It’s traditionally men who are impossible to buy gifts for, but I freely confess that I’m probably more difficult than the most difficult man you know.
I don’t collect china figurines or anything to do with owls. I don’t have the kind of social life which justifies jewellery or clothes made of silk or cashmere. I prefer a brisk shower to a two-hour soak in a scented bath. I’m one of those rare people whose brain doesn’t isn’t wired to connect with music; I'd far rather sit in a quiet room. And if I want to watch a DVD, I rent it, because I’m unlikely to want to see it more than once.
There, now you know all my secrets. And while I certainly can’t claim to be the woman who has everything, I’m definitely the woman who would hate you to waste your money on a gift that quite possibly wouldn’t make it out of the packaging.
So here’s the challenge: what, apart from chocolate, do my husband and daughter give me on the big present-buying occasions?
Daughter has a knack for noticing what is wearing out or running low, and coming up with something appropriate and welcome. Husband and I have reached an agreement. He’s as impossible as I am to buy for, so we pool the money and either upgrade our holiday plans or indulge in an extra few days somewhere warm and relaxing.
But really, when you think about it, the solution to that little package to open on the day, whatever the day is, is an easy one.
Since however many thousand are published every year, and I have a list of favourite authors which expands every time I discover a new one that blows me away, this has to be the gift that goes on giving. The recently-passed festive season added half a dozen to my to-read pile, and I just may indulge myself with a couple more from the wishlist in the not too distant future.
And of course, gift-receiving occasions offer an ideal opportunity to fill the backlist gaps.
My Christmas hoard was made up thus:
One by an author whose work I’ve never sampled, but the review I read of her current novel intrigued me.
The first in a series by an author I discovered last year, though the world at large discovered her some time ago; I’ve read two more recent entries in the same series, and am looking forward to catching up with the backstory.
Two of Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series, which I’ve read in completely the wrong order, but hey, they’re all brilliant, and there are still three I don’t have.
Two early-ish titles by authors whose series I’ve dipped into and enjoyed.
There may be more; I’ve already run out of bookshelf space, so they’re not exactly well-organized. And that list doesn’t include the slightly smaller pile Santa brought husband, or the four I didn’t get around to reading earlier.
Did you detect a theme developing? All but one of my half-dozen form part of a series, mainly early titles because I almost always seem to jump in halfway through. A similar theme seemed to permeate my 2012 books-of-the-month lists too. Looks like I really am becoming a creature of habit.
In fact, I think I’ve just spied the ghost of blog posts yet to come. What is it about series? What makes me, and a lot of other readers, latch on to a series character and keep coming back for more?
Watch this space!