From Carlo I got Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, the book Fernando Pessoa considered his constant companion. “One of my life’s greatest tragedies is to have already read The Pickwick Papers,” he wrote. This tragedy awaits me.
From my mother I got Best American Short Stories 2012, and read Edith Pearlman’s “Honeydew” right off under the Christmas tree, a story about an anorexic girl that tied up unexpectedly tightly. Here's the first page.
Luisa got an Ernest Hemingway book called Fiesta in the German translation. When she asked for it, I was concerned she'd picked some obscure, disdained Hemingway that would turn her off to him forever (which may be inevitable anyway), but in fact is The Sun Also Rises. Searching for an image, I found Fiesta is also the Czech title.
Luisa also got The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder, best known for his book Sophie’s World, which she’s gone cultish on. She also asked for and received Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism, because that’s the way she rolls.
Luisa got Miles the Hugo-winner Ender’s Game. He also got the crazy adorable book of photographs Underwater Dogs.
For my mother I got Pete Dexter’s Deadwood and Jennifer Egan’s Look at Me for no other reason than I am in line to inherit them.
And Carlo got a book from the Städel called Alte Meister, or Old Masters, featuring the museum’s rich collection of very old paintings.