I am a HUGE fan of giving books as gifts. I believe sharing your favorite book, as well as favorite song, is the same as baring your soul to another person. Books have always been a portal to another world, time, dimension, life, a world of opportunity, the ability to live a thousand lives all from your favorite chair, or wherever you find time to dabble in a good page turner.
The love of books can start early, it can start, fizzle out then come back stronger than ever, or it can hit later on. Sometimes, it might not hit at all. And that’s ok, more books and stories for the rest of us. I remember my mother still reading my bedtime stories even after I had learned to read. It didn’t matter if we were too big to sit on her lap, she kept on reading to us. It wouldn’t be for years later I was told my mother had a very hard time reading as a child, she struggled in school, but my mother was pretty stubborn. I had finally understood why she was so fierce about her children just trying their best and finishing school. My brother was the smartest of the three of us, my sister and I had to try a little harder, but all of us we equally intelligent, we had our own areas to shine. Now, I can’t speak for my brother now a days, but I do remember all of us reading quite a bit growing up. We each had our own areas of literature we enjoyed more than others. Now a days, my sister is still reading, I believe my brother still reads but his might be textbooks, have to stay on top of saving people lives, as for me, hell yes I’m still reading. It just takes me forever to read a book like it always has, but I still love books. My sister recently sent me a book in the mail, best day ever! My aunt also sends me books when she’s cleaning out her house, another awesome day is when those boxes show up. For the record, I will gladly take books off of anyone’s hands, just not crazy gross books, I respect books and treat them with care.
It is a terrifying ordeal when you have a child, and you hope with all your might that they, too, will enjoy books just as much as you do. My son is a toss up, he loves books but if given the choice he will play outside. I can’t complain, only on road trips when he says he’s bored and I tell him too read a book and he gets annoyed because it’s boring. His reading has improved and I think he’s starting to like it more as time passes. The great part that helped seal the deal was a gift from my aunt. Because when you have an aunt who loves to support and encourage(all of my aunts are this way) the little minds you crated, you let them. Somehow, my amazing, off the wall gift giving aunt found Book Passage, a book store in the San Francisco Bay Area that offers a book club. My son has received a different book for the past year. As his year on the list comes to an end, he is asking for it again for Christmas, I can’t help but sings Book Passage’s praises. Every month, my little man has opened a different size, type, topic, and portal that has come his way. His favorites, so far, are the young Star Wars comics and chapter books, the Dog Man series, and the “really cool bone book!” An interactive book that is attached to pages, when you flip through the pages the different layers of the human body go with the page, pointing out the different parts and functions. Better than any anatomy books I had seen before.
Even my bonus daughter wants in on the action and she will be fourteen next spring. My niece and nephew are on the list and they are extremely satisfied with the program as well. As soon as you are singed up, they call you, they can talk to you or the child and they discuss what kind of books they like, or topics that are interesting to them, or what books they already own, and then the excitement begins. The bonus beauty of everything, if you already own the book, send it back and a new one will be on the way! And you can call anytime with questions or requests, they really are a lovely company to communicate and work with. Truly a wonderful and thoughtful company. No complaints from us, my little dude is in heaven and deeply in love with the program, and still can’t get enough of books.
I believe this program helped him find his love of reading. I know everything starts at home, but it can only do so much and go so far. Having a surprise every month waiting for him in the mail was amazing. Every book comes in a padded envelope or box, another layer of bubble wrap is on the outside, and snuggled inside is a beautifully wrapped book with a hand written message. Simply awesome. So sweet and professional.
I’m sure there are other book clubs out there, some most likely more local than this particular one, but Book Passage will hear nothing but wonderful reviews from this house.
I will always answer the same way, what do you want for a gift? Simple, and easy, books. Keep giving me books, keep taking me to the bookstore, let me wander the aisles, let me flip the pages, let me see the books from my childhood, let me share these pages, allow me to get lost in the smell and sounds of the glorious printed odyssey we refer to as books.
Books can never go out of style for gift giving. Take a cue from Iceland, they release a catalogue of every new book printed and people start going crazy with excitement. They call it the “Yule Book Flood” or jólabókaflóð. All because back during WWII, imports were restricted, paper was cheap, but the population living in Iceland wasn’t large enough to sustain the Icelandic publishing industry all year-round, but could publish like crazy towards the end of the year. So by time standards, the tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve followed by spending the rest of the night reading is relatively new, and if I may say so myself, just a splendid idea. Especially, if research proves to be true, since I’ve seen it on more than one source, they take a little snack of chocolate with them to accompany the new adventure. I might have to start my own little tradition in my house.
The gift of a book is a wonderful thing, I’m not telling you other gifts are not great or up to par, but just a simple collection of words, printed on paper, bound by glue, and presented with pride of the story that lives among the pages could all that you need to share a little joy. Books work for all ages, cover al sorts of topics, tell all types of tales, but they always seem to leave a little something behind, a mark or impression. The books and stories that really move us, empower us, give us the ability to see the world through new eyes continue to ripple through time. Touching lives along the way, changing the course only if need be, influencing others to be understanding and patient, be real or fantasy, absolute nonsense or total competence, books can change you. Books will change you.
You can never go wrong with books, just be respectful and try not to damage the pages or spine. No one likes a book with pages falling out.
Keep giving the gift of books, keep reading to your children, keep giving the suspense of a new adventure.