The Risky Gift of Books : the Morning After

We had a pre-Christmas bash last Sunday to exchange gifts with the girls… My choosing books as gifts was a rather hit-and-miss experience. See for yourself: 

The Wilkie Collins was welcomed with a “Great! I didn’t read anything by this author, but I love this collection.” And me proudly smiling from ear to ear. 

The risk-adverse novel was also enthusiastically welcomed, much to my surprise. While my friend was obviously surprised to receive a book (she’s not exactly the bookish type), it seemed a pleasant surprise (or she fakes it very well). I pointed out that the writer was the same as a popular movie spin-off, and she had seen it and liked it. A good point for me too. 

The two other choices weren’t as lucky though. They were met with a kind of “what the heck is that?” blank stares. And both friends effusively thanked me for the set of bath salts and hand crèmes that I had given them as well. Should I try and make a subtle allusion to the books next time I’ll talk to them? Or just forget it totally and write “books” off the list of possible future gifts for them? 

The lesson of the day seems to be: don’t force books on your non-bookish friends, or stick to safe, popular novels as close as possible to their tastes. Yes, maybe Christmas is not the right time to nudge people out of their comfort zone and into new (literary) interests. This rather confirms my pessimistic opinion that it’s very difficult to discuss books with your real-life friends  (except of course if you met them at the library or at a book conference). This makes book-blogs and bookish blog-friends all the more precious to me.

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4 thoughts on “The Risky Gift of Books : the Morning After

  1. I whole-heartedly agree! I have VERY few friends with whom I can discuss books, and I am so thankful I found the blogging world for that very reason!
    Chin up. You tried to give a thoughtful gift – you did a GOOD thing.

  2. Well, good that the two people liked the books and too bad for the others — they are missing something great! I have some friends to discuss books with but not enough, so I’m so very grateful for blog friends too

  3. I agree with Dorothy, too bad for the others. I do find giving books to non-bookish people always a big risk. I always hope they’ll read it and develop some lifelong love of reading but I know that most often they just think I’m a little strange for my literary enthusiasm 🙂

  4. Well it sounds like it was at least partially successful and that’s something. For the two that weren’t so pleased with books, maybe they will give them a go sometime during the year and everyone will be surprised. Don’t write them off yet!

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