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Because it’s my birthday

May I make a confession? I LOVE presents.

The trouble is, I don’t really like stuff.

As I get older, the things I like to receive most are : art, experiences (like a homemade dinner, or tickets to a concert, or an awesome adventure), and books.

I LOVE books. I love art books and how-to books and cookbooks and non-fiction books and novels. I love old books, and new books and books straight off your shelves. I love the smell of books and their covers and the paper used and their weight … sigh.

The thing that I like the most about getting books as a gift is, if given thoughtfully, how intimate they are.

You say a lot about who you are, and about who you think the recipient is, when you give books as a gift. And beyond the subject matter contained in the book, you are giving, above all else, TIME. And permission to be selfish with that time.

“Here. I think you will enjoy this. Go. Be by yourself. Read.”

For a hermit-introvert like me, THAT is the best gift ever.

* * *

The other thing I love, is giving presents. So. Because my birthday is tomorrow and I firmly believe that you can do anything you want to on your birthday, I’m going to give one of you a present – a print and calendar gift set. You get to pick the print. That means two presents for you, or one for you and one for someone else!  Fun!

In exchange, in the comments, tell me about a book. Your most-favorite-ever book, or the book you like to give as a gift, or the best book you ever received as a gift. And tell me why.

Tell your friends!

You’ll have until Tuesday night and then I’ll close comments and choose a winner using




  1. My most favorite recently read book is The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. Its a beautiful memoir of her life, how she left the city, fell in love, and become a farmer. This story really inspired me to follow my dream to go into agriculture. Have a Happy birthday! My birthday is tomorrow too!

  2. This is my birthday month also!! My favorite is a older book called Bird Egg Feather Nest by Maryjo Koch. It is just stunning in the art illustration and also wonderful information. This is a treasured book to me.

  3. My all-time favorite book is The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. We were made to read it in French class during my junior year of high school, and I can honestly say it was one of a very few assignments in high school that actually enlightened my life. :) The beautiful philosophy disguised in the simple words of a children’s book – but really, every one of his words is intentional and paints the most wonderful picture of life and relationships and priorities… As I’m writing this, I’m realizing I need to read it again. :) His illustrations are so enchanting. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it as a birthday gift to yourself!

  4. Oh that is such a tricky question and there is no possible way to narrow it down to one book. I can’t even narrow it down to one gift of a book. But you know what? I do have a favorite memory of a book. I still remember in 3rd grade how much I loved everyday after lunch when Mrs. Briening would read to us, such a treat, and my favorite was “Where The Red Fern Grows” it was that story that started my love of books.
    Thanks for asking and reminding me of a happy time.
    Happy Birthday!

  5. I bought some labels from you this week and love them SO. MUCH. that I decided to check out your blog. Which I’m also loving! And, I appreciate the tradition of giving books too, it’s a long standing one where I used to work. I would spend HOURS browsing aisles of used book stores looking for the perfect book for my people. The best one I gave was ‘A Room for Learning’ by Tal Birdsey. It’s an honest, true, fun, inspiring, and raw account of one man’s journey to craft an intentional educational experience for a group of rural-life kids; something my colleagues and I strive to do every day. It’s great. And, happy birthday!

  6. I’m with Angie…too hard to narrow it down to one book. So I’ll go with my most recent favorite book: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. That was the 1st book in several years that I couldn’t put down. I was staying up too late & not doing things around the house so I could read more of it. Why did I love it? It had adventure, romance, intrigue, Lisbeth is an awesome character…too many reasons to list.

    Happy Birthday!!

  7. Happy Birthday, Karin!

    I agree with you about books. They are such a sensory potluck–cover art, the smell of the paper (better if its older), the heft of the total package and the feel of the individual page between thumb and fingers.

    I am very fond of the Dr. Suess book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” To me it’s almost like a little instruction guide written by a kind and wise elder letting us know we are doing just fine, wherever we are on our journey.

  8. I’m a book lover as well. My mom is a librarian and we grew up finding the best things to read at the library. My mom is still my lending librarian. She has so many good books for me to keep borrowing.
    But I’m going to put out a favorite cookbook today. When I lived in Minnesota a book called Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson came out. This cookbook is full of simple, hearty recipes that follow the seasons but they are really good, combining the immigrant recipes as well. I also love this book because it’s full of old black and white photos of the people that lived in the area. And full of little stories. Mrs. Macine’s Brownie recipe is to die for:-)

  9. Another book lover. I was the first child and first grandchild on both sides – I was read to a LOT. I’m 56 and tv was not what it is now when I was young, bedtime…even into my early school years was a time to be read to or read….think “The Princess Bride” :)!

    I’m never good at the “what’s your favorite?” …of anything! And with books there have been favorites at different times of my life. At this point in my life I go back again and again to Jan Karon’s Mitford series…simple stores of normal life: the good, the bad. I always come away with a sense of peace and renewed appreciation for everything in my own life.

    And though there are books that I own, I am also a fan of eBooks, particularly for their portability and being able to have my library with me. My phone has a 4.3 screen and it is my eReader – always with me.

  10. Happy belated birthday! I have a hard time picking a favorite book. I have read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books over and over, so they are definately a favorite. I just love her voice and since I live not too far from a few of the places her family lived, I can relate to the landscapes she describes.

  11. Picking a favorite book is hard. There’s a favorite art reference book, a favorite coffee table book, a favorite ‘when I’m sick’ book, etc, etc…. but… if we’re talking about what book do ‘I try to get all my friends to read’ is a book call Love That Dog. it’s short. it’s sweet. and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I highly recommend it!

  12. You wrote eloquently about your thoughts on presents and books. I heartily agree with you, and liked your comments about the intimacy of giving a book.

    I enjoy perusing used book stores for treasures to read and to give as gifts. I usually find myself leaning toward nature writing, especially when the authors write in first person about their observations or adventures. I don’t have one favorite book, but the authors that quickly come to mind are: Elspeth Huxley (The Flame Trees of Thika), Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet), Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals), Robert Sapolsky (A Primate’s Memoir), Margaret Murie (Two in the Far North), Ed Abbey (Desert Solitaire), David Quammen (The Song of the Dodo), and Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods). I’m sure that I’m missing some other favorites, but they are not coming to mind. I also love children’s books because they sometimes have the most amazing illustrations. I enjoy giving books by Brian Lies (Bats at the Library, Bats at the Beach, and Bats at the Ballgame).

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

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