I love to give other people books. Even when they don’t want them, I love to impart my favorite tomes on unsuspecting friends and family. We’ve been dating for a year, future husband? Here, have a book on learning sign language! It’s your birthday, 10 year old cousin? I know you’d love this autographed copy of Fever 1793. Mother’s Day? Father’s Day? My prime book giving holidays! Here Mom/Dad/Grandma–take this book that expresses how I feel about you so that I don’t have to say it and cry! My (twin) sister and I have even given each other a book on every birthday (or Christmas since we have a late December birthday) since we were in elementary school and old enough to buy each other little presents. (If you were wondering, this year she gave me Finishing the Hat, Sondheim’s memoir. I have her a new nook cover and a book about running).
But this year, as I perused my local Barnes and Noble for predictably last minute Mother’s Day gifts and a birthday gift for my husband, I realized that I could no longer fall back on my old standby. I simply couldn’t buy these people gifts. My mother has an e-reader which has changed her life. For years, she refused to read hard cover books unless she was at the beach or at home because she hated lugging them on the bus (my mother doesn’t drive, so she always needs a book on her commute). Now she can read anything, regardless of how long and heavy the book might be. My husband and I actually got my mother-in-law a nook for Mother’s Day this year (so I guess we got her a book?) because she travels to her condo in Florida a lot and it’s easier than lugging several books on the plane (preach!). My husband has a nook. I thought about getting him a gift card for the nook, but we share an account and it’s VERY likely that I’d use the gift card before he did. Did I mention I have a book buying problem?
So e-books, while I love them and what they’ve done for me, have ruined my fall back gift. Which is a shame, because sometimes I find books I think my e-book reading family members would love. I know my mother would love Dick Van Dyke’s recent autobiography. Can I buy it for her? Only if I get her a Sony gift card. And I’m kind of sad about this. Because while I love that I know people who like reading enough to even purchase (or inherit or like as a gift) an e-reader, I wish I could continue giving the gift of books I think my friends and family would love. It’s one thing to recommend them–that’s something I do all the time (see this blog)–but I like giving people books that mean something to me and that I hope will mean something to them.
So, three days away from Mother’s Day and five days away from my husband’s birthday, I am completely stumped for gift ideas. Thanks a lot, e-books. Thanks a lot.