Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Gift of Books

I love to give books as gifts. I love to take the time to think about the person I am buying for and consider what he or she would enjoy most. And I love to receive a book from someone, imagining that person spending time thinking about me. The book chosen is often an indicator of the intimacy of the relationship--how well do you know each other? I take pride in being able to choose a book the person will love, but I'm sure I have failed from time to time. How do I know? The person who didn't like the book usually never mentions it after the initial "thank you." At least that's my protocol. Like the time several years ago I received a Mary Higgins Clark book. I am not a mystery reader. I know Higgins Clark is supposed to be good, but the only mysteries I intentionally read are by P.D. James. I never read the Higgins Clark book. I think I don't even own it anymore. After I thanked the giver I never mentioned it again. Now, when I give a book, I do not prompt the one I gave it to to tell me if she has read it, or what she thought about it if she did read it. I figure if the person wants to tell me she will. So when the person who gave me the Higgins Clark book asked me several months later if I had read it and liked it, I was taken aback. My response was so intelligent too, "Uhh." I was rightly accused of not reading the book. Caught, I admitted that I had not had the chance to read it. I did not say that I chose not to read it. The other person, thankfully, did not catch on, and simply told me I should read it soon because it was really good. I told her I would try, but that was a lie. She never asked me about it again. Maybe she figured it out after all.