At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.
Today's featured giver is Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries.
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What books are you giving to friends and family this holiday season and why?
I'm giving poetry to my partner, who is a poet himself and so very difficult to buy for, as his tastes are much more diverse and informed than mine. I know that the presses he most admires are New Directions, The Cultural Society, Flood Editions, Talisman House, and the recently formed Verge Books — I'll do some research first and find what's new and forthcoming on their lists.
Is there a book you find yourself gifting year after year?
I've given The Gift by Lewis Hyde to a great many people. For obvious reasons, it's a book that's best given away.
Do you have a favorite children's book to give budding readers?
Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle and E. B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan. For readers who are a little older, Robert O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I seem to be going on an animal theme here.
Do you have any book-related holiday traditions?
I love to spend the holiday season rereading. Rereading is such a pleasure and so necessary for a writer — you notice different things the second or third time around. This year I've been making my way through Shakespeare's plays, and I'd like to go back at Christmas and read them all again, but in chronological order this time.
What type of book makes the best cold-weather reading?
Well, in New Zealand it's hot at Christmastime, so it'll be a while before I have to think about winter weather! But nothing beats a mystery on a cold day. Some of my favorite mysteries are The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.