I never knew that gifting books was soControversial. There seem to be a lot of people who fall into the "it's too personal a choice" category and would rather give/get gift cards. I am not one of those people.
I do always get the "But you read so much - and so fast - we don't know if you've already read it" type complaints from my family about buying me books. It's just that... I don't care: Even if I've already read it, that just means you know me really well, because you picked something that I picked for myself. And with Paperback Swap, no book goes to waste... if it's a double, I trade it for something I haven't read yet. So I think they worry needlessly. Because some of my all-time best presents were books: It was Nana who introduced me to Laura Ingalls Wilder and all the adventures in the big woods; one of my aunts that showed me the joys of Ramona Quimby, Age 8; and Grandmother who introduced me to the fabulous queen of romance, Nora Roberts; a friend who suggested I try Julia Quinn's Bridgertons.
But I can understand why some people would choose to shy away from giving books as gifts: Reading is intensly intimate.
I, however constantly find myself thinking of the people in my life as I am reading a book... Sister J is going to love Twilight, I thought as I was reading it, AND SHE SOO DOES: she now claims to be "obsessed to a scary point" with the characters and read more than 2000 pages in less than a week; Because it was the best book on writing I'd ever read, I gave 15 year old Sister K Escaping Out Into The Open for Christmas one year, and she was as enthralled as I was and - like me - she continues to look to it for inspiration.
I tell people that the reason Olivia is so popular is because way back when it first came out, I bought it for Best Friend/College Roommate for Christmas and the other girls in my dorm (a dorm full of education majors, mostly) borrowed it all the next semester & eventually bought their own copies because the kids in their classes loved it so much. I give grown up books to children (appropriate grown up books, watch your dirty minds) because when I was 11 my mother lent me her copy of It and it changed the way I looked at the world and I give children's books to adults because I want them to look at the world differently too.
The point is not what YOU like, exactly, but about what you think THEY'D like. You have to be considerate of their likes/dislikes.
For example, NEVER get anything that's preachy (if you're religious and they're not steer clear of the Christian based romances; if you're a liberal and they're a conservative staying away from I am America & So Can You is probably a good idea), but initiating people into something new is not completely out of line (like graphic novels? Try to find one that works for your recipient's likes, something new but not frightening so).
I don't understand people who don't like reading... it seems impossible to me. Usually, I tell them they just haven't met the right book yet, like a yenta who's sure she's got the right man up her sleeve, just waiting to be introduced.
Sometimes it doesn't work out (like the time I absolutely loved The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and passed it on to Mum, who thought it was just 'eh' or the time Grandmother sent over a book about a deaf priest and the miracles he's performing which.. not so much for me), but that's ok.
You just keep trying till you get the right match.
A perfect book: there's really nothing like it.
Which is all just really to say, please pop on over to Buy Books For the Holidays to check out my recommendations for Books to Buy for Romance Readers this holiday season