Today we were texting about books - specifically, M's penchant for buying books as Christmas gifts. I do believe that everyone she knows got a book this year. Every. Single. Person.
This makes complete sense to me. There are very few gifts I like better than a book (expensive jewelry and Coach purses rank pretty high, I confess.) However, I changed my gifting habits when a kiddo opened her 3 books one year and asked, "Where's my real presents?"
M doesn't give a shit whether the giftee is pleased or not.
No, not really. She's really quite gifted at matching the right book to the right person. (Oh, see what I did there?)
Nine people work for M, and everybody got a book. Here are a few examples:
- For the female staff member studying religion:
- For the male staff member who loves music: Neil Young's new book
- For the female staff member who reads YA fantasy:
- For the staff member who adores the Mists of Avalon: A Philippa Gregory novel
Anyhow, here's one of the reasons I adore my best friend. She's telling me about all these books she bought this past holiday season and somehow seques into M's Rant on the State of Reading in Today's Colleges. This next section could also be called Just Read Damnit!
How's that for a swerve? She gave me text whiplash, but this is way too good not to share.
She gets positively irate over the students or graduates who haven't read any actual texts - just excerpts in those monstrously heavy survey books. So she forces her will upon them like a Cajun Jedi Knight by buying them books! In college and know M? You're getting a book, damnit!
M says, "They are paying for super crappy educations. I get fired up. Not a single frickin' novel. Really. Just lit books with excerpts. Go *bleep* yourself. Could you imagine what college would have been like without reading books?"
I'm not around many college kids anymore (this whole being house-bound thing is really screwing up my social life!) but I taught high school English for over a decade. Too many of our kids don't grow up with a love for the written word - their parents don't read and there are few books in their homes. Reading is an assignment or a punishment or something they have to do to pass classes.
This has always made me incredibly sad. To not know the pleasure of disappearing inside an amazing book? My sould would feel barren, and my world would be so much smaller.
Language and story make my soul sing and leap and pirouette much like Hugh Howey in "Dance of the Silo-Plum Fairy." (C'mon, you knew I was gonna mention him - it's all a part of my sneaky plan to get M to agree to the blog post I wanna write about my buddy. Yeah, he's totally cool with me calling him "buddy." Completely okay with it.)
For your viewing pleasure, Hugh's masterful ballet performance set to music:
So back to the whole gifting of books and the moral of the story. We try to impact the world in our own special ways. A million small acts create a movement. M gives books to folks because she wants to share the joy that reading has brought her. In her own small way, she's shouting to the world, "Just Read Damnit!"