Tonight I went into a bookstore, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, for the first time in months. When I say months, I mean it easily could have been January since I last stepped foot or toe inside one. I choose not to because it is rather difficult not to buy a book. I always see one I want and it is usually only pecuniary reasons that stop me (a very good reason, in my book!). I went there in the first place because I have a friend seemingly going through a rough time and, when in doubt (and in general), I give people books as presents. It is my favorite type of present.
The trouble with books as presents, though, is that everyone prefers a different type of book and just because I happen to love it certainly does not mean he or she will. For example, my favorite author is Evelyn Waugh. He is utterly fantastic and witty, writing some of the best satire I've ever read, although he is most famous for "Brideshead Revisited," which Miramax made into a horrible film last summer. I recommend the BBC version with Jeremy Irons. It's long but actually true to the book, unlike the former. I think I've given "Brideshead Revisted" more as a present than any other book, even though "Vile Bodies" and "The Loved One" are my favorite Waugh novels. I ended up no buying him anything simply because I could not make up my mind. One must consider if the recipient will actually enjoy the book and I could not think for the life of me of whether he would or not.
Have no fear, I still bought books! I shouldn't have, but I certainly don't regret my purchases:
"The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene*
"The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage" by Paul Elie*
"The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music" by Ted Libbey (as an end of the summer present for my family's enjoyment.)
...and this is why I avoid bookstores, but not completely :) Any books you think I should read, gentle readers? I am always open to recommendations!
*most excited to read!