All I want for Christmas

…is books. And other stuff. And to be rid of Christmas clichés.


Not surprisingly, my Christmas list has several books on it. It is; however, slightly surprising that only two of them are in English. Originally there were three, but I accidentally bought one of them before sending out the list. One of them is a beautiful hardback version of my favorite book, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – Look how pretty it is: !

I’m generally not a big fan of collecting editions or even reading hardbacks, but I can make an exception for this one. I could also accept owning a 1st edition hardback copy of Catch-22. Just in case someone decides to go a bit overboard with my present this year.

The other English book is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. How I don’t already own this book, I don’t know. It definitely sounds like something that’s right up my gloomy alley.

Other than that, I’m going Scandinavian. For years and years I shunned books in Danish. I suppose I may have been a bit influenced by my English studies and my life-long love of American (pop-)lit.  But in recent years I have discovered that not everything written in Danish – or translated into Danish from Norwegian (I haven’t made my mind up about Swedish) – is horrible and dull. I may even have to concede that the effectiveness of the Danish language rivals English sometimes. Sometimes.

I haven’t reviewed Karl Ove Knausgaard yet. I started reading his six volume auto-biography before I started this blog, so I’ll wait with the review until I finish it. But I will tell you that I haven’t felt this way about a writer since I discovered Bret Easton Ellis and Edgar Allan Poe. So of course three of his other books are on my list:

  • Hjemme-Ude
  • Om Efteråret
  • Sjælens Amerika

I don’t think they’ve been translated into English and I won’t guess at their titles. They’re all non-fiction, essays etc.

Another newly discovered Norwegian writer, that Knausgaard introduced me to, is Jon Fosse. I’ve just reviewed one of his short books and I have the rest of that trilogy on my list:

  • Olavs drømme
  • Kvælsvævd

No Danes? Yes, a couple of Danes. A couple of Danes that most people who are into Danish literature will have read ages and ages ago. Not me. No, I still have these to look forward to:

  • Hærværk (Havoc) by Tom Kristensen
  • Kongens Fald (Fall of the King) by Johannes V. Jensen

I expect to be really bored by these, so hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

That’s it for the Nordics. But this isn’t the only new territory I’ll be delving into. I’ve been inspired by a colleague to try my hand (and eyes) at this French guy Houellebecq. I don’t know a whole lot about him, except that he’s sparked some controversy. So I’ll give him a go with

  • Underkastelse (Submission)
  • Elementarpartikler (Atomised)

I know I won’t get all of these, so after Christmas I’ll have to go out and buy the ones I don’t get.

Are you also hoping for loads of books under the tree? Anything you’re particularly keen on getting? I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and get everything you wish for, even if it isn’t a book.