Back at the end of October I proposed participating in Neil Gaiman’s new holiday tradition of an All Hallow’s Eve book exchange, and some of you were kind enough to play along. So…how did it go? What did you get? What did you give? If you’ve read the book you received, what did you think? Should we do it again next year, and try to get more people to join in the fun? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments, or link to a post of your own, if you’re so inclined. My take below…
Right off the bat, I’ll admit that I was a complete slacker. I only sent my books out recently, due to poor planning on my part. Note to self – next year do not propose a book exchange then immediately go on two vacations in a row. Despite my own lack of organization, I was lucky enough to receive Catherynne M. Valente’s The Habitation of the Blessed from lowly_scribe in record time. I have since devoured it, and it was delicious.
Seriously. The framing device for Valente’s story of Prester John features books-as-fruit, which fits perfectly with her luscious prose. Her writing evokes taste and smell, along with the other senses, and it’s all painfully beautiful. It’s a book that is also a meal, one that makes me realize just how very lacking my culinary-literary skills are. I’m simultaneously jealous, and in awe, but ultimately I come down on the side of being incredible happy that a book so full of magic and gorgeous imagery and poetic language exists. Thank you, lowly_scribe, and thank you Ms. Valente!
In terms of book giving, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Red Tree and Laid Barron’s The Imago Sequence went to Jeff. As luck would have it, he didn’t already own them, and hadn’t already read them, so I feel like I chose well. The reasoning behind sending these particular books is that they both contain stories that I found subtly haunting, that stuck with me, circling in my head for days after I read them, and creeped me out in a completely undefinable way. In the spirit of All Hallow’s Read, they seemed like a very appropriate thing to share!
The other book I sent (which has hopefully been received by now, so this won’t spoil the surprise) is Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, which went to cymry. Knowing how big her to-read pile is, and how busy she is, I wanted to provide a light, quick read. I also wanted to stick with the spirit of All Hallow’s Read, without sending an out-right horror book. Finally, if you’re particularly astute, you may have noticed that I have a very slight ALL CONSUMING OBSESSION with Ray Bradbury. I know, I hide it well, right?
So there you have it until next All Hallow’s Eve. Happy reading!