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.