Are you giving or getting holiday books?

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Are you giving or getting holiday books?

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nov. 28, 2015, 10:31pm

I always wonder about people giving or getting books for Christmas and Hannukah (as well as other feasts), and thought that this group might be an appropriate place to discuss it. Please delete if you disapprove!

I'm not giving gifts as such this year to my parents/brother/sister-in-law/nephew. I used the money I would have put towards gifts as a donation to help supply a medical clinic in Africa, and I think they will appreciate that more.

For my younger daughter (age 17) I have purchased The Devil in the White City, about the serial murderer operating at the world fair in Chicago about 100 years ago. She mentioned she'd like to read it.

On the whole, I'm not doing a lot for Christmas. My son and I (I live with my son) are going on two weeks' vacation in January in lieu of Christmas presents. I am entirely happy with that arrangement.

nov. 29, 2015, 12:15am

A trip in lieu of gifts sounds lovely!

We give books to my nieces and nephews, who are all on my husband's side. They range from age 4 to 13. I keep a list of what I've given them and also use the tags on LibraryThing so I can consult my account when I'm in a bookstore. This year I'm giving two of the newphews Astrotwins, which is co-written by astronaut Mark Kelly, and is about a fictionalized version of him and his twin brother (Scott Kelly, also an astronaut, currently on the space station) as kids having adventures.

nov. 29, 2015, 4:12am

I only give chosen titles to small children. Anyone beyond the point of having their books picked for them, I give giftcards for books. My mom and I have gifted bookstore giftcards many times over the years. My dad would opt to take me to the store and tell me to pick things out. When I was around 12 or so my uncle had me pick out a book or two for some occasion (I know I got The Hobbit then, a fine choice!). I don't like people picking out books for me, because there are about 50million things on my wishlist and only I can say what I'd really like, what's at the top of it. If people really wanted to buy me specific ones, I suppose I could link them to a wishlist of my choices to do so, but I've honestly never had that come up. If someone I'd want to gift books had a wishlist themselves, I would consider using that option. Otherwise, not going to pick titles for them as there's surely there's things they have in mind that I wouldn't know to choose. And my husband and I tend to not give actual gifts for occasions but plan an outing to whichever bookshop (and/or possibly buying some online).

Anyhow, Devil in the White City is a good read, I hope she enjoys it.

nov. 29, 2015, 4:55pm

My biggest Christmas shopping destination every year used to be a bookstore; which one I went to changed over time as various ones closed. I used to be able to get something for literally everyone on my list, including a pretty big range of relatives, and would come out carrying two heavy shopping bags. It was exciting and fun to go pick out so many things with very specific tastes and circumstances in mind.

Now I have a very short gift list for others, not including many (or any) books, and I usually send my husband an Amazon link or two for titles I really want to own. Most of the joy has gone out of it.

nov. 29, 2015, 9:26pm

Can't help giving books for the Holiday Season -- everyone loves to read. I even give them to myself! It's too much pressure to expect a gifter to know what I have and haven't read. This year I'm participating in the Santa Thing on behalf of myself and as a donor. Love hearing from my giftee what they think of my reading of their wants and desires. And it's fun making suggestions to help other Secret Santas.

Think I'll go do some more now.

nov. 30, 2015, 11:25am

Limelite, I also enjoy SantaThing. I was a little nervous the first year I did it but I needn't have worried. I have been pleased at how seriously the Santas take their job. I've received some wonderful books that I never would have chosen for myself and I love hearing that my giftee is pleased, as well. Making suggestions to help out the other Secret Santas is loads of fun and reading everyone's helpful comments and keeping a list of the suggestions that appeal to me has led to some good reading.

nov. 30, 2015, 11:14pm

>6 EllsieFind:

Should we campaign for Santa Thing in July?

des. 1, 2015, 10:19am

I've a bad habit of buying books as gifts even for people who rarely read. Hey, it's good for them right? I'm enriching their minds, they should be more appreciative! I'm trying to cut back now to just the people who really want them.

I'm always in the market for receiving bookstore gift certificates. Almost nothing beats the guilt-free pleasure of strolling through the store deciding what to spend them on. Like >3 .Monkey.: said above, I'm not about to trust anyone else to pick titles for me. They're bound to get me something I'll feel obligated to read even though I'm not actually interested. For some reason though, I don't get these certificates as often as I'd like. People seem to think "aww, he already has tons of those, I want to get him something different." No! Just, no! Different bad, books good!

My wife points out the other problem, that it's too impersonal, and this year she forced me to list some titles. So I gave her twenty to work with. Within a day she was complaining not a single one of them was in our local bookstore. No, I don't suppose they are. :)

des. 1, 2015, 10:44am

My daughter asked me how she could discover whether I already have the books she is considering getting me for Christmas. Ahem! Check my shelves on LibraryThing, dear! She even has an account here.

des. 1, 2015, 10:56am

The books I have given out of sheer love of them hasn't gone over well with the people who got them, so I've stopped giving books as gifts. Also the ones people have given me are all semi-appropriate, but most of them weren't. It's too hard to gauge taste or figure out what someone really wants or what they've already read or hate. Gift certs may be impersonal, but at least they hit the mark.

des. 1, 2015, 5:28pm

>8 Cecrow: Hahaha, it is good for them, they should read it & love it! XD In an ideal world, I'd totally get books for everyone, or at least gift cards for books. Sadly, too few would be happy with it. I think pretty much everyone knows books are always good for me, at least, no matter how full my shelves are! Lmao. But, there's also the option of anything with ladybugs or monkeys, so people do often take those routes instead. xP

>10 Bookmarque: Indeed, I would much rather give someone money to a place they want to shop, where they can buy that thing they've been eying but didn't want to splurge on, or couldn't afford, or whatever, rather than wasting money on something they're meh about. I mean really, how is it impersonal to care about them getting the thing they want! A little homemade something or cheap extra something (knickknack for a fav sports team or, you know, whatever their interested in) can always be included for a more personal touch, too.

des. 2, 2015, 5:58am

Just checked my favourite bookshelf. Most of the reads thereon are books I bought with money given me as presents. I don't see one book there that someone else bought for me, they're all read-n-gone.

des. 2, 2015, 8:14am

Sometimes there's exceptions, I have to confess. One year I was gifted both Shake Hands with the Devil and Paris 1919, both of which I found fascinating. I think intriguing non-fiction is probably a safer bet than guessing at a novel someone's going to like.

des. 2, 2015, 9:42am

Agreed, non-fic is much less discriminating in that way. As long as it's a topic the person has an interest in/it's written engagingly.

des. 2, 2015, 11:10am

I've discovered over the years that what we enjoy reading is totally subjective. When someone else buys me a book I enjoy it is purely by accident, if I enjoy someone elses recommendation that, too, is pure coincidence. I learned some time ago buying someone else a book as a gift is a mugs game.

Editat: des. 2, 2015, 12:11pm

>15 geneg: Very true. That's why I buy books for others, then sneak off an' keep 'em for myself. *giggle*

ETA: Although, some years back, a friend gave a bunch of us a Tom Sharpe book each together with full instructions to swap around when read until we had consumed the whole series. Worked well.

des. 3, 2015, 10:20pm

I, for one LOVE gifting books.

Of course, the recipient is ME!

Just bought a slew of e-book selections. Wonderful novels by international writers, books by mid-century authors I missed reading when a teen-ager, and some classic oldies I didn't know existed. None costing more than $2.00 USD.

Honestly, I don't know that I've ever been disappointed by any book gift. But then, all my kith and kin, friends and buddies are people of exceptional good taste. Or else, I have absolutely none!

That's the marvelous and adventurous thing about literature -- one gets to "meet" new people as talent or as creations by those talents and discover an endless parade of the next new thing, even if it was published 150 years ago. And painlessly, one can love or disdain their acquaintance with no feelings hurt. It's truly a universe of words out there, too big for any one person to fully explore in a lifetime.

But I'm trying and I intend to die trying!

des. 4, 2015, 7:38am

>17 Limelite: A lovely post! Thank you.

"But I'm trying and I intend to die trying!"

Like so many others, I look at my shelves and know it is a race against time....but a good one. :)
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Editat: des. 4, 2015, 10:23am

>17 Limelite: Limelite: We are truly living inside the Library of Babel.

des. 4, 2015, 10:39am

>19 geneg:, Sir, you have scored 10pts for the Jorge Borges reference. Good show.

des. 10, 2015, 2:09am

Bought a few more books for people at Christmas, although it's mainly charitable donations as gifts.

Mum: getting The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye
Dad: getting Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Diana (26 year old daughter): Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life by Gerald Martin
Aislinn (17 year old daughter): The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
James (23 year old son): 100 Things Packers Fans should Know & Do before they die by Rob Reischel
Will (8 year old nephew): A Treasury of Greek Mythology, although I don't remember who wrote it.

It's easy to wrap presents when they're book-shaped.