Buying to give

Second only to my love of buying books for myself, is my love of buying books to give as gifts to friends and family. The upcoming Christmas celebrations are a perfect opportunity to indulge in the latter (and of course to put in a few requests of my own…).

If I’ve done my sums correctly (arithmetic not being my strongest point) there are 20 books all waiting to be wrapped and handed over to new homes. It’s been great fun making choices. Some were easier than others.

My sister is an easy one to buy for – she loves historical fiction so on Christmas morning I hope she’ll be delighted to see C.J Sansom ‘s Winter in Madrid and Heresy, the first of four books by  S.J Parris set in Elizabethan England. I always like to introduce her to a new author so this year it is John Banville with Ancient Lights.

My niece is currently at university studying English literature and history. She doesn’t read books so much as gobble them up which makes it hard to find authors she has never read. This year I went for writers outside the  familiar territory of UK/USA and am introducing her to Mo Yan, the Nobel Literature prize winner from China and her novel Frog;  Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Emile Zola (Therese Racquin). I’m hoping she’ll get the Zola bug as much as I did.

Other purchases include lots of non fiction for my husband (including A.A.Gill and Paul Theroux); some crime for my dad (Belinda Bauer) and a bit of a wild card for my mum with Sarah Walters’s Paying Guests but I think she’ll love Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn.

The hardest one of all has been my nephew. Just what do you get for a seventeen year old who does enjoy reading though doesn’t spend that much time on it. He’s outgrown the YA stuff, was luke warm on Hunger Games and the Stephanie Meyer vampire stuff and isn’t a great lover of science fantasy sagas. I’m going to try him with John Wyndham via The Day of the Trifids and The Midwitch Cuckoos. If anyone has some better ideas please let me know though for the next time…

So how about you all – do you like buying to give as much as I do? And if you do, how do you choose what to give?


About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on December 20, 2015, in Sunday Salon and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I have bought a few books – not everyone I know is as book obsessed as I am – while others are difficult to buy for as they have so many. My sister is getting two books from me – Rachel Joyce’s A Snow Garden &other stories and A Spool of Blue thread my mum is getting an historical novel she asked for – which I can’t remember the title of now. A couple of friends score 5 books between them. I love buying books for people. I am not expecting a huge book haul myself this year – maybe just one or two.

    • i was thinking of the Anne Tyler for my mum but then my sister got in before me. Rachel Joyce had a short story in the Sunday Times last weekend – I don’t know if you saw that. Im not a great lover of short stories but it was nicely done.

  2. Everyone knows that they are getting books from me. I’ve never quite been able to bring myself to buy anything else for people I really care about. If your Mom does enjoy ‘Brooklyn’ then do get her ‘Nora Webster’ next year. It’s even better.

  3. I’ll second Emma’s suggestion of The Sisters Brothers for your nephew. It reminded me of some of the Coen Brothers’ films.

  4. Must admit I rarely buy books for people who read a lot (because I never know what they’ve already read!). However, this year, I have bought two books for my brother – the first is Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting (quirky and will appeal to his love of a good wood pile) and the second is In the All-Night Café by Stuart David – it’s a memoir of the band, Belle and Sebastian’s first years together.

    The only other books I’ve bought this year as gifts are cookbooks – the new Nigella for some of my kids teachers and one that I have trialled myself, Community, which is a book of fancy (and very delicious) salads.

    • Gosh those presents for teachers are more substantial than they were when I was in school. I’ve resisted asking for cookery books this year because i have a cupboard full that I rarely look at. Much easier to just look up the recipe on line

  5. I love to give books – in fact all my family and friends are getting them this year! I always enjoy tailoring my choices to what I know they like and half the fun is seeing pleased faces on Christmas Day!

  6. I love that feeling when you know you’ve found that ‘knock-it-out-of-the-park’ gift. 🙂 I could do that all year!!

    Try R.A. Salvatore. Or anything Neil Gaiman!!

  7. I love to buy books for others too. Guy and I tried to start a Bah Humbook event on our blogs but it didn’t work out. It seems you’d be a great candidate for it.

    For your nephew:
    – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. FANTASTIC
    – Life Before Us by Romain Gary
    – The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

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