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10 best holiday gift book ideas

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2. "John Updike: The Collected Stories," edited by Christopher Carduff

Some John Updike fans argue that his short stories are the best way to truly understand this American master. Whether in agreement or not, it would be hard for any Updike enthusiast not to embrace "John Updike: The Collected Stories," a wonderful two-volume edition from the Library of America. The stories in the two books, which span 50 years, include the definitive versions – based on new archival research – of 186 Updike stories arranged in chronological order. More than a dozen of these stories have not been included in earlier Updike story collections and two have never before appeared in a trade book edition. Together with more familiar material, they make for wonderful reading. (Library of America, $75, 1872 pp.)

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