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.