Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do You Have a System?

Pretty much every person I exchange gifts with during the holidays is getting at least one book. At least. (The only exception is my friend's little boy who is getting an awesome dress-up train engineer costume. I figure there are plenty of books in their house already since I've been giving his sisters books since they were young.)

When I come across reviews of picture books my little niece and nephew might enjoy, I make a note and then check out those books closer to birthdays and holidays. For the older kids I know, I look back at the MG and YA books I read. This is a little harder because I mostly read "dark" YA and that's not really their thing. I usually get them each a gift card to a bookstore and put it with one book I read that I think they might like, usually a classic, like the first Little House Book, or an award winner, something they might not have picked on their own. 

During the year, whenever I read a book I think someone might like, I jot down the title. It's usually no problem to find a book for my sister and my aunt since we tend to lean toward similar stories. My mother is a little harder because she tends to like "lighter" books but I usually have a few go-to authors for those. My husband guides the choices for my Dad since they like a lot of the same things. I would have to say my brother-in-law is the toughest to buy for, only because he likes more literary novels and I don't read as much of them as I probably should.  

Some recent/previous hits included:

* Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell. My sister is a big fan of historical fiction and she really enjoyed it.
* The Help by Kathryn Stockett. My mother is loving this. I actually gave it to her ages ago but she's just getting to it now.
* City of Thieves by David Benioff. My brother-in-law liked this one so much, he went and read Benioff's other novel.

Do you all have a system for giving books as gifts? Anyone have recommendations for any of the people on my list? Or for me to read? You know I'm always open to suggestions...even if my to-read list is almost as long as Stephen King's newest novel.


  1. For my sisters we all ready have similar tastes, but I often ask them what books that they want so I can look out for them and get it for them. Have them make you a list of their top ten books and pick from the list, and then it's still a surprise!

  2. I recommend the book Between by Jessica Warman for teenagers.

    Bless this Mouse by Lois Lowry is a lovely book for kids and middle-grade students.

  3. I happen to think books are great gifts although maybe not all of my family would agree. We stopped doing gift exchanges since so many of us have to spend so much on traveling or aren't working. Maybe we should just start exchanging things we already own.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Lee, that's not a bad idea! If everyone you would exchange with is on board, why not? :)

  5. I don't really have a system. But I think the key for me is knowing what people like and what book would give that to them :)

  6. Makes sense, Angela. What makes me crazy is when I have a book that I really enjoyed but I can't think of anyone else who would enjoy it the way I did. :)

  7. Oh, it's so hard to know other people's tastes in books--and with folks who are big readers, NOT to give 'em a book they've already read!

    BUT, I think it's a GREAT idea to give kids books, start 'em on a road to lifelong reading. And kids will read a book they like over and over and over again. Whereas adults...

    I usually give older adults reference books. I used to give my mother-in-law cookbooks from different places I'd visited. My dad has a gazillion birdfeeders, so I've given him some bird field guides. And I'll give spiritual books to my mom and other friends, because we don't often buy those books for ourselves, or pick them up from a library.

    And now that my kids are WAY beyond picture books, I'll pick them up something funny. Zombies are big and always a hoot in the Hall house. ;-)

    (P.S. Happy book shopping!)

  8. Cathy, isn't it funny how kids re-read books but adults rarely do? And what cracks me up is when I'm finished reading a book to my niece or my nephew, they usually want me to read that same book again right away or a little while later! :)