Are Books on Your List?

imbuyingbooks_buttonMy Friend Amy, of BBAW fame, is starting a movement– yes, an actual movement!  She wants to get everyone to buy books for holiday gifts this year, for everyone on their list, due to a downturn in the publishing industry.  

Her heart is in the right place because, as she says, the news from the book world isn’t pretty.  To quote Amy, “I feel like everyday I’m hearing about plummeting profits, massive lay-offs, book stores and libraries (!!) closing. We are living in dark and difficult book times.”

I mostly agree with her, but I’m not sure if the news is so bad for reading or if the industry is undergoing a huge shift.  With people doing much of their reading online, newspapers and other publications are forced to downsize their book review sections.  It doesn’t mean people aren’t reading books, just that they’re getting their information from other sources.  If brick and mortar book stores are closing, that signifies a shift in the way people are shopping, not necessarily a downturn in reading.  Maybe the movement should be,  “Buy books for holiday gifts from independent book stores”, because these little gems are getting gobbled up by the giants in the industry.

We book bloggers do our part in promoting reading and telling the world about books we love (and others we don’t).  And book club organizers also promote reading- in an informal survey of my own book club, just being in a book club has increased the number of books the members read by about 300% last year!  But are we book buyers?  Do we buy books for others or do we just blab about them?

To be honest, I don’t tend to give books as gifts.  Unless I know a friend’s taste really well, it seems a bit presumptuous of me to assume I know what they’d like.  Even if you’re 100% certain of the person’s taste in books, how do you know they haven’t already read the book you’ve carefully wrapped up to give them?  I’ve lent books to friends thinking they would love the books, and frequently they get returned to me unread.  Plus, my holiday gift list includes several non readers.  What to do about them?  Amy says that because books are so diverse, there is bound to be a book for every single person on your list.  Well, Amy has not met my husband!  He doesn’t do books!  Yes, I married a non-reader!  Giving him a book would be like him giving me a lawnmower- it just wouldn’t make any sense.  We also buy for many out-of-town relatives, and we book bloggers all know how expensive shipping can be.  

worldpeace4-300x196My solution is to give bookstore gift cards, when appropriate (that still wouldn’t work for my husband but it does solve the shipping issue).  I’ve also recently discovered these adorable bookcharm/bookmarks from Bookcharming.com.  They are floss-type bookmarks.  Wouldn’t they make great gifts for book club members?  This one called Peace and Unity is my favorite.

So what about you.  Will you be giving books this holiday season?  Book accessories?  Gift cards?  Take the poll and let me know!

‘Cruise the Web in Style’ Prize Package for Car Lovers

Is your honey crazy for Corvettes?  Does your dad drive a Mustang?  Here’s a gift I bet you haven’t seen anywhere else for the car enthusiast on your holiday shopping list (or maybe you’d like to keep it for yourself)!

Road Mice, Inc. has come out with a wireless computer mouse that is so cool- it’ll have you humming Mustang Sally or Little Red Corvette at your desk.  The headlights even light up as you cruise the web!  They have several makes and models to choose from (check out their website for a 360 degree view of these little gadgets) but have offered either a Mustang or a Corvette to one lucky Books on the Brain reader.  To make it a little more ‘bookish’, I’m adding one of the following books: The Complete Book of Mustang- Every Model Since 1964 1/2 or Corvette Masterpieces to go along with it!  

Leave a comment by Oct. 28th with a car related memory- maybe something about your first car, or your first time behind the wheel, or a Friday night at a drive in movie, or a road trip during college!  Or tell us about something you’ve seen someone do while driving that maybe they shouldn’t have been doing (putting on makeup, or ???)  Let us know if you’d prefer the Mustang prize package or the Corvette prize package.  We’ll let the boys from Road Mice pick the winner.  Good luck!

Amazon and Chase Visa Team Up and Discount the Kindle

 

Put a bow on it, Santa!

Put a bow on it, Santa!

Are you ready to do a little early Christmas shopping?  NO??  Me neither.  But- if you’ve thought about getting one of those new-fangled reading gadgets, The Kindle, a.k.a The iPod of the Book World, now may be a good time.  

To promote its new rewards Visa credit card, Amazon is offering $100 off the Kindle now through September 8th, so you have to hurry.

“Amazon.com’s revolutionary wireless reading device now has more than 160,000 books plus top newspapers and blogs available and is more affordable than ever with this limited time offer from Chase,” says an e-mail Amazon recently sent to its associate partners.

The Kindle sells for $359 — making the savings a 28 percent discount.

Says Amazon on its Kindle site, “Thanks to Chase, you get $100 off Kindle when you get the new Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card. Limited time only.”

Amazon answers questions about the program here.

Chase has a page dedicated to the new Amazon Visa card here.

Guest Blogger: Trish on The Worst Gift Ever

Our guest blogger today is Trish from Hey, Lady! Trish loves to read and has one of the biggest TBR piles around. She’s a blogger who writes about her nightmares and tries to work them out in the light of day. She also writes about books, and we’ve bonded over that!

Trish has been engaged since April 2007 and will be getting married this June. In the interest of anonymity, she chose not to write about this on her own blog, for fear her future in-laws might come across it, so I asked her to write about it here. She talks about an interesting gift she received for Christmas from her future sister in law. Imagine the thank you card!

 Worst Gift Ever

I hate to say it, but I think I received the Worst Gift Ever for Christmas.

As far as I can tell, it all started back in November when I decided it would be nice to have my fiance’s family go in on a Playstation 3 with me for my fiance. I emailed my Future Husband (FH)’s sister about this, being very clear that if they already had something in mind, to please stick with that. This is the response I received:

“I appreciate your effort in trying to please your man. I had some ideas / purchases made that can be modified, but I do want to keep things simple. As you know it gets a little crazy in our family with the holidays and gifts. Please don’t feel that we need gifts ([her husband] and I) and for that matter the kids are pretty well stocked. I do understand that it is fun to buy things especially when you find something that is just “perfect” for that individual. [My daughter’s] wooden dress-up doll [that you bought for her] was a hit. So while it’s not much, you can put me down as contributing $25, it’s that or another shirt. In the past shirts were always a great idea because he hated to shop and kinda needed help in the clothing department. Now you can provide whatever assistance is needed. So anyways that’s that, I’m not anticipating us getting together over the holidays but I’ll talk to you down the road. Take care.”

I talked to my FH about his sister hinting that we didn’t need to buy them gifts, and he said, no, that’s silly. What we ended up doing is giving everyone in the family a couple of framed pictures that we hand picked from our engagement photos. When we exchanged gifts a week or two before Christmas, I was very grateful that I hadn’t taken her seriously because she had a gift bag that had 2 average sized packages and 5 smaller ones (which ended up being stocking stuffer type stuff).

Christmas rolls around and it’s just me and my FH. On the gift bag is a tag that has a short little poem that reads, “Something to keep you busy and something to keep [FH] clean. Ha ha ha….” I open the first gift and it’s a toilet brush. Huh. Okay…on to the next gift. It’s kind of soft and I can’t even imagine what it could be. My FH’s sister has always been very nice, and while the toilet brush is odd, I did need one. But this next gift, surely it’s better than a toilet brush! As I unwrap the paper, I can’t believe what I’m seeing. A 4-pack of toilet paper?? Yup, that’s what I got for Christmas. A toilet brush and a 4-pack of toilet paper. For some reason I’m not laughing.

After some phone calls, I’m reminded that I registered for the toilet brush at Bed Bath & Beyond. Well, okay. I don’t think I anticipated receiving the toilet brush for Christmas…. But what normal person would give toilet paper as a gift for Christmas? I certainly don’t expect an expensive gift, but buying something cheap (when you have money) and not putting any thought into it makes me angry. I would have been happier with a nice Christmas card just telling me what’s going on with them where they live and they look forward to the wedding blah blah blah. At least a card shows some thought. A gift card to Starbucks or a box of See’s candy would have taken less effort than coming up with the idea of giving me TP and actually going to the store to buy it.

To justify herself even more, she says the toilet paper (she told this to her brother, my FH, because even he thought the gift was bizarre) had a Christmas design on it. NO, it didn’t. It had pink flowers with green leaves.

Feel free to weigh in. I’ve been told I’ve brought this on myself for registering for the toilet brush, though I think the toilet paper took the “joke” a little too far. If you’re going to do a gag gift like that, then you need to be there when the person opens it, so that you can say, “Haha! Isn’t that funny! I thought you would think it’s funny because…” or, if you’re not going to be together for Christmas (our situation), then you need to call the person up to ensure there’s no misunderstanding. A joke is only really funny when both people are in on the joke. If the punchline was in there somewhere, I missed it.

What have I learned from this? That next year I will be excruciatingly clear that All I Want For Christmas is a Border’s Card (I’ve got my two front teeth, thank you very much, and toilet paper to boot). Now that I’m in on the joke, could I perhaps buy her deodorant or whitening toothpaste or a book on how to control your out-of-control children? It’s all in fun, right?

 *** Trish would love to have comments on this. Was the “gift” meant to be funny, or hostile? Is she being an overly sensitive bride-to-be? Should she talk with her future sister in law, or laugh it off? What’s your take on it?

Helping Kids Think Globally with Beatrice’s Goat

Goats, pigs, bunnies, chicks, a yak and a llama greeted us at church last week. This could only mean one thing.. it was the highly anticipated Heifer Sunday.

The kids collected change for 3 weeks. They couldn’t wait to see how much money their friends brought to Sunday School in their ark coin banks. Each Sunday School class counted up their nickels, dimes and dollars, pooled their resources, and decided on what to buy: things like honeybees or a share of a water buffalo for impoverished families in other parts of the world. They chatted excitedly, looking over the animals, and discussing the merits of sheep vs. chickens. Which would be better? Which would cost more? How could they get the most for their money?

Heifer International is a nonprofit organization working to end world hunger and poverty through gifts of farm animals and training. Over the past 60 years, Heifer has helped 4.5 million people striving for self reliance in 128 countries, including the United States.

The idea is simple. Instead of providing hungry families with a temporary source of food, Heifer provides a living animal. A family’s health and standard of living is greatly improved by what the animal can provide. Heifer also turns recipients into donors, by asking that an offspring of the first animal be given to someone else. This program lifts up whole communities.

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In this season of giving, I want the kids to think of others and not just themselves. I want to show my kids how their gifts can change lives. To that end, I bought a beautiful picture book called Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier. Written for 4-8 year olds, Beatrice’s Goat simply but powerfully tells the true story of a 9 year old Ugandan girl whose family receives a goat through Heifer International. She names her Mugisa (“Luck”). Mugisa gives birth to twins, who will eventually be sold. Mugisa’s sweet milk makes Beatrice’s family healthier, and there is enough left over to sell at market. Pretty soon, the family has enough money for Beatrice’s dream to come true. She gets to attend school.

Beatrice received her goat in 1991. Click HERE to see what her life is like now.

What do you want for Christmas? Is a water buffalo on your list? Maybe you already have everything you need, and all you could ask for is Peace on Earth and an end to world hunger. You must check out Heifer’s gift catalog. It just might have exactly what you’re looking for.