I turned 40 yesterday. It’s been a great week – we celebrated at the house with friends Saturday night, then my parents arrived for the actual day and we had a terrific meal at home followed by gifts and cake.
Though I’ve been fortunate to have received some wonderful birthday gifts over the years, nothing really compares to what my wife coordinated for this year. Earlier this year, we got a letter from my friend Bill’s wife April – Bill was turning 40, and in lieu of gifts, April wanted Bill’s friends to send him a book that meant something to them, along with an inscription inside saying who it was from and why they sent it. We loved the idea, and I eagerly sent 3 books to Bill.
Robin thought it was such a great idea that she’d do the same for me – and last night I unwrapped nearly 50 books from friends around the country. I don’t know what’s more incredible: the thoughtfulness that so many dear friends put into the selection of the books (and the messages they inscribed), that I’ve only read a handful of the books (each of which I’ll read again now), or that I now have easily a year’s worth of amazing reading ahead of me. Opening the books last night and reading the messages inside of each was the absolute best birthday gift imaginable.
Even better? Apparently more are on the way! To everyone who contributed a book (you know who you are!) – thank you so, so much. This list reflects the diverse personalities everyone who participated, and I am blessed beyond measure to have such remarkable friends.
For those who are curious to see what was sent, the list is below.
- Miracle in the Andes, Nando Parrado
- Fool, by Christopher Moore
- Boss – Richard Daley of Chicago, by Mike Royko
- Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, by Chelsea Handler
- Elk Talk, by Don Laubach and Mark Henckel
- It’s Your Ship – Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
- The Devil Drives – A Life of Sir Richard Burton, by Fawn M. Brodie
- The Power of One, by Bryce Courtney
- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, by Richard P. Feynman
- Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
- Microserfs, by Douglas Coupland
- How to Negotiate Like a Child, by Bill Adler, Jr.
- The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
- Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog: The Book, by Joss Whedon
- A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle
- The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston
- All About Elk, by North American Hunting Club
- Winston Churchill: The Last Lion Vol. 1 – Visions of Glory and Vol. 2 – Alone, by William Manchester
- The Girl on the Fridge, by Etgar Keret
- Pastoralia, by George Saunders
- A Guidebook to Learning, by Mortimer J. Adler
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Heroes of the Hall: Baseball’s All-Time Best, by Ron Smith
- Bethel, by Patrick Tierney Wild
- Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
- Wine & War, by Don & Petie Kladstrup
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson
- The Lobster Chronicles, by Linda Greenlaw
- Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin
- The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick
- I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb
- The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
- Ocean City Volume 1 and 2, by Nan DeVincent-Hayes
- Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
- Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook, by Harry C. Box
- The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
- This is Water, by David Foster Wallace
- The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
- Better by Saturday, by Golf Magazine
- Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather
- Domestic Violets, by Matthew Norman
- The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
- A Hidden Wholeness, by Parker J. Palmer
- The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, by Christopher Moore
- False Sanctuary, by Del Gibson
- Sailing Alone Around the Room, by Billy Collins
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3 responses to “A phenomenal birthday present”
What an awesome gift! I want to meet the people who sent you Christopher Moore books. “Fool” was one of the best books I've read in a long time.
Happy birthday, old friend. And by “old” I mean “not that old.” Seriously. Life begins at whatever age you're at.
Are you really going to read “Going Rogue”?