In many countries around the globe, it's the gift giving time of year when our attentions drift toward how we can delight
our loved ones with a thoughtful gift. I know this will come as a surprise, but my favorite gifts are books because they are a gift you can open again and again. Books also make perfect gifts because they're available for purchase most days and are about a dizzying array of topics and sentiments.
So, gift shopping for me is one-stop shopping at my favorite local bookstore–Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, Ky. It's small, yet magnificent and charmingly staffed by folks who have read many of the books that they sell and are eager to engage in conversation about their very own personal favorites. Each conversation is further seasoned by what they have heard from other readers about their experiences with books of interest.
If you need a gift idea for a dear one, I recommend sharing what you know about that person with the folks in your local bookstore and they will unquestionably have a range of gift ideas sure to delight. This isn't just retail sales for them; it's about the satisfaction of helping another reader in need.
Along that path I realized that when giving a book to someone, I give and they get so much more than a personally new read. Those books become gifts to the full households. I mean when the gift recipient finishes the book…or even decides to finish something else they are already reading first…then the new book automatically compounds good will and expanded choices to family and friends. It is a delight for the receiver and then it is a delight for the other members of the receiver's household…and then the friends of the household and on and on.
Thus, when the option of gifting a book is available, the impact, the love, the thought, multiplies and deepens. Taking the long view, consider also the gifted book that, having been enjoyed by the family, lies fallow on a bookshelf for months or even years after the joyful gifting. Then one day along comes another pair of flashing eyes, or perking ears that encounter the long ago gifted book's spine, or discover the fading cover, or hear a casual rendition of an event from the book, and then a new hand reaches for a new possibility.
Simply put, books are the gifts of mystery and surprise, of delight and smiles, of escape and discovery. Books promise a calm time in a comfy chair that whisks the latest readers away from their daily worries into new relationships, locales, eras and adventures.
Happy Holidays, All!