I started collecting classics in the mid 1980s. Every month, a beautiful, gilded, faux leather bound book would arrive at my home. Eagerly, but carefully, I'd open the box from the Franklin Library, to see what the title would be and what color it would be and what gold letterings and designs it would have on its cover. After savoring the smell and fanning the crisp new pages, I'd give it a home on my book shelf.
It was over two years before I stopped collecting the books that, at the time, were surprisingly inexpensive. Titles included, My Antonia, Gulliver's Travels, and The Portrait of a Lady. About thirty books were in my library, yet I read only six or so. Single at the time, I could have/should have read more. (Okay, so I had a TV and a life.)
Years later, I subscribed to another book collection - from the Eastern Press - and this time, the books were "genuine leather," a selling point on the advertisement. I read another six or so.
You may be able to tell that I
However, there are two other areas in the house that are filled with books that I have read. People in my life know that reading is one of my pleasures, which results in an occasional book as a gift. Many are from my husband and children, but also from other relatives and friends. How thoughtful they are.
I can't read every book that I own. I'd like to, but I can't.
I was reminded of this when Cousin Bee asked if I'd read the book she gave to me for Christmas.
"No," I admitted. "I skimmed a few pages though. I'm going to put it on my night table," I continued, "that way, I'll remember to read it."
Does she really care if I read it or not? Isn't the gift her way of saying that she likes me and that the book says she thought about my interests?
I think so... or maybe she thought, "I don't know what to get her. I'll go with a book."
A gift to someone is somewhat presumptuous; a book seeming to be more of a message than a vase or a shirt. The title and content says, "You need to know this" or "This will make you laugh" or "This will help you cope;" or simply, "The reviews on this book are good, so I hope you'll enjoy it."
A book feeds you. Whether you like its story/message or not, it presumes what your mind wants to absorb.
A shirt says, "I think you'll like this" or "You'll look good in this" or "You need this." Whichever, it's all external.
The vase: I was at a friend's home when she showed me hers that was a present. I couldn't help but laugh when she said, "I need this vase like I need a hole in my head."
At least it can be stored away and brought out in the spring for fresh flowers; unlike the wedding present my husband and I received almost twenty years ago - a framed art print.
The giver had never been to our new home together and had never asked what type of art we liked. Fortunately, she never visited and asked where it was hanging.
I'm all for books as gifts and fine with receiving more. Which ones I'll read, "Who knows?" Just when I decided my next book to read, I looked over and saw Cousin Bee's gift on the night table, picked it up, and began to read. It's a good book.
Do you give books as gifts? How do you feel about books you receive as a gift?
By the way, since I started blogging, I've read at least 2 books written by bloggers. Day Laughs, Night Cries: Fifteen by Peaches Ledwidge and Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio. (Joanne doesn't appear to be making the blogging rounds anymore.) I've also read a book that I won by entering a blog giveaway. All were good reads.