"What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The 'gift aura?'"
I thought about this question for a few minutes and realized two things... First, it's been a while since I received a book as a gift; and second, I haven't received that many books as gifts over the years.
Although I have received some lighter-fluff books as gifts in the last few years most have not remained in my library. There are, however, two books that I received as gifts in the last 10+ years that I have kept and treasured. And they are:
Middlemarch by George Elliot, which was a gift from my husband the Christmas after we were married. I love having a classic in hardback, it just feels more authentic. This book remains one of my all-time favorite classics. My husband used to be a great reader, though work doesn't allow for much of it these days. Still, he appreciates my passion for books and is always willing to hear my thoughts or retelling of a funny or interesting story.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which was a gift from a very dear friend when we were both 17. Pride and Prejudice is my number one favorite classic. The copy I have is hardback with a picture of the actor and actress from BBC's film adaptation on the dust jacket. At the time my friend and I joked how she looked a lot like Jennifer Ehle. I think it's in her eyes... She has fine eyes. Whenever I pick up this book I not only remember how much I love the story, but I remember the fun adventures and hours spent with my friend. Sadly we've lost touch, but I still remember what a great friend she was at that time in my life.
I was surprised when I realized how few books have been obtained as gifts. Apparently if I want a book I don't wait around, I either borrow it from the library or go out and buy it. Books make great gifts, but they are a personal gift and unless you know someones taste, they can be a risky gift.
(P.S. I did not include "hand-me-down" books in this post because I was sticking strictly to books given as gifts (i.e. birthday, Christmas, etc.) -- but I suppose even hand-me-down books should count. In that case, I just received a huge box...)
What about you? What memorable book(s) have you received as a gift?