Any regular readers here will know how I feel about Xmas and pretty much any other religious festival. Or any religion for that matter. But I do try to enter into the spirit of a small part of Xmas, that being the whole hanging out with family and sharing gifts thing. Of course, that’s actually nothing to do with the Christ Mass that the holiday is based upon, but the Christians only stole the Roman Sol Invictus festival anyway, so it’s all bollocks. My point is, at this time of year we try to get together with loved ones and share gifts and food. That’s a good thing.
I don’t have much in the way of family these days, but I have my in-laws, who are all very nice people to be around, and I have friends that are as close, if not closer, than family. Catching up with these people and having a big feed, spending time together, sharing gifts, it’s all very important and enjoyable stuff. I always hope that during this time some of the stuff I get will be books. And it usually is. As far as I’m concerned, there are few better gifts than a book. I’m sure I could think of some things I’d rather have than a book, but this is not the place to explore my fantasties – you can read my novels for that.
I also plan to give away a lot of books this year. I dig giving people a book as a gift that I know, or at least suspect very strongly, that they’ll really like. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the current ebook revolution is that we won’t have so many solid books to wrap up in silly paper and hand over as presents. Regardless, in the meantime, I’ll still be giving a lot of books as gifts this Xmas.
Which brings me to another point. I’ve decided to start giving books away all the time. I’m basically starting a new policy as from this Xmas. If anyone asks me if they can borrow any particular book from now on, I’m not going to lend it to them. I’m going to give it to them. If it’s a special book, a rare or limited edition, or a signed copy or something like that, then I’ll say no, they can’t borrow it. If it’s just a book that anyone can still buy off the shelf, I’ll give it to them. If I really like it, I’ll get myself another one, or look out for it in secondhand bookstores.
Now, don’t immediately think to abuse my new found book philanthropy and start asking me for books left, right and centre. This is something that will happen naturally. Someone sees a book in my house, expresses an interest, asks if they can borrow it and I’ll say, “Here, have it.” I think that’ll make everyone involved feel good and the book goes on to do its thing for more people instead of just sitting on a shelf.
Try it. You might like it.