How to Succeed at Gifting Books this Holiday Season.

Books make the perfect gift, except when they don’t. Few presents are such a joy for a reader to open as a well-chosen book, but we all know that sinking feeling when a literary gift strikes out. Giving a book can be an emotional minefield, as the books we share are reflections our ourselves, bound up with our own values and sense of self. Rightly or wrongly, it is like giving a piece of yourself. For an amusing consideration of this, check out Jen Adams’ diverting collection The Books They Gave Me, which shares 200 anonymous accounts of literary gifts, and how wonderful and terrible those results can be.

The trick about bookish giving is to try to find something that your recipient will enjoy, rather than something you enjoyed. After all, the gift is for them. As professional book recommenders, we can attest that this is not as easy as it sounds, so this holiday season let your friendly neighborhood librarians lend a hand. Ask your giftee to tell you if they’re read anything especially good lately, or especially bad. It is a great way to get to know them better, so be an avid listener, drawing them out, and take notes about their loves and hates. Then bring them to your local library and share these with a librarian, and let us help you identify something just right for the reader in your life. Or share this information via our Your Next Five Books online recommendation service, and we’ll help you that way, with reading or gifting suggestions for readers of any age.

Come join us at Third Place Books in Seward Park this Thursday, November 30 from 7 – 8 p.m. for Best Books for Holiday Giving, a lively presentation of terrific book gifting ideas for this year’s holiday season from a group of passionate and enthusiastic publishers and librarians. Treat yourself to a signature cocktail from Raconteur, start your holiday shopping in style, and win prizes! (And by prizes, we mean lots of fabulous book giveaways!) Hear about great books and take home lists of fresh titles from librarians and publishers. (We’ll also share some of these suggestions next week here on Shelf Talk). Sign in and invite your friends via Facebook.

See you there!

    – Posted by David W

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