You would think, wouldn’t you, that if you’re working in publishing, and surrounded by books, manuscripts and other people’s words, that you just don’t need anyone to be giving you books for presents at Christmas. That you just don’t need any more books, full stop.
But no. That’s just not how it works. I know this sounds ridiculous, coming from someone who works in publishing – which means in effect having constant access to a stream of fabulous free books – but one of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was a Readings gift voucher. It was honestly one of the best, most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever been given, and the day I went in to choose my books, I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. The freedom! The choice! The luxury!
True book people are always greedy for more. There’s no such thing as ‘too many’ books for them. So, if you’re thinking of giving books as presents this Christmas – give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve chosen well. And there are SO many riches to choose from.
We were talking this afternoon in a meeting about how special it is to receive a well-chosen book as a present. There’s something about the way it says ‘I see you. I know you. I’m thinking of you.’ In some ways, books as gifts are both expressions of love and also singular insights into who we are – or might be, or want to be.
Lara, one of our Non-Fiction Campaign Managers, told us about how her brother had, years ago, given her Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood – she’d not read Murakami before, and yet she completely loved it, and he went on to become one of her favourite authors – and because of Murakami, she went on to become a different kind of reader, as well.
Kate Leaver, the author of The Friendship Cure (which is, by the way, a totally brilliant book coming out in April 2018 and you will love it – warm, witty, engaging – the sort of book that, after you read it, makes you feel about 100% cleverer – about how friendship is the cure for most of the maladies of the modern world) will always remember how her mother once tracked down and gave her a vintage copy of a children’s picture book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig, which Kate had loved so much when she was a child. It was such a touching, thoughtful gesture of love, care and consideration.
So, give a book to someone you love for Christmas. They will love you for it. And there’s honestly something out there for everyone: If you want moving, authentic, brave memoirs, there’s Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man or Detours by Tim Rogers. If you want history, consider the fabulous Victoria, by Julia Baird, or Caroline Chisholm, a lively biography of Australia’s first feminist, from Sarah Goldman. If you’re into sport, you might want to check out Under the Southern Cross, by Andrew Ramsey, a history of the Ashes in Australia. But if literary fiction is more your thing, consider the beautiful and intriguing Mrs M, by Luke Slattery, based on the life of Elizabeth Macquarie. Or if you’re into cooking, there’s the new Donna Hay or Nigel Slater. Do I need to go on? Just go into your local bookstore – support your local industry – and be inspired by all the brilliant books on offer. Merry Christmas!
Posted on December 21, 2017 by Andrea
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