Posted in Musings

Musings: Of Bookish Gifts… #WordsMatter

If I could gift or receive one thing, what would it be?

Looking back at my childhood days, I don’t remember gifts being diverse. Most relatives would gift me clothing or cash, and most friends would (and this was on very rare occasions) gift me video game cartridges. No one really paid attention to what I usually did, which was read. Perhaps books weren’t the ideal “long-lasting” gift, according them anyway. Not that I minded back then. Childhood was meant to be playing, be it outdoors or indoors. And I was happy enough to get those cartridges. Only since then, once my passion for exploring the various worlds hidden away between the pages of a book increased, have I come to realize the one thing, that if I could receive or gift one thing, it would be a book.

Books are cathartic. On days when my mood is greyer than the sky during monsoon, I have turned to my comfort reads like Harry Potter series, or the Five Find-outers series, or even retellings of mythology like Jaya, and they’ve taken me away from reality and into the world of joy they create and recreate. While the “reality” hasn’t exactly vanished after that, reading has often given me strength to take on whatever else life could throw at me after. I’ve been to London, to Manchester, to Kolkata and to Kashmir through the words of books and the power of my imagination.

If I look at the bookish gifts I’ve received from friends and family recently, I’m happy to see most of them know what kind of books I love to read. This is especially true of my book twin, but that’s expected. The happiness I get from seeing a book I have not read, with an inscription inside sharing their wishes, that’s something I don’t always get words for. A colleague even gifted me one book for Secret Santa a few years back, and I was pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t expect that from her.

Many a time, I have been asked why I love inscriptions inside a book. Some even have phrased it as “defacing” the book. That’s going on a whole new level of offensiveness I feel. The note inside personalizes the gift. It’s easy to just buy a book via Amazon and make sure it reaches the giftee in time. At times, paucity of time calls for that. But if I have time, I always try to send a book with a note. It shows the gift is meaningful, and perhaps, years later, when they open and read that note, it might bring back a memory.

Even today morning, when I opened an old book gifted to me by a dear friend, the note inside made me smile. The book, The Kashmir Shawl, was sent as part of a bookish exchange that included letters too. How easily we wrote to each other then, not having met even once, and yet feeling like we had met so often. When we did meet last year, we talked about that too. Memories, happy ones, triggered by the words of a handwritten note. Not the fancy gift wrap, but one wrapped with the warmth of the thoughts of the one who wrote them.

Little things that matter. Here are some books I’ve received as gifts. From literary fiction to fantasy, crime thrillers to non fiction, I’ve been lucky enough to be gifted some wonderful books. Most of these books have a note inside for sure. Some were gifted on Christmas, some on birthdays, and some just as bookish memories of meetups.

If you’re a book lover, and there’s a good chance that you are, what genre of books would you prefer gifting or getting as a gift?

The #WordsMatter blog hop is stopping by ABWM today, having previously stopped at Shilpa Garg’s blog. After this, the hop heads to Jyothi Nair’s blog. There are 25 lovely stops expected this time on the hop, mine being one of them, each of us writing on what might be the one gift we’d love gifting or being gifted! You can catch them all on social media with that hashtag!

Vinay Leo R.
© A Bookworm’s Musing
6th Dec. 2019


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

38 thoughts on “Musings: Of Bookish Gifts… #WordsMatter

  1. Nothing better than receiving books as gifts and, while it is lovely to have an inscription inside, I must admit that most of my friends opt to fine me book vouchers so as not to risk doubling up on books I already own! Lost in a great just the best!

    1. Oh. That’s something my friends tend to do too, but those who know me well enough usually ask me for a wishlist, and then buy from that, inscribe and send across. 🙂 Thank you, Viv.

  2. Yes, little things do matter, Vinay! Glad to see your lovely collection of books. Yes, little handwritten notes inside them do make special for sure. I treasure the ones I have for the very same reason.

  3. I prefer gifting some popular fiction / thrillers if I don’t know what books they read. I enjoyed playing Secret santa once presenting books to colleagues.. In my son’s school , they are doing holiday book exchange and every kid has to gift one book wrapped. I really love this concept.

  4. I think I would like to receive a good non-fiction book that would be worth treasuring. But if someone gifts me the latest book by an author I like, that would be nice too. Come to think of it, I have been gifted books only on two occasions in my life. When I was a child, in school for doing well in exams. And much later when I started blogging, during a Secret Santa exchange. My mother somehow always discouraged my reading habits. It’s strange though. She was an avid reader herself. But I tend to lose myself in a book at times and forget to study or do chores. That could be a reason I guess.

  5. I love the idea of Books (all shapes & sizes!, though over the years I have become more particular of what I read.
    I completely disagree about the defacing etc etc – That’s just someone being petty! I myself have a habit to capture a note on the front page of the book – The memory of the story/the reason i got that book/ or if it was gifted, then the who, the why, and if there was an anecdote of the ‘gifting’ – it ALWAYS makes for a lovely read!

    PS. I love this theme, of leaving a comment inside a letter — so absolutely a cherished memory of letter writing days! In 2020 I actually intend to work on improving my handwriting – perhaps, I can write letters to you? 🙂

    1. I guess, to each their own perceptions regarding inscriptions. 🙂 I find book notes to be intriguing.

      PS: The letter was not just a comment. It was a normal 2 page letter 😀 And sure, happy to get a letter. 🙂

  6. Books certainly make for the best gifts.
    There was a time when i used to be completely averse to writing in then except for my name and date in one corner. And yet when I look back at some inscriptions in books that have been gifted to me it’s such a treat. Since then I’ve begun to at least write that inscription and even the odd note in the margins. It makes the book that much more personal.

  7. Hands down, books are the best gifts. 80% of the time, my gifts to family and friends are books. There’s nothing like sharing a book that you have enjoyed or hoping to instill the love of written words in a child. Personalized notes in books are the bestest, they make them all the more special.

  8. I cant believe I found someone who loves the Five Find outers or rather has even heard of them. Its one of my most loved series from Enid Blyton and I can peruse them for ages. High five on loving the inscriptions in the books – they make me smile too. In fact I write who the book has come from and why now-a-days in the times of online shopping.

    I have been wishing and been getting tonnes of books this December in guise of Secret Santa and just loving it all!!

  9. I love receiving books with the inscriptions…little notes from the gifter that stay with us long after we have finished reading the book. A dear friend gifted me The Artist’s Way on my birthday years ago with a longish note on the last page of the book. Each time I open the book today, first I rad her note and then the book. 🙂 Love that warmth I receive from that hand-written note!

    If I were to receive a book as a gift, I would love a fiction (suspense thriller, murder mystery). It’s what keeps me hooked and takes me far away from my real world. I love that!

    1. Notes are so memorable for sure. I still read a few I have in my bookish gifts and smile. Even today, when I read one in one book I just randomly picked up, it brought back the memory of the bookish exchange. 😀

      I’d love getting thrillers and murder mysteries too. Same pinch!

  10. I received my first book on my 4th birthday. It was the Blue Story Book by Enid Blyton. That was the beginning of my love affair with books. I still have all the books from my childhood. If I had to choose, I would choose to receive fantasy romance. I can get lost in those worlds

  11. Books are my best friends from my young days. Being a only child, i have been addicted to reading from a very early age. 🙂 My likes actually changes seasonally ranging from short stories, novels, science fictions, romance, thrillers, autobiographies and journals. I still enjoy comics, Famous Five, Nancy Drew series and Matilda. One of the hilariously based real story that I truly enjoyed is “How I braved Anu aunty and co-founded a million dollar company” by Varun Agarwal.

  12. I love it when people gift me books that are close to their heart, books that have touched their lives in some way, even if they aren’t genres that I normally read, because that’s what books are meant to do – enrich our lives.

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