I know it’s not even “Black Friday” yet, but I do have a Christmas book on the market this year and I’m trying to get a jump on my own shopping, so I thought maybe it would be OK to blog about Christmas presents. We have adopted a Christmas shopping mantra in our family in the last few years that keeps us from buying endless presents and also provides some focus for our shopping. For close family members we try to buy four presents, and the “guide” goes like this: “something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” Needless to say, I was happy when I first heard this little rhyme that it included “something to read.” A new book—a new world to discover—has always been an important part of my Christmas morning.
When I was a child, my Aunt Caroline, who worked for many years at the Free Library of Philadelphia and was a great reader and book lover, always gave us books for Christmas. It’s important to have a book giver in the family, and we generally give books to our nieces and nephews. It’s funny how, when we visit a year or two later, the new toys have been cast aside and forgotten, but the books still sit on the shelves. My Aunt Caroline passed away about the time I was starting my book collection (I collect Lewis Carroll) and two of the first books I acquired for that collection came from her library. To make that even more appropriate, her name was Caroline Lewis Lovett.
We have lots of good “something to read” books on our lists this year. One family member wants the Penguin Book of the Undead while another wants a book about code breaking at Bletchley Park—so you can see we are a diverse bunch when it comes to reading. I’m not sure what to put on my list, though. So often my favorite books are not the ones I had heard about and rushed out to buy, but the ones I simply discovered. Right now I’m reading Beth Macy’s Truevine—a book I picked up because I had lunch with Beth. It’s outstanding. If I didn’t have a copy, I’d have loved to get one for Christmas.
So, if you have discovered any good books lately, let me know. I still have a few days to finish my list. In the meantime, consider making books a part of your Christmas giving. They may not beep or talk to you or have flashing lights, but they might just change someone’s life.