There is no gift I love and cherish more than a book. I have received lovely jewelry, fun and useful electronics, even cash money - they are wonderful gifts that I appreciate and enjoy. But the only gift that makes my heart constrict and rejoice is a book. If it's a book that I've never heard of, I get excited to see what it's about and, more importantly, why I think the person gave it to me. If it's a book I've wanted, I delight in the feeling of being known and having an apt book selected for me.
Looking through my shelves, I smile when I think about the different memories gifted books represent. I remember that Bess gave me What Would Barbra Do? because I thought it would be a step too far to indulge that level of musical love. I remember that Maria gave me The Borgias and Their Enemies because we had been talking about what a history geek I am. I have dozens of C.S. Lewis books that my mom dutifully sought out for me from Christmas lists of yore. My Aunt Renda has given me so many interesting books about C.S., faith, etc. over the years that I sometimes lose track and then am delighted when I see her inscription in one that I pick up.
I received a book from my rector this week - he sent it to our congregation as we're in the midst of this season of change. There's been a lot of uncertainty and trust kicking in over these last weeks and I have been repeatedly drawn to praise the Lord for the wisdom of our leaders. They have been gracious and hopeful at every turn, where my impulse would be bitterness and despair. Their example has been not only an inspiration but a comfort to us all. But when that book came - it was literally like getting a big bear hug from all of them. I know people talk about love languages and their different forms when they talk about relationships. As I felt the wave of comfort and relaxation come over me when I opened that lovely little package, I realized that my love language might be books.
Has anyone ever given you a book you loved? Or hated?