Although 2009 is off to a less than rousing literary success since I never got my Christmas Reading Week, I think things will get better for my Birthday Reading Week coming up in oh, about FIVE months. The reason? I've already finished my Wishbook for my birthday!!!
I have a mere 87 books on the list, which I promise not to buy between the time I officially release my wishbook and my birthday, a period of eight weeks. Takes a lot of will power, but it works for the purpose of getting lots to read and very few duplicates. Not NO duplicates, just a few. I'm hoping the new isolation method this year (nobody gets ANY common list) will mean a perfectly unique set of reading material. I've got a story later this month about the THREE copies of one book I got at Christmas, which should make Brett Battles happy.
At any rate, looking at the 24 main selections for the mid-year happiness that is my birthday, I see 13 new writers to me and eight books in various series that I am following. The Spellman, Stephanie Plum, Atticus Kodiak, Cape Weathers, Kop and The Retrieval Artist series will fulfill my quota of detective novels. The latter two are also Science Fiction as is the youth series Skybreaker. Finally, there is the welcome news of another Oregon Files book.
I'm quite excited about the new authors I will be trying. There are some excellent reviews for the list of new-to-me writers.
What I do is copy book covers to a list, a UNIQUE list that I give each of the various chapters of my extended family. On that list are six books I consider the jewels of their list, plus a further 12-24 to serve as extra options in case the books I want are unavailable for whatever reason. Rarely, it's a case of being sold out. Sometimes, the book is off the beaten path enough that the store they go to doesn't carry it. And occasionally, I get publication dates wrong and the book hasn't been published yet. In the case of one of the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, I was wrong by a YEAR AND A HALF. A full 18 months, three wishlists, before it actually came out. Ultimately, it was worth the wait though [G].
Far from taking the suspense out of birthdays and Christmases, the list ensures gifts that I will be happy with, provides a solution to the problem of getting something for somebody who has everything he wants otherwise, and provides for SOME mystery as to WHICH books I do end up getting.
I have always included a series of knick knack gifts at all price-points, from less than a buck to more than $200, because I've always enjoyed the look on a gift-giver's faces when they see how happy I am when I open something that is ON my list, even if it's only a package of sugar-less gum. It's something I honestly treasure (and I chew a LOT, thus the ever-present notation on my wishlist). My smile almost always translates into smiles on THEIR faces. Win-win.
Readers can be a chore to buy for. When I was younger, I once got 11 books for Christmas. I had seven of them already and had read an eighth. For a LONG time, I got no more books at Christmas. It was other stuff and gift certificates. I've always hated gift certificates, even though they are given with only the purest of intentions. Despite that, I've given gift certificates on occasion. And I hated it, then, too. It seems to me that certificates are less useful than money, while at the same time, being less work than going to the store and finding that right gift yourself. It's almost the admittal of defeat in what SHOULD be a fun game of getting that something special for a loved one.
Of course, I'm famous for shopping year round. I have had Angela's Christmas books this year, stored away for two years. My gift closet is ALWAYS full!
On the other hand, I'm a chore to buy for. When people go off my list, they take risks. Sometimes they hit the sweet spot. Most times not. But I DO appreciate the effort each time.
But I'd still like them to stick to my list. Hint, Hint, Hint!