It is my birthday in three days and I have no idea what I'm getting from my family and friends, although I think I can say with complete confidence that I will not receive any books. For some reason I very rarely unwrap a gift and find a book within the wrappings, even though this is the obvious choice for anyone shopping for me, and I think i've narrowed it down to three reasons.
1. I am a book slut, i'm not ashamed to admit it. I will read absolutely anything set down in front of me. Well, I will start any book set down in front of me, but I can't guarantee i'll finish it (for the record the only books i've ever started and not finished are Atonement- Ian McEwan, The Eastern Slope Chronicle-Ouyang Yu and Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoyevsky-although that was because I picked it up in a library while I was passing time...I will read it in full one day). So my bookcase is filled with the most random collection of texts around, from classic to beat to jazz era to sci-fi to graphic novel to crime to biography to Harry Potter (yes it deserves its own genre) to gothic horror to slasher horror to romance (but not the mills and boons type) to Australian history to recollections told through a drug haze. Anyone who comes to my house can find a book they'd be interested in, at least everyone has so far and i'd be suprised if that changes in the near future, but I digress. Reason number one is because of my varied taste and my continual purchasing of books and the fact that my room is one large bookcase no one is quite sure what I actually have, and so they don't buy anything for fear that it is already sitting on my bookshelf.
2. Linked to number one, the second reason no one buys me books is because I make it hard for them. I like so many genres and styles and eras of writing that when someone asks me 'What do you like to read' or 'what book would you like for a present' I stare at them blankly ummming and ahhhing, shifting from one foot to another before finally brushing off the question with a shrug and a mumbled 'I dunno'. I don't make it easy for them and no one likes to give a gift voucher (although I am a huge fan of receiving them) because it seems too easy and no one wants to openly admit how much they spend on someone else's present (does anyone else always put more on a voucher than they would spend if they were actually buying something- or is that just me?) or that they don't know the person well enough to know exactly what book (or cd or dvd or hat or shoes) the birthday girl/boy is dying to own. Or perhaps they think that I'm making the whole thing up and really I hate reading and that is why I can't name what kind of books I like...
3. I don't get presents from a lot of people nor do I give presents to a lot of people, but when I do they're pretty special. I put alot of thought into picking out the perfect gift for someone, and then I go to a great deal of effort to wrap it in a way that proves I care for that person as well as know the colour combinations that best exemplify their personality. My friends and families think the same, they aren't going to run into Angus and Robertsons and buy something from the best sellers list just because my birthday is around the corner, they're going to hunt down a beautiful leather bound copy of Dickens, or find some underground graphic novel that fits my personality to a tee. Books are an extension of my self, and luckily my family and good friends know that. I think i'd actually be pretty devestated if I unwrapped a present and found a Matthew Reilley novel on my lap and a card attached saying Love Mum. So if they can't find that unique purchase they'll hold out and buy something else instead, rather than disappoint me with something standard.
Whatever the reason I don't really care, I love buying myself books, whether it is online or hunting through dusty secondhand stores so perhaps that is another reason I so rarely receive them, who knows.
I'm not sure how this long blog entry came about, I'd intended to simply attach this youtube clip of Kerouac reading from On The Road and mention how much I love the Beat writers and how I detest that this novel is being turned into a film (and a film with Kristen Stewart no less!! Is there no sense of decency left in the world?) but I guess I'll save that discussion for another day and another blog. But i'll leave the clip here because it is wonderful to listen to Kerouac read, and maybe it'll inspire any friends and families who visit my blog in finding a last minute present!