Sunday, December 22, 2013

Books, Forever and Always A Perfect Gift

Year after year, decade after decade, electronic, audio, picture or print, there is nothing so satisfying as a good book. For under thirty bucks you can send someone to another country or another world, on an internal journey with the Buddha, into a sports huddle, to the moon or on a mystery solving adventure in the 1700's. There truly is something for everyone. Teach a kid a love of reading and you have opened up an infinite number of worlds to them for life. Thanks Mom and Dad and Grandmom and Pop Pop, for the red cowboy boots AND the pile of books under the tree every year. My heart still thumps when I see a Billy and Blaze book, when I find an out of print copy of The Bat Poet, when I see The Story of Ferdinand and Make Way for Ducklings still in print. I don't remember any of the cheap toys I no doubt had on my Santa list, pirated directly from the Sears toy catalogue. I spent countless hours perusing that retail marvel. It is a wonder my parents didn't toss the damn thing out when it arrived in the mail. But the books I remember. The days spent outside in play with Martha and Chris and the other neighborhood kids, making snowmen and forts, sledding and having snowball fights. Kids could have a secret life back then. One rarely needed to watch them and all was well as long as they showed up by dark or dinner time. The evenings on holiday, bundled into a new "Grandma made" flannel nightgown with a warm coverlet, plump pillows, a big dog or a purring cat, a good reading light and a new book ready to instantly transport us somewhere else. It was heaven on earth even though I didn't know it then.

So every year I gift myself with a book, something special for the holidays. To honor those memories and to give me a plausible excuse to be buying something other than a literary tome of "great importance". This year we're going to Paris with Hudson, a little Norwich Terrier.

 We're even going to learn a few words in French.

 At 55 I am still as charmed and excited over picture book as I was at 5.

To those who still are shopping, pass by the plastic gadget of the moment, buy a book to delight every time the cover is opened. And one (or two!), for yourself of course.
There is magic within.

Parting shot: What do you think Jack, maybe a walk to Terabithia today?


  1. I too love picture books. After all, the child is still alive :)
    Merry Christmas!

  2. I, too, am a reader. I think because my parents encouraged it, and it was a way for me, as an introvert, to get by. I had lots of fun outside with my friends (playing fort, football, "horse", etc. - I was a tomboy), but many times, I just wanted to kick back and go somewhere else. Books are an inexpensive way to travel!

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. One is never lonely when they have a good book to read. We both love to read and spend hours together each in our own little world. I wish you and your family a wonderful peaceful Christmas.

  4. My treasured books were Nancy Drew... If Santa left a few of those I'd devour them till the end.Even by flashlight beneath the blankets at night.
    I think Jack is content to go anywhere as long as it is not outside.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2014.
    Susan x

  5. So glad I'm not the only adult who loves childrens books. When my son was little I was a library clerk and was so excited when new kids books arrived told myself for my son but as much for me.

  6. Hurray for "real" books! I'm looking at those delightful pages you're sharing and can't help but imagine my own almost 3 year old granddaughter sitting on the coach with it, pointing and pictures and making up her own words. For all it's convenience, somehow a hunk of plastic isn't the same, LOL

  7. Leigh, yes and congrats again on your real book about life on a sustainable homestead! I strongly recommend Hudson although there are more books out there for kids than there ever was.

    Lily, I would have to say half my bookshelf space is devoted to children's books. I think some of the best accessible artwork done today is in the illustrations for kids books.

    Susan, and don't forget the Hardy Boys! My Grandmother had a set of ND at her house although I think some of my favorite reading at that time was collections of short stories and any books from the Margarite Henry/Wesley Dennis collaboration.

    Donna W. Yes, as a kid we loved to lose ourselves in a book, as an adult we do the same but then recommend it along. And a Merry one to you and yours too!

    Laura, I wasn't a terrible introvert, but I was an only child and that means a lot of alone time by its very nature. Being sent to my room when I was naughty as never really much punishment. I had gobs of company. In fact I just needed to pick a book. ;)

    Rhonda, and they have such a beautiful variety these days. Books about everything for kids, and the young at heart.

  8. Books are my favorite thing to purchase for myself at the holidays. I made my pilgrimage to B&N the other day and there were plenty of people buying real live books! Yay!

    I would never have survived my childhood with younger brothers without a book and sewing. One of the saddest things to me as a kid was to hear my mother say "get your nose out of that book and go do something..."

  9. Books are the best gifts!! The one you've picked looks fun.

    Wishing you and all the Camp Runamuck creatures a wonderful holiday.

  10. Books...either "real" or ebooks are my best friends at times, and are always with me. Your pick looks wonderfully quirky.