First, here's what my holiday was like:
I spent Christmas Eve mostly helping my mom get food prepared for the big day. She does most of the cooking during the week prior to Xmas: shortbread, fondant cream balls (which I've been making for the past couple of years), potatoes, yams, stuffing with sausage meat & cranberries (the best ever!), pie, and the almighty turkey, done during Xmas Eve day, which is a fine art, allowing the cook to relax & socialize versus being bunkered down in the kitchen making the turkey all day. The turkey gets sliced & covered with large lettuce leaves to soak in added moisture and is refrigerated, then reheated the next day. M...m...m!
Earth: The Book by Jon Stewart & the Daily ShowThis was for my dad, a fan of the Daily Show. It's quite comprehensive, written as a guidebook for any visiting/invading aliens who wish to learn about our planet's history & culture. Every entry in the book has a hilarious take on topics ranging from customs, entertainment, religion, science, and environment, all poking fun at humans' (very) biased perception of ourselves as the biggest, most intelligent species in the universe.
Rebecca by Daphne du MaurierThis was for my mom, who always claims this as her favourite book but whose only copy was somehow lost or maybe discarded because it was falling apart. If it wasn't for book blogging, I probably would never have thought about giving this to her. The intention of giving this book as a gift is that she will re-read it and then pass it on to me to read for the first time *wink, wink* :)
Cake Boss: Stories & Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy ValastroThis was a great surprise for my mom, and I had no intention of getting it until I spotted it by the checkout. It was the best impulsive purchase I've ever made :D My mom is a big fan of the TLC show about an Italian family-run bakery in NJ, headed by the only son, Buddy, and all the antics of smoothly (at least in the end) creating jaw-dropping works of edible art. The book includes delicious recipes & drool-worthy photos of some creations. I am sure that my mom will try recreating some of Buddy's goodies & I can't wait to sample some :D
Atonement by Ian McEwanNo, I didn't regift my own copy (especially since I haven't read it yet) :D My mom asked me for a title suggestion to give my grandma & I thought of Atonement, being such a powerful movie and set during WWII, my grandma's generation. She was pleasantly surprised to receive it and hopefully, given her usual taste of romance novels, will enjoy it.
Now for my Xmas loot, which I must say I am incredibly grateful & lucky to have received. Every year is a wonderful time for my family make each other smile & sometimes get surprised. I got 9 books (!), plus the 6 I bought myself earlier in December, so technically that's 15 books (woo hoo!). I think my lovely gift-givers were not only visiting my blog but had a peek at my challenge books, because out of these books, I intend to read 7 of them for challenges.
Now for the books...! First, my dad, as an Xmas tradition, bought me a few titles:
I'm tempted to start this next. It's a short read to wedge between now & January when my challenges begin. The movie was lovely & I've seen this on so many bloggers' favourite book lists.
Then there were the 2 books I got an early preview of:
*Toy Story 3 on DVD--cute cast of characters, terrific story, exciting animation, bright colours & a tearjerker ending...what a fantastic way to polish off a movie series as loveable as Toy Story.
*iTunes card--I bought mostly Beatles songs (finally available!), a few oldies, and two new(er) tunes by Bruno Mars & Flo Rida. I have eclectic taste in books, music & movies, if you didn't know :D
*Stocking stuffers included a new pencil case to replace the one I lost on the job (it's probably in the hands of some young'un I've taught...), a Simpsons 2011 calendar, Tim Hortons card & lots of chocolate!
Whew! As I said on Xmas Day when looking at everyone's gift hauls, boy did we hit the motherload or what?!
Besides finishing Last Words, I am nearly finished The Poisonwood Bible and intend to start 84 Charing Cross Road next before I start Full Dark, No Stars, and want to dip into My Life by Bill Clinton for some nonfiction.