Thursday, December 16, 2010
Just How Do You Buy Books as a Gift for Someone?
Like many families, mine does a Christmas gift exchange where each of draws the name of another family member. This year I drew my cousin John. Now John is the youngest of our 13 cousins and even though he’s now in his upper-20s, I still know him as that little annoying kid of a cousin from podunk Oklahoma. Never mind that he’s grown into a man with multiple piercings, a genius IQ, and a college degree who’s spent the last few years hanging out in Japan. Since I haven’t really spent much time around him in over 10 years I don’t know John as an adult. So, just what kind of gift am I to give him?
My family is made up of a bunch of readers. Nearly all of us read a lot and many within the SFF genre (this is where I was first introduced to the Wheel of Time). So books are the obvious gift. But, what books? A gift card is certainly the easy way out – my time is limited and valuable and it sure is easy to allow John to pick out his own gift (and I get to avoid lines at the post office). While practical, a gift card is boring and unexciting, though it still remains my default mode. My wife suggested that I actually buy him a couple of actual books – what a novel idea.
After thinking on it, I became quite excited by the idea. After all, I’m a big important blogger, of course I know what books would make good gifts. But I really don’t know John well – he’s all growed up now. So, just what books would I get a single, highly intelligent young man who (hopefully) enjoys SFF fiction but very likely falls on the eclectic side?
I decided to stick with fantasy (it’s what I know best), but I went with books that tend to be non-traditional, intelligent (even literary), and a bit dark and serious while maintaining an entertaining feel. Or at least that’s what I started with. In the end, I picked these three:
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (Book Depository, Powell’s Books, Indiebound)
I sure hope John likes them.
So, how do you think I did?