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Book gifts for Christmas

A short post to thank my friend Claire and my brother Alessandro for their Christmas gifts. They know me, and they gave me books.
Books make me happy. And two interesting books they are.

17611937Claire went for a historical thriller, The Tournament, by Matthew Reilly. I’ve long been a fan of Reilly’s breakneck-paced, higly-ballistic techno-thrillers, and this unexpected foray of the Australian author in a very different genre and setting intrigues me a lot. Espionage, the game of chess, intrigue and seduction, sounds like my sort of adventure all right. And the novel is set in Constantinople, which is an extra bonus.

51FZBwlQ-OL._SY346_My brother went for something completely different: a book about Taoist Poetry in the T’ang era (618-907 AD).
A.S. Kline’s Like Water or Clouds is both an anthology of T’ang poetry and an examination of how Taoist thinking influenced literature in China. The volume features a nice overview of the development of Chinese philosophy through history, and then offers a fine selection of annotated poems from the T’ang period. The book is beautifully illustrated with reproduction of Taoist paintings.

Two fun, unusual and highly appreciated books for these cold winter nights.

Bonus Track: “Christmas in the Trenches”
Spirit Animals: Hummingbirds

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