Books Joel Ben Izzy Books by Joel Ben Izzy Joel Ben Izzy has written books about: Nonfiction Biography & Memoir Facebook Twitter Google+ Email NPR stories about Joel Ben Izzy Four Favorite Books for Gifts — or Oneself December 16, 2005 At a time of year defined by buying and exchanging presents, favorites both old and new demand attention. Among the recommendations from book critic Maureen Corrigan: the novels The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Four Favorite Books for Gifts — or Oneself Listen Toggle more options Download Embed Embed <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5056810/5056822" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player"> Excerpt: 'The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness' December 16, 2005 But cancer was a disease for other people, older people-sick people, for God's sake. I was thirty-seven and in good health, so it wasn't even a possibility lurking in the corners of my imagination on that hot July afternoon, my son's fifth birthday. I had placed five candles on the cake and was just putting on the sixth for good luck when the phone rang.