“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a book and he’ll teach himself how to fish.”
…isn’t that how the saying goes? No? Oh, well. Close enough.
You’ve recommended books to friends and book buddies before, right? Being a bookish lot, we are all likely to partake in gushing about beloved books and ranting about reads that didn’t resonate. Heck, it’s sort of what the book blogging community is all about.
Buying books for other people, however, seems to be a whole other ballgame. I must admit that I absolutely love giving books (or even magazine subscriptions) as presents; if I even suspect you’re a casual reader, I’m getting you a book for a birthday/Christmas/random day present. This means my friends and family members that like to read are some of my favorite people to gift shop for. It’s so fun getting to contribute to something that can become an opportunity to connect through a shared pastime. It’s also comforting to know that a friend/family member can appreciate the magic and entertainment that a book can bring. Not to mention the fun of getting to do what you do anyway: check out books.
Of course, buying for a person who loves to read can also be a curse if that individual is a voracious and prolific reader…because they’ll likely have read anything you get for ‘em. ^_^ Case in point–I recently went book shopping for a family friend, one who reads widely and has done so all his life (which is now past 60 years). Knowing that he likes history, I got an interesting yet obscure-ish title, confident he couldn’t possibly have read the book. WRONG. Not only had he read the book, it was also one of his favorites. D’oh!
That, my friends, is why Goodreads is great. Why Amazon wishlists are fabulous. Failing those, it’s all about old-fashioned asking around for good material. Or just getting a gift card. ^_^
There are some people in my life that I know will not touch a book to save their lives. Obviously, they are exempt from the “auto-book” rule…mostly. In such cases, oversized clothing or loads of extra socks is the way to go. ^_^ And even then, I’ll never give up the quest to find “the book” that transcends reading tendencies. (I’ve found that humorous books are a good way to go with many friends. The book 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, by The Oatmeal, is a good go-to choice for people who “don’t like to read.”) In my opinion, everyone likes to read–some people just don’t realize it. ^_^
So, do tell. Do you gift books often? For whom? When you do, how do you determine what to get for the gift recipient? Do you like being the recipient of books as gifts, or do you prefer to buy your own reads?