Last December, I received one of the best birthday presents ever from my friend Phil. He gave me a literal trip around the world--a stack of used books that take place in different countries, with a card shaped like an old suitcase. Clipped to each book was a photo of the country in which each story takes place.
Thanks to Phil, I can visit James Joyce's Dublin with Dubliners, experience Paul Coelho's North Africa with The Fifth Mountain, travel to Ian McEwan's England in Atonement, explore Milan Kundera's Prague with The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, venture into Orhan Pamuk's Turkey with Snow, get lost in Salman Rushdie's India with Midnight's Children, travel with Paul Theroux through Asia with Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, and be inspired by Annie Proulx's America in Accordion Crimes.
One single book would have thrilled me, but a giant stack? Used? Gah...it was a great gift. So thoughtful.
I haven't read much this year (school, dating) but I'm finally ready to tackle this stack and do some traveling this summer. And I won't even have to leave the comfort of my bed!