Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post: Gifting Books

 by Joanne from Once Upon A Bookcase


Christmas isn’t too far away now, and I’m one of those people who at least starts thinking about buying Christmas presents quite early – if not buying them. Being such an avid reader, I’m a big fan of giving people books as presents.

Most of the people I buy books for tend to be family members and the odd friend, and more often than not, our reading tastes differ, so half the time I won’t have read the books I’m giving as gifts. But there are a few occasions when I read a gem of a book I know my Mum, Dad or best friend will love. But other times, I’m giving more than just a book. Sometimes, a book will sneak up on me and wow me in ways that take me breath away. I mean it goes beyond having a fantastic plot, awesome characters, and, depending on the genre, great romance/action/twists/cliff-hanger ending.

As well as reading simply because I enjoy it, I’m also an escapist reader; if I have a problem, or I’m not feeling too positive about something, I use reading as a way to put my thoughts aside for a while, an enjoyable distraction. But I don’t expect – even though it’s happened a few times now, I never expect – a book to remind me instead. These books can be about something completely unrelated to what’s going on in my own life, but a certain passage or a certain sentence might as well be printed in bold with multicoloured letters for how much it stands out to me in relation to what’s going on in my life. Each and every time, it knocks me for six.

More often than not, these passages or sentences are about romance – problems between a couple, one character’s thoughts about another, or simple expressing what’s been going on in their heads. In context, it’s romance, but that’s not what it is for me, what it means to me. I think it’s the serious discussions or thoughts that come about when love gets involved that has these books saying something that turns on the light bulb above my head. But it’s not always the romance aspect; it can be anything where the books turn a little more serious, a little heavier.

In context to the story, the passage or sentence doesn’t relate to me at all, but on its own, it’s almost like the book is a mind reader and is dishing out some advice, or just something I need to hear. These books have said the right thing at the right time and boom! My eyes are opened, my perspective changes, or it makes me think. It can completely change the way I was viewing things that are happening in my own life. I can feel a whole lot better about something, or I finally understand exactly why someone has made a certain decision. Or it could even be something that relates to a friend’s life, and suddenly I understand what they’re going through a little better. For that moment, I completely forget about the story, and just re-read those words over and over as things click into place for me. Everything changes. And the epiphany can bring tears to my eyes.


There are a number of books that have caused me to have such insights. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is one of these books; there is a certain part that opened my eyes to the reasons behind the actions of someone I know. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is another, so many different parts of this book spoke to me about so many different things. If I was a believer in such things, I’d be tempted to say it’s my own oracle - like one of those books where you think about something hard enough, open the book to any random page, and it says something relating to what you were thinking. Seriously, it said so many things on so many different levels, it left me reeling.

This change stays with me long after I turn the last page. I’m happier, I feel lighter, I worry less – and I am so unbelievably surprised. I am so wowed I want to tell the world about this book, but not just the world, but those who are someway involved in the not-so-great things the books have helped me with. I give them the book as a present. Now, I know not everyone goes through exactly the same things I do, nor do they think like me or react to things like me. It is actually highly unlikely that the people I gift these books to will have the same reaction to the books I did, that these books will speak to them like they did me, but there is the hope that they will finish those books feeling a little better, a little enlightened, a little less lost.

So when I’m not gifting books for pure entertainment, that’s what I’m giving to people, my hope that they’ll experience a similar feeling of peace.

Thank you, Brodie, for allowing me to guest post on your amazing blog!

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And thank YOU, Jo, for your beautiful post that I feel really speaks to the heart of every reader out there <3

Are there any books that speak to you in the same way the likes of Will Grayson, Will Grayson has with Jo? Do you give books as gifts in hopes of sharing that incredible journey with another?

You can find Jo at: 

20 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, Jo. How you described Will Grayson, Will Grayson? Extraordinary. I, uh, kind of need ot read this, huh?

    This: "So when I’m not gifting books for pure entertainment, that’s what I’m giving to people, my hope that they’ll experience a similar feeling of peace." THIS is extraordinary ♥

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    1. YES! You do need to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson! It's amazing! Because I read it for next year's LGBTQ YA Month, my review isn't going live until July, but my god, there is so much LOVE in it - my review, that is. It's unbelievably good!

      Aww, thanks, Sarah! :)

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    2. Oooooh, I didn't know it had any LGBTQ leanings, I knew about Boy Meets Boy, but!!!!! I will TOTALLY check it out ♥

      And... uh... I can't believe you're holding off until July, but !!!!! JO! CAN'T WAIT!

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  2. Awesome post! I don't gift books all too often but it's definitely something everyone should do.

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  3. Thanks for having me on your blog, Brodie! It was fun and I'm so glad you like it! :)

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  4. pushing the limits wasn't totally my style, but i'm glad it made an impact on you!

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    1. Oh, that's a shame, I loved it! Thanks!

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  5. Ahh, I love this post! It's SO beautifully written and I absolutely have to agree - some books just stick with me because they help me remember and relive a part of MY life, so they're ultra-special that way and I loveee giving those books as gifts, simply because I want to see how others react to the same thing. Sometimes though, I will admit, that I fear giving books simply because I don't want the receiver to hate it, so it can be tough, but so, so wonderful at the same time. Fantastic post, Jo! :D

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    1. Aww, thank you! :D So glad you enjoyed it and got it! :)

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  6. A very lovely guest post! I adore giving books as presents (in my eyes, they're the best kind of gift) and completely agree that it's more than just the book that's being gifted. I want to receiver to be as blown away by that particular books as I was. :)

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    1. Thank you! :) Yes, even if I've just gifted the book for entertainment, I love hearing that people actually enjoyed the story and will be reading more of that author's books! It's a great feeling :)

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  7. This is a really excellent post, Jo! I haven't read either of these books but they're both ones I'm super keen to get my hands on, especially Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which should be coming in at the library any day now...

    I used to not give books as gifts but now I'm pretty sure it's ALL I EVER GIVE. They're an excellent gift! (:
    Again, terrific post!
    Romi.x

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    1. Thank you so much! :D Oh, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is brilliant! I hope you enjoy it when it arrives!

      Unfortunately, not everyone I know reads :( No matter how hard I try to turn them to reading, it just doesn't work, so I'm unable to give everyone books. Sucks.

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  8. What a beautiful and touching post, Jo! I love gifting books to people, especially in Christmas ;) It makes me so happy when they love the book I gifted to them :) AND EEEEE! Pushing the Limits! I LOVED THIS BOOK. I haven't read Will Grayson, Will Grayson but I've read John Green's books and they are AMAZING. Must read it soon!

    Thank you for sharing this awesome post with us, Jo ♥

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  9. What a beautiful post, Jo! I wish I could give books to people. It's always so personal to give a book, so I'm always sad I can't experience that. Nobody around me reads. Therefore, I can never share my favorite books, the ones that touched me. Such a shame, but hey, more loss for the people who resist a good book ;)

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  10. Such a gorgeous post. I've only ever gifted a book to one person, and that's my best friend, because she's one of only two people I know who loves to read. My family are not exactly what you'd call big on reading. I love that a book has the power to make you realise something and that connects you to it so intrinsically. I'm trying to think of any that might have touched me in such a way, but I'm not coming up with anything, which probably means nothing has (though my memory is far from reliable). Thank you for sharing such an amazing post, Jo. :)

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  11. No-one I know really likes reading, so I don't get to gift books often. I have before and the person ended up really enjoying the book, luckily. It was a great feeling, passing on that love for the book to someone else! :)

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