Brendan Kennealy of Bloomington writes:

"The Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy." Received this, along with a bottle of Jameson, for a not-too-long-ago Christmas. "The Cossacks" is my favorite so far. Tolstoy understands love deeply, and selling a musket for vodka sounds like just the thing to do.

Also on my table: Marilynne Robinson's "The Givenness of Things." Sven Birkerts' "Changing the Subject." (Tough going with this one.) On the Kindle: Elena Ferrante's "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay." Just finished Cynan Jones' "Everything I Found on the Beach" (wow) and Paul Gruchow's "The Necessity of Empty Places" (double wow).

Oh, and a lamp and a bottle of water, too.

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