Come take a voyage into classic literature to find out
6. While you wish they did, they just don’t like the books you like.
How can they read submarine action, bosom-heaving bodice rippers and stories of moody vampires, when there are better books? So we decide, out of the kindness of our hearts, to intervene and correct their taste. But it’s probably less a matter of exposure than one of opinion. We all think our own taste is best (it’s our taste, after all), but people like what they like, and more power to ‘em. I don’t care if you’re reading for entertainment, education or escapism – just keep reading! It’s a better bet to give them something they’ll actually like, rather than trying to convert them.
7. They’re a gadget person.
Even if you know their tastes, and they’ve been a reader all their life, it’s no guarantee. How into gadgetry and devices are they? E-readers are now common enough that some people get all their books in file form, and might not know how to handle a real book anymore. But if you’re lucky, they might pronounce it ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’, and read it for irony’s sake. Perhaps while listening to music on vinyl.
8. They’ve become a minimalist.
Some people go through phases where they feel like “all my stuff owns ME!” and try to get rid of stuff. At this point in their lives, they’re probably using library cards (or again, electronic reading devices) to keep possessions to a minimum. Still, I suppose there’s no reason not to give them a book – once they read it, they might give it back!
9. They’re in college.
While your student may love reading more than food, sleep and water combined, giving a book as a gift to someone with a full course load can be a cruelty. You’re reminding them they won’t have time to read anything but textbooks, notes and dissertations for long, dark months and even years. Better to just give them a fist full of cash or some food more nutritious than noodles. Although perhaps it’s kind to remind them the world can be a beautiful place where reading is a choice. The book could sit on their shelf like a beacon of hope, boosting their spirits to make that final push to the end.
10. You haven’t researched the book properly.
You know that Great-Aunt Geraldine loves gardening and home décor, so you hastily buy her Flowers in the Attic. Or your nephew takes an interest in the Beat Generation, so you thoughtfully pick him up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Ooh…so close. Gifts can sometimes be needed quickly, and books are such highly personal items that ensuring you know the book properly is important. Otherwise, Great-Aunt Geraldine might never stop screaming.
…And if you’ve read the above list, and feel safe that none of the scenarios apply, by all means proceed. The list is largely tongue-in-cheek anyway, and books often make the best gifts of all, if chosen with love and wisdom. And for every book I’ve gifted that tanked like a lead balloon, I’ve given at least 10 that have been met with pleasure, delight, and genuine excitement. Not a bad way to stay on someone’s Christmas card list. I’ve included a selection of books that I’ve given as gifts that were a big hit with the recipient – maybe you’ll get an idea that works for the booklover in your life, too.