Dec. 5, 2002 -- There are less than three weeks to go before Christmas. Here, All Things Considered book reviewer Alan Cheuse -- also a published author and creative writing professor at George Mason University in Virginia -- presents his annual list of gift ideas for book lovers.
Listed below are his picks for the 2002 holiday season -- ideal for gifts, or just a quiet read by the fireplace:
Paul Bowles: Collected Stories & Later Writings Library of America
"This pair of books is a great gift for the literary connoisseur... Bowles (is) one of the most admired writers of the second half of the 20th century."
Family Matters Knopf
Toronto-based, Bombay-born writer Rohinton Mistry's novel Family Matters was "short-listed for the Booker Prize -- it should have won. It takes us to Bombay, and a battle between two family factions, with an aging patriarch in the middle."
The Piano Tuner Knopf
"My choice for best first novel of the year, and a great gift for lovers of new fiction: medical student Daniel Mason's novel The Piano Tuner, which starts out in late 19th-century London and quickly carries us to the backlands of Burma -- where warlords reign supreme."
Gumbo: A Celebration of African American Writing Broadway Books
"I want to recommend an anthology edited by Marita Golden and E. Lynn Harris... Tons of writers donated their work for this collection... (and) some of my favorite writers are included."
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 Mariner Books
"And then there's the first non-fiction volume edited by Dave Eggers, of Staggering Genius fame, in a new series called The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 -- a sort of Gen-X anthology."
Tell Me: 30 Stories Counterpoint Press
"Short stories for stuffing the story-lover's stocking? You’ve got to give Tell Me, Mary Robison's collected stories."
Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick Pantheon Books
For the past few years, you couldn't go to the movies without seeing a Philip K. Dick novel translated to the big screen -- Total Recall, Minority Report, Imposter. Vintage has... just brought out his selected stories, edited by the writer Jonathan Lethem -- like me, one of his big fans."
Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce Knopf
"(Alfred Appel Jr.) helps us to see -- and hear -- how Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker joined ranks with 20th century literary modernists James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Hemingway to construct, out of the sounds of everyday life, the magical universe we all still inhabit."