A list of books for Christmas gifts occupies the front of my mind this time of year – they please in many forms (beautifully illustrated books, a graphic novel of the Mueller report!), but finding the right book is still challenging.
So, I enjoyed reading Ann Patchett’s piece in The Guardian books newsletter about her habit of giving books for all occasions (she owns a bookstore).
And her new book, The Dutch House, belongs on the list. It’s the stuff of fairy tales: a mother disappears leaving two children with a distracted father in a haunting, enormous house. The father remarries, then dies, and the wicked stepmother casts out the children. (It’s also a modern tale of real estate and sibling devotion.) I’d saved it for a concentrated time of reading, the book rewarded the wait, and made a long flight pass quickly!
One day on our trip after a library visit, Sweet Baby asked me how books are made, and I gave an overlong explanation of signatures, endpapers, binding, printing.
And then we just made a book – sketchbook paper cut and folded into pages sewn with dental floss – with a story dictated to her mom and illustrated admirably!