Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Librarian's Christmas

Of everybody at the family Christmas this year, I, the librarian, got the fewest books. Why this happened is pretty obvious after some thought: while wandering around the bookstore, everybody was picking up things they thought I might like and then putting them back down, afraid I might already have read them.

How easy it is to buy books for somebody is a function of not just how well you know them, but also how much they read. If a friend doesn't read, then it's easy: don't buy them books. If a friend reads a middling amount, and one knows them reasonably well, then it's also easy: buy them something that meshes well with their known reading habits, and they probably haven't already read it, but will like it.

For the voracious and broadly read reader, even her partner may have problems buying books. Of course, if you buy the voracious reader a book she's already read, then it's just a very bulky gift card, since it's easy enough to return the book and exchange it for something else, but it would be better to just buy something suitable.

In general, I'm not a big fan of "wish lists". At some level, I like the idea of finding something that the recipient will like, but didn't know about, or didn't ask for. But for certain people this can be difficult. Of course, there's also the problem of alerting one's friends and family to the existence of the wish list, which just feels tacky. So, while I do have an Amazon(.ca) wish list, nobody knew about it.

I guess I just have to start buying stuff for myself.


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