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Your 2011 To-Read List

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | January 8, 2011 | Comments ()

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | January 8, 2011 |


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We have tried -- Mrs. Tater and I -- over the years to readjust the thinking of everyone we know regarding Christmas. Please don't give us anything, we've urged, nay, implored the relatives. Let's just get together and go out to dinner and spend a couple hours together and laugh and stuff and split the check and wish each other well and merry and go home happy. This would not apply to the young'uns, who still get their money etc., just to the supposed adults.

I say supposed because, despite our many entreaties, we have failed miserably. Which is to say, they have failed us miserably.

Every year we beg, "Please don't get us anything, we don't need anything, please."

Nevertheless, most adult factions of the extended Tater universe insist on plying us with gifts, to the point we have pretty much given up on our vision of our version of Christmas.

Which is how we have come to simply accept with a "thank you" an annual $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble, with which we head directly to the budget shelves, which is what we did the other day.

Mrs. Tater and I split the card 50/50 and went off in search of a month or so's reading material. We scored four books each and still had $1.39 on the card. I am going to list for you what we bought, because I think there are fewer windows into the soul as clear as a person's reading interests.

TATER'S LIST

(A side note: I'm in the middle of "Sucker's Progress: An informal history of gambling in America," written in 1937 by Herbert Asbury and as full or colorful writing and characters [read: cheats and con artists and dandies and other disreputable figures] as you might expect, so it'll be a week or two before I can plow into the recent purchases.)

"The City of Falling Angels," John Berendt, that "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" guy.

"The Art of Making Money: The story of a master counterfeiter," Jason Kersten

"American Rifle: A biography," Alexander Rose

"Living on the Black: Two pitchers, two teams, one season to remember," John Feinstein

See? From that you can gather that I like reading about colorful characters, clever scoundrels, history and baseball. That covers maybe 90 percent of my interests right there.

MRS. TATER'S LIST: She usually loves her some lawyerin' and detectivin' tales, so let's see what she came home with:

"Legally Dead," Edna Buchanan (Edna's always an excellent choice. I have dibs on this one when she's done.)

"While My Sister Sleeps," Barbara Delinsky

"The Almost Moon," Alice Sebold ("Gruesome and strangely enchanting ..." one blurb on the back reads. That's my girl!)

"Three Weeks to Say Goodbye," C.J. Box

So, a couple surprises on here, she's not usually much for even semi-romances, but after nearly 30 years of togetherness, believe me, the occasional surprise is a good thing, as long as it isn't heart-attack-inducing.

What reads did you get for the holidays, and what's on your to-read list for 2011?

To suggest a diversion idea or leave Tater a fan letter, you can reach him by email.


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