where the running of small feet won’t bother anybody, and the middle floor will be our joint library.  (Yes, we know it would be smarter to have the library on the bottom floor, but #2 will be rich enough that they can reinforce it or something.)

While I was viewing the shots of #2’s bookcases, I realized something horrific.  “Oh man, I don’t think we could ever consolidate libraries though,” I typed.  “I’m itching to go through your shelves and sort by author alphabetically.”

Fortunately, that turned out not to be a problem.  “You could curate my books for me. You could even add yours in. I would keep them in order once they were in order,” she replied.  Apparently she doesn’t have her own strange filing system that I just wasn’t understanding.  They’re just not… in order.  *twitch*  You know that episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon goes to a party and organizes his hosts’ closet and begs to be allowed to take the button box home to organize in the car?  That’s totally me.  Though mostly with bookcases and spice racks.  I’m not a clean person, but I love my alphabetizing.

Well, it’s not quite fair to say that they’re not in order.  She does have them in “an order.” “For example,” she says, “there is one case that is all my best-loved and most-personal books.”  Which totally makes sense to me.  I’ve often had my most beloved books on the shelf closest to my bed in my life.  Or I’ll have a separate shelf for not-yet-read books.  But the former are generally organized by genre and then by author’s last name, while the latter are organized either by order I should read, alphabetically, or if there are a lot of them, in a manner than will help keep the towers from toppling (largest on the bottom).

“I would let you alphabetize them,” she said.  “I might even help. I just wouldn’t do it all myself.”  This is a good thing, because I might have a nervous break-down if I had to continually see Dave Barry coming right after Diana Wynne Jones.  My mind would not be able to handle it.  In no world does that make sense unless you have very few books by other authors and that just happens to be where you break between fiction and non-fiction/humor.

#2 also has another odd need– she wants authors who coauthor books to have the coauthored book in between the other two authors.  “Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett wrote a book together, so Good Omens is filed in between the two authors, who are next to each other.  I believe that Patricia Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer belong together.”  However, that problem is easily solved, “How about two copies of good omens, one housed with each author?”  “That will work.”

Series order is also important– we are agreed that the Discworld books should be in publication order.  After all, many of the characters show up in other folks’ series.  Especially the Librarian.

Some more discussion decides that hardbacks and paperbacks should be put together in the same shelves.  We are not facing space constraints in our fantasy library, and nothing has to be in a fancy display shelf.  If you don’t think old paperbacks are beautiful, you don’t belong in our library, even if you might be invited to our living rooms.

Then we move on to the more difficult discussion of how to group fiction vs. non-fiction and different genres.  I favor separation of fiction and non-fiction at the very least (though humor like Dave Barry could go in either or in a separate category), and have a slight favor towards subdividing fiction.  She prefers putting everything together.  She wants Malcolm Gladwell in with her fiction.  I don’t.  We throw the question to our partners.  Mine wants everything to be completely subdivided by genre.  Hers says that we should totally separate fiction from non-, and that his books have to go in, too, so, she reluctantly agrees, “I guess separation it is.”  As a concession I allow her to include the graphic novels, manga, and comics with the fiction by author.  She notes that we should put their gaming/RPG books in a separate section as well.

We agree on comfy brown leather chairs with ottomans.  And a divan or two.  And a window seat.  Also, comfy couches, cushions and blankets for the windowseat, curtains, and a fireplace.  Some super-fluffy rug so we can sprawl on our tummies on the floor in front of the fire.  Lighting will somehow be perfect.  And, of course a cat, though we’re not sure whether it should be our already existing felines or a new one specific to the library.  Possibly a marmalade tabby.  And some kitty-specific furniture that allows them to avoid other kitties.

X-rated stuff goes on high high shelves, or goes in individual bedrooms.  #2 must have a lot of pr0n.
We decide on a separate area with low bookcases for books for 0-4 year olds, but chapter books will be shelved with the adult ones.  I add some children’s puzzles and a little desk with little chairs.  Like at the library.  #2 adds a beanbag.  And step-stools.

Finally, we make sure the wifi covers that room too so we can get to LibraryThing.

Now we just have to wait for someone’s unknown rich relative to die and leave us lots of money.

What does your fantasy library look like?

When I am an old tenured woman

When I am an old tenured woman I shall dye my hair purple
With a green streak which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my income on books and high-heeled boots
And horseback riding lessons, and say we’ve no time for meetings.

I shall show videos in the classroom when I’m tired
And drink in public and say what I mean
And tell students what I think of their attitude
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall wear sweatpants to the grocery store again
And pick the most interesting research projects
And give the grades that are earned.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And speak about whatever issues are important
Or give the President a book to read that’s not about online edutainment
And hoard pens and plane tickets and writing time and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not be too feminist
And set a good example for the students.
We must not argue with the dean or the chair.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am tenured, and have purple hair.

(with many apologies to Jenny Joseph)

#1: I think when I get tenure we should call the blog Grumpy Rumblings of the (formerly un-)Tenured

#2: When you get tenure you can change the name to whatever you want.

#1:  Spring Break is gonna be Epic.  My shit gonna ALL hang loose.