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December 15, 2008

Adrienne Barbeau: Books for Christmas

Posted by admin

While books often make the perfect gift, sometimes we just aren't so lucky when it comes to the titles we're given. Today's guest blogger, Adrienne Barbeau --- author of VAMPYRES OF HOLLYWOOD --- shares a couple of downers she's received over the years, and reminisces about the touching present she received after a particularly tough year.

I started this piece with the sentence "I love getting books for Christmas" and realized immediately I couldn't go any further because that isn't the truth. I don't love getting books for Christmas.

If I get a book for Christmas, I have an obligation to read it. I know the friend who gave it to me is just waiting for me to say how much I loved it. And she's probably given it to me because she loved it, so she knows what it's all about and she's going to ask specific questions and she'll know in a flash if I'm faking my answers. So I've got to read it. And I've found, over the years, there are a lot of books that my friends love, that I don't have any interest in. Like the year I got the book on fly fishing. And the year someone gave me a bestseller that was so depressing, I wanted to crawl in a hole when I finished.

I can read two pages of a book and know if I'm going to love it or not. If I'm not, I put it back on the shelf. If I get a book for Christmas, I can't do that. So what I'd really rather have is a gift certificate to my favorite bookstore. That's the best gift I can imagine (well, other than a trip to anywhere outside the continental U.S.).

And that's the gift my mother gave me every Christmas for the last ten years of her life.

Every November, I'd stop shopping at my local bookstore, except to check out the new titles from my favorite authors, because I knew, come December 25th, I'd have a gift certificate to buy all the books I wanted.

My mom died in May of 2001. That year my sister gave me a gift certificate for my local bookstore. It was the best gift I've ever received.

Tomorrow, Susan Meissner shares with us a childhood favorite read that she still, to this day, considers to be an old and dear friend.