Many years ago, when my boyfriend and I had just begun our relationship we discussed the idea of a standing commitment to gift books to each other. There were two primary factors which drove us to this compromise, one is that there are too many gifting expectations in today’s society and it is both difficult and expensive to purchase gifts for all of these holidays and the second is that we both enjoy reading and were eager to add new books to our collections.
Before we agreed on the book tradition, we celebrated 5 holidays with gifts (birthday(s), anniversary, valentine’s day, and Christmas/Hannukah). We try to come up with creative gifts for each of these but it is exceedingly difficult and it is often expensive given that we are young and living on a small budget. I suggested we pick one of these occasions and establish a tradition of gifting each other books, and we picked our anniversary, mostly because it is near New Year’s which is a time when we often go shopping for new books to read.
Originally, I suggested we each gift each other the best book we had read the previous year. In reality, this doesn’t always work because we seldom enjoy reading the same books and I read a significantly larger number of books in a year than he does. This year we each just purchased a book we thought the other would like.
We share a kindle account which makes gifting and sharing books both easier and harder. On the one hand, its easier because he has access to any books I am reading that might interest him (and vice versa) we have access to more books since we share. We also coordinate our Amazon FirstReads choices. On the other hand, we can instantly see any book the other one buys. I opted to get him a paperback so as not to ruin the surprise and he opted to buy me a kindle book which he bought that day.
So what did we get?
I got him Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World By Jane McGonigal. I had previously heard Jane’s TedTalks about Gamification, and I wanted to get a book about Gamification for my boyfriend since he is super into playing games. He had a more difficult time finding me a book. He got me a book about spiritual activism, but I ended up not liking it, so we returned it. Next, he was going to get me a copy of the Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, but I already own it. Finally, he settled on Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf. This is a book which I had expressed interest in during our most recent trip to the bookstore.
I think our book tradition is really special and easily to replicate. Is this something that you plan on adopting? Leave a comment and let me know!