Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Warwick's Staff Presents: The Most Memorable Books We've Ever Been Gifted With

Books are fantastic gifts and at one point or another we have all either given or been the recipient of a book as a gift. Sometimes those books are perfect: that fantastic coffee table book you’ve been coveting, but just can’t justify to buying for yourself, or the next book in that series you love, or maybe it’s just a thoughtful little book with just the right message, any way you put it those books mean something. Yet, occasionally those gifts can be the opposite; perhaps a bit silly, or one you have already read, or maybe a book that is just not your cup of tea (to put it politely). With these thoughts in mind, the Warwick’s staff was put to the task or delving through their own book giving/receiving memories to answer the question

“What is the best, oddest, funniest, or most memorable book you have ever received (or given) as a gift?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Adriana, Bookseller: I don't tend to receive books as presents as everyone knows I work in a book store and rightly assumes if I see a book I want, I usually just get it for myself. I do however keep a wishlist of books I want but either can't afford or aren't practical. My husband knows this and for our 10th wedding anniversary snuck a look at my list and bought me Richard Avedon's Woman in the Mirror. Not only are Avedon's photographs beautiful, but he hand-selected each one shortly before his death, which when you look at them now, give them a somewhat otherworldly quality. This book is memorable not just because my husband took the time to pick something I probably wouldn't treat myself to, but the fact that he knew how much I love fashion and photography. The best presents are the ones that are a truly a surprise to get (especially when the present happens to be a book).

Lynn, Office Supplies: My favorite gift book was a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett I received as a child. I read that book so many times, I wore it out.

Janet, Bookseller: Once, I gave a friend the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook, two years later she completely obliviously gave it back to me as a Christmas gift.

Jim, Bookseller: My most memorable book for me AA Milne's Now We Are Six, a birthday present for my sixth birthday. I don't recall getting a book as a present before that time. I'm sure I did, but I vividly recall opening the brown paper, addressed to me, and then the tightly wrapped gift. I received this from my Aunt Phoebe, for whom my sister is named. I have been a fan of Milne ever since and remember reading everything about Christopher and Pooh. My aunt's gift was, literally, a life changer. I became an avid reader, soon having read all of the Travers' Mary Poppins books and Garis' Uncle Wiggily series, classics still available.

Margie, Office Supplies: My most treasured book is my grandmother’s Bible. It had been passed down to my mom, and then to me, after my mom was taken away from us a bit too soon. My grandma made little notations on the sides of its’ pages and when I open it and see her writing emotions overwhelm me followed by a sense of calm, an feeling of closeness to both her and my mother. This book surrounds me with love and kind thoughts towards loved ones who no longer are around—a true treasure.

Barbara, Bookseller: On our first wedding anniversary, I gave my husband a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, and over a glass of wine I read to him: "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."

Sam, Bookseller: When I was in 7th grade, my mom bought me Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar. I had no idea at the time what a huge role the books and subsequent television series would play in my life. Gossip Girl helped turn a mild interest in pop culture into a major passion, leading me to study media in college and becoming one of the inspirations behind, and subjects of, my senior thesis. While I have definitely read books that are better written and have lasted with me long after I've finished them, Gossip Girl is possibly the only one I can credit for pushing me down my current path in life.

Kim, Office Supplies: Weirdest book ever received as a gift, Postsecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God. I received this book as a Christmas gift from my ex-husband the year my daughter was just learning to read. Not only were the confessions and secrets of strangers eerily disturbing to me, but the graphic images would have been shocking to a toddler. This was definitely one of those “hello??” moments in gift receiving!

Phoebe, Office Supplies: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. My daughter Rachel gave me this book. I enjoyed most of the “roadtrip”, but I think Mr. Kerouac started getting burned out.

Alexa, Bookseller: I remember getting Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald from my mom, which she read when she was little. I read it with my mom pretty much every night. Our 1954 first edition is pretty old and tattered now :) kind of cool to get old hand me down books!

Heather, Marketing and Co-op Coordinator: Being the granddaughter of Warwick’s former Book Buyer, meant that I received more books as gifts than I could possibly recount, from beloved copies of Grimm’s Fairy Tales to the complete Anne of Green Gables series, I could always count on my grandma to pick the perfect book for me. Yet it was a book given to me in 1996 that I remember most (it must have stuck in my impressionable teenage mind) was the book Life for Real Dummies: Life for the Totally Clueless. She “claimed” it was for monologue ideas (I was heading toward a degree in theater), but I have my own suspicions about that one.

Now readers, we put the question to you…tell us about books you have received as gifts over the years. We can’t wait to hear your stories.