It’s gift-giving season and we often get books. In a perfect world, where your friends actually paid attention to your likes and what’s on your shelves, a book would be a perfect gift. But we don’t live in a perfect world. I get books about or by black women from gay men because I’m a black woman. I get fantasy books from ladies who don’t read because they like the cover and don’t realize that sci-fi and fantasy or two different things even though they’re lumped together in the bookstores. Or even worse, when a friend reads a book they like and insist I must own it too, even though the book sucked according to the rest of the world. The MIL gives us two kinds of food books, dieting/lo cal cooking for two or coffee table books on coffee. Or tea. When we moved out of our old place, instead of tossing books, we left a box full of those books in the apt.
I’d like to say that I’d love a gift card, but when I get one to say Barnes and Noble all I think is, “You know I like to read, you just didn’t want to spend the time to learn what I like to read.” Gift cards…pfffft. That’s a whole other subject, I’m usually not down on them, just when certain people give them.
I understand that reading is personal and my tastes aren’t your tastes. I wouldn’t dream of buying someone a book I liked if I didn’t think they’d enjoy it (or already own it!). But people do it all the time. I like to peruse my friend’s Amazon wishlists. Mainly because many of those lists were created at the beginning of internet time and have never been updated. Take a peek at the list of the person who tries to portray herself as the thinking hipster. She’s got books on Shabby Chic, beauty tips and silly novels. Look at that tough guy, man’s man macho dad, his list is full of board books for the little girl he had 7 years ago. You go and get a good look at your friend’s old Amazon list. You’ll be able to astound them with a gift of a book that they wanted but forgot they wanted. But first, make sure they don’t already have it and forgot they had it.