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