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The Loaded Bookshelf

I'm an Editor in book publishing. All opinions are my own.

Currently reading

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt
American Rust
Philipp Meyer
The First Rumpole Omnibus
John Mortimer

Gifted Books

Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage - Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, Annette Lawrence Drew

No no, I don't mean books with special abilities, but rather those received as gifts. 


I don't like them.


Which is a tough thing, because when you love books, and everybody knows you love books, a book seems like it should be an ideal gift, right?  I don't know about y'all, but I DREAD receiving books as gifts unless they were specifically requested.  This was especially true when I was a child and had particularly picky taste, but even to this day I just don't like it.  Receiving a gifted book feels like an obligation to move that book up in my reading pile, despite the fact that I have hundreds (not a hypberbole) of unread books lying around my home and office.  And I'd feel terrible if I didn't like a gifted book!


There is an exception to every rule, though.  My Dear Fiance, a former Navy submariner, got me Blind Man's Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drewearly into our dating relationship.  He was a little worried about the gift, wondering if it's bad form to buy a book for someone who works in book publishing.  Despite my normal attitude toward book gifts, I was touched by this one because 1) I liked the guy and 2) it was on a topic I knew nothing about but which was something of an area of expertise for him, and he wanted to share it with me.  I delved right into it and wasn't disappointed.  The book is a totally fascinating account of submarine espionage during the Cold War -- think The Hunt for Red October but, you know, real.  For anybody who is a history buff, or just likes narrative history with strong storytelling, I'd highly recommend this account.  And I had a great time discussing it with the DF.


How do you feel about books as gifts?