Yes, the countdown to my last day of work continues (T-3 days), but instead of the continuing chronicles of my to-do list, today I’m going to write about last night’s pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble for some Christmas shopping.  I say pilgrimage because it seems like I’ve hardly left the house in the past two weeks, much less interacted with actual people in the outside world.  As a Gemini, I am a communicator by nature.  Keeping my mouth in disuse for too long is dangerous.

Perhaps that’s why, when a perfectly nice woman asked me for my opinion about some journals she was buying for a friend’s triplets, I said (after giving her my thoughts):

“Wow – triplet thirteen year-old girls.  I feel sorry for her parents.”

“Yeah, and they also have twins and a singleton.”

“Sheesh, two more and she’ll be Octomom!”  Whereupon, wide-eyed and horrified with myself, I wanted to clap my hands over my big fat mouth.  Luckily, the woman laughed, nodded, thanked me for my help and went on her way.  Whew!

But I digress.  I wanted to write about one of my life’s great passions – books, books, books, books and more books.  Books are my gift of choice for myself and others, especially children.  Whenever a friend or family member has a new baby, they get books from me.  I give books to all my nieces, nephews and younger cousins for holidays and birthdays.  In this day when all things bright and electronic are competing for their attention, it is more important than ever to give kids the opportunity to curl up with a good book. I feel it is my obligation to give them a chance to fall in love with reading.

The kids (other than my own) in my life might find this pretty lame.  I realize they would probably prefer to receive video games, Apple products, movies and such to a mere book.  Many people would argue that you should give the gift that the recipient wants, not what you want them to have.  Yet, I believe the humble book is taken far too much for granted.  Why wouldn’t it be what with whole stores selling nothing but books.  I distinctly remember a time, however, when receiving a book was on the same order of magnitude as getting that year’s “it” toy.

I was as huge of a reader growing up as I am now.  I got almost all of my books from the library (how quaint!).  Why?  There were no bookstores in my hometown.  Amazon.com did not exist.  The Internet did not exist.  (Also, I had to walk barefoot in the snow six miles to school every day – but that’s another story).  Purchasing a book required driving at least an hour in any direction, and since the whole area was buried in snow for six months of the year, that didn’t happen very often.  Thus, opening up a book on Christmas morning was a call for celebration indeed.  I still remember the year I got the whole set of Little House on the Prairie books.  NINE WHOLE BOOKS just for me.  I could read them over and over and over again.  Such a novelty!

Now you can buy a book any old time you want – without even leaving your house.  Physical bookstores even have cafes in them.  They have wireless access, sofas and chairs, pens and paper, newspapers, magazines, movies, music.  The next time I go, I have half a mind to bring a sleeping bag and a cot with me and just set up camp.  Seriously, each time I walk through the doors of a bookstore there is a remnant feeling of not being able to believe my dumb, stupid luck at finding myself among such splendor.

Perhaps it’s impossible to expect today’s children, who’ve grown up with constant and instant access to any and all forms of the written word, to relate to the simple joy of a single book.  Therein is my personal noblesse oblige – to herald that joy to the next generation.  Go forth ye, and read!

Categories: Books, Former Job(s), Holidays · Tags: , ,

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1 Comment

  1. Love this post. I feel (and felt) the same:

    * Getting books for Christmas and birthdays . . . yay!
    * Giving books to nieces and nephews . . . yes!
    * Curling up with a good book . . . aah!

    Sharing our love of reading with the next generation = PRICELESS!

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