The Mrs. called me at work the other day to tell me an odd package had been delivered. She recognized the sender’s name, but the contents of the box were a puzzle. It consisted of a calligraphy pen set, a book in my Mrs.’ native language, and an old, obviously used, hard cover book.
The enclosed note explained that the gifts were specifically chosen for each member of my family. My daughter receive the calligraphy pens. My Mrs. got the book in her language, and the old used book was for me, and it is a real treasure.
I received an out of print edition of “Firearms Curiosa” by Louis Winant originally published in 1954. My edition is a reprint, but I don’t mind a bit because the topic is historical firearms. Better yet, it is about the various bizarre guns that were often incorporated into swords, shields, body armor, and other unlikely objects in centuries past. My friend knows that topic is a real passion of mine, and the fact he took the time to choose a truly personalized gift really adds to my appreciation of the book.
This sentimental value-add is something I think we are in grave danger of losing in the age of the eBook. I have a Kindle, multiple tablets, and my iPhone all set up with my eBook library, so I can read whenever my schedule allows the time. Unfortunately, the eBook will never have the warm fuzzy feeling of a physical book, and they are really hard to giftwrap.
A physical book inscribed with a personal message to the recipient can commemorate a special event, or just express fond feelings. This simple gesture creates a lasting tangible reminder of the relationship between people.
Nobody will ever remember which friend or relative gave them the iTunes gift card used to purchase the song they are listening to, but they can almost always recall who gave them a certain book as soon as they pick it up or see it on the shelf.
Let’s keep it that way.