It’s the holiday season and you are completely out of gift ideas for your friends, family, and coworkers. You’ve run the gamut when it comes to purchasing clever presents and how you are staring down at a list of possibilities that includes a Shake Weight and PajamaJeans. Then, it strikes you. What about books?? But, are books really the answer to your infomercial infected prayers? Yes. Yes they are. And here is why.
Books are versatile. Both hardcover and paperback versions of this ancient form of storytelling can serve as paperweights, coasters, doorstops, and leveling devices you can stick under table legs to balance things out. Not to mention, if you aren’t hypnotized by what’s going on with The Walking Dead, you can even read these spectacular inventions.
Books can be signed by the author. Let’s face it – the odds of you getting Suzanne Somers to sign the Thighmaster you got from Aunt Helen in 1987 were never that good. But, the chances of being able to get a signed copy of a book are significantly better. Most authors are willing to make arrangements to sign copies of their works and may even have instructions on how to go about it on their websites. Or better yet, look to see if the writer is having a live event near your home and go get your book signed. But, don’t show up a the author’s house to make that request. It’s creepy and your next gift will likely contain a bit of text limiting you to 500 yards of various locations.
Books can be shared. While you may be hesitant to share your new sweater, iPad, or Special Edition DVD collection of Airwolf episodes, books are meant to be shared and discussed. Of course this depends on the book. You may not feel entirely comfortable lending your copy of Fifty Shades of Grey to your teenage sister.
The meaning of a book changes over time. Have you ever re-read a book after not having read it for twenty years? I’ll bet the book had a different impact on you when you were twenty then it did when you turned forty. Maybe you thought Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was profound the first time you read it, but a jumble of thoughts the next. Or perhaps you struggled with Crime and Punishment in college, but marveled at it later in life. That’s the beauty of the written word. The individual letters in the words may not change, but the context alters the readers interpretation of the text. Therefore, books become gifts that adapt to your life.
Books endure. Do you still have that sweater, Thighmaster, blanket, or Betamax player (look that one up if you don’t remember)?
No, you probably don’t. That’s because people don’t make Thighmaster shelves or devote entire buildings to storing old video cassette players. But, we have bookshelves and libraries because we have always needed books. When you give someone a book, you aren’t giving them sheets of paper wedged inside a book jacket. When you give someone a book, you give them a piece of the collection of all human knowledge. You are giving that person a small piece of eternity. That is the gift that keeps on giving.
J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.
Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in 2017!
An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.
In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered. When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.
And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology