Monday, December 27, 2010

Giving The Gift Of Books

My Big Sis once said to me, "We'll always find room for the kids' books.  More toys?  Yeah, not so much."  When it comes to giving gifts, I've taken this statement to heart.  My niece and nephew have plenty of toys to play with.  Oodles.  More than they probably need.  Which means their "boring Aunt Wendy" (they don't call me that - it's my own self-deprecation) tends to give the gift of books for holidays and birthdays.  My niece is even at the age where she prefers gift cards because "I like to pick out my own books Aunt Wendy."

Don't we all sweetie.  Don't we all.

As the librarian of the family, it's a little shocking to some that I never seem to get books as gifts.  The reason for this is quite simple.  You know that Giant TBR Mountain Range I sometimes mention here on the blog?  Uh yeah.  My family knows about it too.  Most of them have even seen it with their own eyes.  So needless to say, Wendy no get books as gifts.  Which is fine.  Because dang, I'm at the point where even I think I don't need anymore books (I know, the horrors!)

But when it comes to gifting others?  Books can be grand.  Here's what I put under the Christmas tree(s) this year for the family.  A fairly eclectic mix!

The Last Boy: Mickle Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy - I got my Dad hooked on audiobooks several years back when he had a job that required a lengthy commute.  He has since moved on from the job, but not from audiobooks.  He mostly likes non-fiction and biographies, so for the last several Christmases I try to pick up something that was well-received/well-reviewed.  Hence, this warts-and-all Mickey Mantle bio.  Dad is a Baby Boomer, so naturally grew up a huge Mantle fan.  Dad's no dummy, and is well-aware that Mantle wasn't always the nicest, most well-adjusted, or decent human being - but heck, all that stuff can only mean interesting listening, right?  He loved the Yogi Berra bio I got him for his birthday last year.  Hopefully this one will be equally as enjoyable.

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness - And a Trove of Letters - Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup - There's one in every family.  That person who is impossible to shop for.  In my family, it's my mother.  I was clueless this year (as usual) when my Lil' Sis mentioned that Mom was intrigued by this book when the story was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.  Originally an op-ed piece in the New York Times, it's about the author's grandfather who took out an ad in the Canton, Ohio newspaper in 1933 anonymously promising 75 needy families money if they wrote letters describing their hardships.  The author not only unearths secrets from his grandfather's past, but also connects with families who benefited from his generosity.

Who's Hiding? series

DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book by Matthew Reinhart - Big Sis married a Comic Book Geek.  Naturally, his love of superheroes is getting passed down to both children.  I saw this pop-up book at Costco, and thought it was so cool that I had to get it for the kids.  Although, admittedly, I was wondering at the time if I was really purchasing it for my brother-in-law.  No matter.  Something the whole family will have fun looking at.  And because I'm the best auntie in the whole wide world?  Not only did my Big Sis' kids get these two neat-o books to share, they each got their own Barnes & Noble gift cards.  Because, you know, I didn't want to deprive my niece the pleasure of picking out her own books.

So, what books did you give or receive as holiday gifts this year?  Call me nosy.


Lynne Connolly said...

My son bought me Aleksandr Orlov's "A Simples Life." Other than that, I got alcohol and chocolate and perfume. I'm not complaining.

Liza said...

I gave out the Twilight series to my two oldest nieces(1 needed the first 2 books, 1 needed the last book). Youngest niece got about 50 I can read books. She loved books like her "Yaya", so I feed her addiction. :) I also gave my oldest niece my old ereader since I got my kindle in Oct. Of course, it was loaded with about 200 books.

Anonymous said...

I gave Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind to my partner; also a book called Wheels to Disaster about one of his favorite Victorian train wrecks. I gave Tessa Dare's Stud Club series to one daughter and Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel to the other, while I gave my daughter-in-law Black Ships by Jo Graham. For my sons, I bought Conn Iggulden's Genghis trilogy and the first books in Ray Fiest's Riftwar saga. My nephew got Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, and my sister and mother got Kindle and Nook gift cards, because I can't keep track of what they have read. They read like me, voraciously.

Phyl said...

I heard a lengthy interview with Jane Leavy back in October when the Mantle bio was released. I have this in my own TBR and I think this will be a great read, especially in the dead of winter while I wait for Spring Training to start. I hope your dad likes it.

Marie-Thérèse said...

I rarely get books as gifts since people have no idea which books to buy me (I own thousands of books and continue to buy more) but this year I set up a public Amazon wishlist and helpfully included books on it. I was thrilled to receive three of my choices: The Schubert Song Companion by John Reed, True Deceiver by Tove Jansson and A Dictionary of Japanese Food: Ingredients & Cul​ture by Richard Hosking. I'm definitely doing this wishlist thing again!

I also gave a book to an amateur mixologist friend: Luscious Liqueurs: 50 Recipes for Sublime and Spirited Infusions to Sip and Savor by A. J. Rathbun. I'm hoping to enjoy the fruits of his reading in the new year ;-)

Anonymous said...

I give out books (that I have aleady read) that I want others to love. Terrible, I know. Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke, Nora Roberts' Bridal Quartet are some of the books I've given. Kindle ebook gift giving is so much fun. With one click, I've given someone a book in an instant.


Leslie said...

I gave my mom Billy Graham's Hope for Each Day journal and Debbie Macomber's One Simple Act.

For my nephew, the latest Wimpy Kid book.

My teen daughter got manga, gift cards & a really beautiful sketch book.

My middle got a Tron book. Sadly, he doesn't like to read. :(

My youngest asked for Star Wars - The Visual Dictionary so I got him that and a Prince of Persia book.

For myself, a bunch of e-books. :)

Elizabeth said...

I gave each of my cousins (there are 6 of them ranging from 8 months to 9) a book and a game. They were actually way more excited than I thought they would be...I'm the boring librarian cousin. :)

I got a Nook for Christmas which I love (other than the fact that the servers crashed on Christmas AND the day after...) and several B&N gift cards to go shopping with.

Is it bad that I've already spent them all??

Wendy said...

Lynne: Chocolate and alcohol are always good gifts :)

Liza: That's one booktastic holiday you guys had at your house! Wowzers!

SonomaLass: Wow - excellent choices! Especially the gift cards ;)

Phyl: I think he will. He idolized Mantle as a kid, but as an adult harbors no illusions about the man's personal character/life.

Marie: Oooh, a cocktail recipe book! Those are always loads of fun!

Vi: Yeah, I know several Kindle users who went a little crazy when that gifting feature was implemented. I think that's such a great idea - sharing books you loved with others.

Leslie: I've picked up a lot of those visual dictionaries and EyeWitness books over the years. They're great for kids, especially relunctant readers. Lots of great pictures and graphics coupled with informative text.

Elizabeth: I swear everyone got an e-reader for Christmas! Our own servers here at work have been overloading with people trying to download our ebook collection. Guess what types of phone calls/e-mails I've been fielding for the last two days? LOL ::whimper::

Lynn Spencer said...

I haven't gotten any actual books for Christmas this year, but I did get Amazon giftcards and....a Kindle! That was pretty fantastic. Now I just have to figure out what to buy for my Kindle.

Kelly in Hockeytown said...

My family/friends NEVER buy me books because they have no idea what I need, want, etc. I do get gift cards, which works for me. :)

The only book gift I gave this year was to my 10-year old nephew and it was the latest in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.

Kate R said...

I'm trying to buy myself the latest Carla Kelly book, but it's not out for Kindle yet.

BuT while I was over there shopping I noticed this: what looks like a Carla Kelly WESTERN!

This looks like a late Xmas present for you.

Kate R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

Kate: Well that is interesting. The little blurb on Amazon set off my "inspirational spidey sense" so I did a quick search on the publisher. They're an LDS publisher. Which then made me wonder, "The same Carla Kelly?" I think it is. According to a bio I found online, she graduated from BYU - so yeah, a western with Mormon character(s). Intriguing. May have to do a whole blog post about it!

Wendy said...

Lynn: Yippee! Enjoy playing with that shiny new Kindle!

Kelly: Gift cards are always good :)

Marie-Thérèse said...

Wendy, I'm going over to the cocktail book giftee's house on New Year's Eve, so I expect some payback on that gift very soon!