Monday, December 29, 2014

Books as Gifts

 A month long  blog event hosted by Estella's Revenge,
Book Review / Discussion {a book from from your fave genre or author}
 – link-up at Traveling with T

We are a family that has always given books as gifts.  My mother was especially good at picking out books for other people.

Once she gave my grandmother (Mom's mother-in-law) a book about a freed slave turned madam in San Francisco, Mammy Pleasant: 1815-1904
by Helen Holdredge. It seemed an odd choice for an elderly farm woman, but my grandmother loved it, talked about it, and passed it around among the members of her bridge club.

That same year she gave my non-bookish brother (who usually read only when he had to) a lavish photo book of trains. He was happy with it. It appealed to his interest in trains and his interest in photography.

Why do I remember two gifts from so long ago? Probably because when I was helping her wrap them I thought they were goofy choices. I never would have given either of the recipients books! Let alone those particular books.

The love of reading and books was passed down to me from my mother. The ability to select books as gifts was not. Once my daughters were past children's books I had a difficult time picking out books for them. It isn't that I don't know their reading tastes; it's more that they have such wide access to books that I have no idea what they've already read.

Hooray for wish lists! But I didn't give them books this year because the wish lists were full of jewelery, tech stuff, make-up, treats, and clothing. I did buy one gift book about the SF Giants, but everything else was non-bookish.

Not so, my wish list. There was non-bookish stuff, but there were a lot of books. When I want to read something I first try to get it from the library. If I can't borrow it, it goes on the wish list. What my daughters select from the long list is always a surprise. The Akashic Noir series is on the list (with a note listing those I've already read). Since this is a huge series there's a lot of leeway. For my birthday I received Toronto Noir with the comment "because it seems an unlikely place for crime noir."

So what did I get for Christmas? This time she chose one from a place I've been:

It was a memorable trip back in the
USSR days when it was Leningrad.

   The other book from my elder daughter is ----->

 From my younger daughter.

                               Love the cover of Pepperpot


And one that wasn't on my wish list which she bought for our shared kitchen.

A note about this book: She found it in a consignment store. Used books are fine as gifts in our family, as long as they are in good condition. this book is in excellent, like new, condition. I doubt if it's ever actually been in a kitchen. I don't think it's been read or used at all. 

Speaking of used books and gifts, I think a gift certificate to a good used book store would be an ideal gift.  Browsing is half the fun.

What is your feeling about used books as gifts?


  1. I LOVE that you give books. But, I so understand the problem it becomes when you don't know what someone has read (because it's SO hard to keep track- and forget about it if it's a series- some of the books sound and look so much alike!)

    Looks like you got some great books for the holidays!!!

  2. I did get great books! Happy new Year & Happy Reading!