Friday, December 22, 2006

Surreptitious Holiday Reading

I'm back in my hometown to spend Christmas with my family. I've had only sporadic internet access since I arrived which accounts for the recent dearth of posts here. I've been doing plenty of reading though, zigzagging my way through a bewildering array of books. You see, I've been frantically attempting to finish all the books that I'm gifting to friends and family before handing them over on the 25th. Thus what I'm reading when depends entirely on who happens to be wandering about the house at the time. Does anyone else engage in such surreptitious holiday reading? Or do you feel that books that you give as gifts ought to be handed over in pristine, never-been-opened condition? I'm rather shameless about it, the surreptitiousness having to do with not wanting people to know in advance what book they're getting, not with concealing my pre-reading of them. After all, it's common practice in my family. I'm quite sure that even as I'm reading their books, other members of my family are busily reading the ones that they've bought for me. Besides, I feel honour bound to have read the books I gift in advance to make sure that they are indeed good ones that I'm quite sure the intended recipient will enjoy.

I promise a full report once I'm back at my own computer on who gave who what book and how they went over...

11 comments:

jenclair said...

Oh, I'm definitely a surreptitious reader of gift books. Once, in a garden book for my father, I made little notes all through it! The books for children simply cannot be resisted - besides, you are going to have to read many of them to the child and preparation never hurts. A gift of a book should be a gift of a shared experience, don't you think? Merry Christmas, Kate!

Cam said...

A few years ago, I was awake until 4 in the morning on Christmas Eve. Was I wrapping presents? No, I was reading Jon Stewart's America (The Book) before I wrapped it. If I had had younger children in the house, they would have thought that Santa's elves were laughing loudly as they placed the presents under the tree! That's the only time I surreptitiously read a gift book. Usually I just slide the opened present towards my stack & then try to read it if the recepient doesn't get to it quickly enough. I like your practice though -- probably doesn't generate the 'I thought you bought it for me' comments that my method does.

patricia said...

Heh heh heh...now I don't feel so bad! Yes, I've done it in the past, but not so much recently. I'm terrified of damaging the book in any way, and thus revealing my 'crime'. My husband thinks it's very bad form, reading someone else's book before they have got to it, sort of on par with wearing a sweater that you plan on giving someone else for Christmas. Me, I don't think it's soooo bad...but part of me does still feel a tad guilty.

I actually considered doing it this year because one of the books I bought for my mom is a collection of John Allemang's 'Poetic Justice' poems that are printed in the Globe and Mail. Really wanted to go through that book, but figure I'll just borrow it from Mom when I get a chance.

Merry Christmas, btw, and happy reading!

Danielle said...

I'm all for reading before giving. You must check it out beforehand, right, to make sure it is a perfect fit for the recipient. Unfortunately this year I waited to long to buy my book gifts. I can always borrow, though! :) Happy Holidays to you!

MLight said...

Interesting. I don't usually give books that I haven't already read - whether they're for adults or children. The one exception is my older son who usually has a Christmas list filled with books. By the time I get them, I don't have time to read all of them! Besides, they'll still be around for me to borrow.

MLight said...

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Brandon said...

I hope you and your family have a great holiday.

sassymonkey said...

Merry Christmas Kate!

SFP said...

Happy holidays, Kate. Now that my kids are older I can give them books that I wouldn't mind reading myself once they're done. I'm not organized enough to get to them before I give them away.

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

hehe a fun tradition in your family! Hope you holiday is filled with even more wonderful bookishness!

lucette said...

I'm the only I know who does this, so it's nice to fing that I'm not alone. I'm a firm believer in trying out gift books--at least once I found I'd made a mistake in a book I bought for my father, a history of WW2 which turned out to be very badly written.
I love the picture of your family all over the house, prereading each other's gift books!