Few things cheer me up more than a good book, and I’ve been blessed with having more books than I have time to read. In fact, here at casa de Fausta I recently had to donate many previously-read books for having run out of space. These are keepers, and all of them are small sized, comfortably fitting in the palm of the hand, in a briefcase or a handbag. They’re also good for gifts, either by themselves or as part of a gift basket.
Birding Babylon: A Soldier’s Journal from Iraq, newly released, is written by Jonathan Trouern-Trend. Sergeant First Class Trouern-Trend was stationed in Iraq in 2004-2005 and not only kept a blog, Birding Babylon, but also wrote this charming book keeping track of the 122 species of birds he found in Iraq.
The book is beautifully designed, in hardcover, illustrated with silhouettes of the birds, and, thankfully, in a good sized type that is easy on the eyes both in natural and artificial light.
Sgt. Trouern-Trend is back in Connecticut with his wife and five children, and writes about his experiences,
I have been blessed with the opportunity to be here [in Iraq], doing a mission I believe in. Because of my job and the places I visited, I had perhaps more opportunity to see and appreciate Iraq’s natural world than some. One day I hope to return, with binoculars but without a weapon.
I look forward to that day.
I haven’t been to London for well over a decade, so I look forward to someday going back and visiting the places featured in London: A Guide to Recent Architecture. The editor’s review at Amazon describes it as
London: A Guide to Recent Architecture is one in a series of lovely little guides to many of the world’s major cities created by British publisher Ellipsis. The information contained here ranges from brief perspectives on the city’s architectural history to tips on which maps are best for visitors and how to navigate the local public transit system. The book considers architecture not as something that happens on isolated building sites, but rather as social, cultural, and political phenomena. At four inches square, this highly portable book is an ideal travel companion.
If you are going to give London: A Guide to Recent Architecture as a gift do bear in mind that the type is small and can be tiring.
Also in a London theme, Shakespeare at the Globe, a little brown notebook, a small journal with small illustrations and factoid such as
The Globe didn’t begin life as the Globe, when actor/manager James Burbage erected his playhouse in 1576 he chose to call it the “Theatre”. This established the name by which playhouses (the the Elizabethans called them)were to be known by future generations.
The small size is perfect for writing a few notes, and pasting receipts, such as theater ticket stubs, and small photos taken during a trip.
For a write-in journal, it’s also nice that the recipient will have light reading along with writing space, not just a blank book with no time to enter anything while on a tour.
Nowhere near as high-culture is the ridiculously funny Hot Dogs: Single Dogs Seeking Same, a spoof on singles ads featuring dogs of all breeds. You will laugh out loud. However, you don’t want to be reading this one in front of the kids because you will have to do a lot, and I mean a lot, of explaining.
The creators of Hot Dogs also came up with a companion (!) book featuring cats Sex Kittens: Single Cats Seeking Same, which is equally funny and just as tasteless.
I picked up Hot Dogs for $1 at the Barnes and Noble bargain table.