I had my Christmas list whittled to a fine point. My dad was getting new shoes (or rather multiple relatives are each buying a share of his shoes, which he selected and purchased...I just have to pay him back and wrap them); my brother was getting a gift card to a home improvement store (he's restoring a Victorian town house...the home improvement store is like a second home to him); my brother's girlfriend was getting foodie gifts of marinades since she loves cooking; and my mom was getting Crabtree & Evelyn hand creme that she'd tried and loved while we were on a shopping trip to Manchester.
There was just one problem with this list. None of those gifts are books.
The first to succumb was the gift to my mom. She has a cherished cookbook that has been so well-used that it needs to be kept in a plastic bag wrapped with rubber bands, to keep the bits of broken pages from falling out and getting lost. About half the index has fallen to the ravages of time. But she refuses to get a replacement, since she declares the recipes were changed for the worse when the cookbook was revised in the '50s. I managed to find a copy of the 1949 edition in almost-new condition, complete with dustcover! I never even knew it originally had a dustcover. :-) It was surprisingly affordable for an antique cookbook in such good shape. Oh, well, the hand creme was bought on sale... and I know she'll *love* this.
Then I saw a book written by my dad's favorite financial pundit. With coupons, the price came down to $10. I'll just adjust everyone else's gifts up by the same amount, to keep things fair.
Hey, with that extra $10, I can get a literary food book for my brother's girlfriend. Wow. An awful lot of people have written about their adventures in cooking and eating. Still, she was saying at Thanksgiving how this is one of the only types of books she reads. She'll love it.
And now I see that there's a new novel out in a series that my brother got hooked on from the PBS miniseries. I'll just wait for the next coupon to take effect, and that'll be down to around $10, too.
Every year, this happens. Every year, people tell me, "I don't want a book." Every year, I start out with the best of intentions, trying to find the perfect non-book gift for them. ... And every year, I end up breaking down, and buying books for everyone.
And every year, I'm thrilled to find a package beneath the tree with my name on it, that contains a new book for me to read.