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December 21, 2008

Shannon McKenna Schmidt: Bad Habits in Book Buying

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It isn't always easy to find the perfect Christmas present for a loved one. Today's guest blogger, Shannon McKenna Schmidt --- co-author of the literary travel guide NOVEL DESTINATIONS --- reveals her secret to holiday gift giving, which sometimes benefits her just as much as the recipient.

I have a bad habit. When buying books to give as holiday gifts, I sometimes keep myself in mind --- like the time I bought 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE for my husband. After all, we're traveling to the same places, right? I'm doing part of our trip planning, so it's only fair I get to "borrow" it to see what Patricia Schultz recommends. Plus I work from home, so I can peruse it while he's at the office.

Last Christmas I gave my sister Deanna Raybourn's SILENT IN THE GRAVE, the first book in a series set in Victorian England featuring amateur sleuth Lady Julia Grey. I had already read an advance copy of SILENT IN THE GRAVE, and I bought my sister a fresh, new edition. I thought she would love the book --- the characters, the setting, the mystery, the hint of romance --- and luckily she did.

But there was a second part to the present: a gift certificate to a local bookstore. I made her promise that with it she would buy SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY, the second book in the series, which was being published the following month. She did indeed get SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY and, as I had hoped, graciously and unsuspectingly asked if I wanted to borrow it when she was done. (It's still on my shelf. I should probably give it back.)

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, I have to figure out what I. . .I mean they. . .want for Christmas this year.

Join us tomorrow, as Joni Rendon shares some of her misadventures in the kitchen.