Sunday, December 14, 2008

BOOKS | Ten Commandments of Book Giving

Books do make the best gifts. The problem is, most of my friends refuse to give me more books. Some of my friends feel it encourages an addiction ;p

Most of my friends avoid giving me books because I work in a bookstore. I am probably one of the worst person to buy a book for: What if I already have a copy, or I end up not liking the book?

So contradictory to expectations, I rarely get book-gifts. Christmas and birthdays are usually spent hanging out with my friends. While I love book-gifts as much as the next book-geek, there is the other kind of gift that I cherish more than books - time with my friends, and the reminder that they love me.

I still like to receive books as presents. People just refuse to buy me books. *whine*

Book giving is an art - because your choice says something about you as much as it says something about your opinion of the other party. Here, Michael Dirda offers his Ten Commandments of Book Giving. I love Commandment #9:

Support the midlist. Many good novelists, most poets and nearly all scholars sell only a few thousand copies of their books, if they're lucky. Blockbuster titles and brand-name authors will always be with us, but the books that matter in the long run, the books that will truly speak to our very innermost being, can easily be overlooked. Browse through the fiction shelves. Pause at the poetry section. Buy a few of these books, and you'll be a patron of the arts.

Yes, avoid the bestsellers. The mega-selling authors are rich enough. Make your gift count for something.

4 comments:

Nymeth said...

I can always count on you for links to great articles. I love this as well: "After all, the giving and receiving of presents is a kind of soul-exchange."

So true. And it's why I love receiving books that I might not even have heard of, but are a favourite of the giver's. Giving a book we love is like giving a piece of ourselves.

Dark Orpheus said...

Nymeth - Books as soul-exchange.

I think one of the best book-gift I received (and one of the VERY FEW book-gift I received) is a copy of Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. It was a wonderful present and the friend who gave it to me loved Robertson Davies.

I think she did give a piece of herself with Robertson Davies. Every time I read Robertson Davies, I think of my friend. And I am always grateful to her.

Iliana said...

That's a wonderful article! I hardly ever get book gifts too - I'm always so surprised when I do. I understand though, friends/family are just worried they'll give me something I already have. ha.

So that's why usually I give myself a Christmas present and that means it's a trip to the bookstore for some books.

Carl V. said...

"Some of my friends feel it encourages an addiction"... and the problem with that is?!?! ;)

I had a book seller say something similar to me when I was buying gift cards the other day. She says that people just won't buy her gift cards because she works at Barnes and Noble and it frustrates her because that is exactly what she would love to have!!!