Thursday, December 18, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

This week there are two prompts posted for Booking Through Thursday and I think both of them are worth a response.

The first prompt is:

Do you give books as gifts?

To everyone? Or only to select people?

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I do enjoy giving books as gifts, but not all those on my Christmas list enjoy reading literature like I do. My son is not a fan of books. He is an audio engineer and his entire life is sound and music. I tend to give him iTunes gift cards. My oldest daughter has started reading more, but I am uncertain of her literary tastes, so I tend to give her cookbooks (we all enjoy cooking). My youngest daughter takes after her mama -- she does like to read, although I think she prefers receiving a gift card and she can select her own books.

How do I feel about receiving books?! I simply cannot imagine a better gift. I love receiving the actual book (although I would never turn away a gift card to Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Half Price). I like the actual book, though - and the more the merrier. I love the feel of the book in my hands. I love to read the back cover and imagine what adventure is waiting for me within the pages. I love having several books from which to choose so that I can read the first chapter of each and then decide which book best fits my particular mood. I love the fact that a book is a gift that keeps on giving. I can read some today - and have more to read tomorrow. There is no more perfect gift for me than a book.

The 2nd prompt for today reads:

What is the best book you ever bought for yourself?

And, why? What made it the best? What made it so special?

Ok - this is an easy questions for me, but the answer may surprise you. The best book I ever bought myself is How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster. This book changed my life - and I mean that sincerely.

I was standing in a VERY long line at Borders on December 20, 2005. I had just finished my first semester teaching British Literature and I was mentally exhausted. I felt so unprepared to teach this class and I felt I was lucky to keep 2 days ahead of the students. As I was waiting in line I noticed this book on one of the endcaps. I knew I had a 20 minute wait ahead of me, so I decided to glance through it while standing in line. By the time I reached the cash register I was so engrossed that I bought the book on the spot (I rarely buy anything spontaneously) and with no coupon (I NEVER buy a book without some sort of discount). I finished the book before nightfall. I re-read the book over break. I took notes on the book. I even developed a lesson plan and handouts to give to my English 4 students on the first day of class. In short, this book opened my eyes to literature and took the fear out of reading the classics. The book helped me realize that great literature is accessible to all --- and the more we read, the more we understand and appreciate the artistic beauty of the written word.

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