Thursday, November 6, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Books As Gifts

The question of the week from Booking Through Thursday is:

"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?


Anonymous said...

I remember when I got the Tasha Tudor illustrated "A Little Princess" for Christmas. I started reading it that very day! I can't remember if I'd read it yet or not, but I don't think so. I just was excited about the book and illustrations. I was around 10 or so.

Carrie said...

Great answer.

Yes. It's VERY HARD to give books to fast and enthusiastic readers. Still hoping you'll wait around a LITTLE bit . . . ;D

When I was growing up, my family (all readers) made a pact with each other to stop buying books for ourselves sometime during the month of November. This way the family members would have a chance at buying a book that the other person really wanted without them having gotten to it first.

It was a hard promise to make but nice, all the same. ;)

Nathan & Alison said...

I think I’m just the opposite from most of you. I get lots of books as gifts. I love it! Most of the books I get are from my mom, who loves books and loves to give books. She has always given all of her kids books on various holidays/birthdays and is now continuing the tradition with her grandkids. These books have so many memories because she always writes in the front of the book both the date and a message. I gathered the full set of Mandie books this way. While they are young reader fluff, I still look forward to passing down to my daughter someday because of the memories. I also got another stack of books from mom for my birthday this past year. It used to be that it was a safe bet to buy me any good book, now she knows to consult my wish list and already have lists. :-)

Linda said...

Love your blog ... love to talk books!

Honestly, I don't remember getting many books as gifts. Which is unfortunate since it would be such an easy thing for my family. I have even suggested on several occasions that if they are at a loss for a gift idea all they need to do is get me a hardcover copy of any of my favorites that I don't already have in hardcover. This would be any Austen, Steinbeck, Twain or Shakespeare. Simple as that!

I do, however, get a book for each of my kids every year on their birthday and at Christmas.

ibeeeg said...

Jane Eyre was gifted to me by my sister 11 years ago. We watched the Jane Eyre the A&E version in the fall after I had my 3rd baby. She purchased the video and hardcover book for my Christmas gift. I still own and have read the book. It will remain with me.