Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas is coming, the books are getting fat!

I am ALL about this time of year. Starting in fall, with the crisp air and beautiful colors, I do my best to slow time down so I can savor every day up until New Year's. Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Thanksgiving, I love every single moment of it!

Now, at 10 days to Christmas, I'm doing my best to race through the rest of my holiday knitting (I may not make this year... I think my family and friends will forgive me...) and buying gifts and getting packages to the post office.

Books are my favorite gifts to give, along with hand knitted items, usually a scarf, hat, or cowl. I love considering which yarn and pattern to use that my closest loved ones will enjoy, that will flatter them when they wear it. Plus, handmade gifts mean a little more, I think. Anyone can go out and buy the latest electronic gadget (and I do, will, and have given those! Happily, I might add.). But handmade gifts say that the giver thought about the givee and put a lot of time and effort into the process.

I think books carry a very special significance as well. And not just because I have a self professed bibliophile, but because the giving of books is also very personal. The giver has to consider what their givee likes, what they're interested in. A gifted book says that the giver considered the givee's personality, hobbies, and joys in life. A book looks like a very simple gift, just a little rectangle with some (hopefully pretty) cover art. But between those pages lives characters and stories and cultures and worlds of joy and information and enchantment. A person who gives a book, especially to a child, is not giving them a pile of pages. They are giving them a bit of our culture, oral history, and a heap of magic. Even those books about real world events carry magic between their pages. They take the reader to another time, another place. One that reader might not ever be able to visit. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

In Iceland, the traditional Christmas gift is, in fact, a book. The country calls it Jolabokaflod, or the Christmas Book Flood. (Just take in that visual for a moment... a flood of books!) This tradition stems back for years, and is one that almost every citizen looks forward to. On Christmas Eve, books are gifted to friends and family, and then the rest of the night is spent reading. What a spectacular cultural tradition! It reminds me of when I used to stay up all Christmas Eve with my sister, reading to her from our favorite holiday books because we were too excited to sleep.

So, this holiday season consider giving the gift of a book. And I'm not saying that just to pull people into my store. Really and truly, consider what you are giving a person when you give them a book. Christmas is a'coming, and the indie bookstores are ready and waiting to help you find the perfect literary gift!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why a literary angel tree? Why Seattle Children's Hospital?

Since opening The Neverending Bookshop, I have been busier than any other point in my life. Except maybe college, and that was a different sort of environment. The store is an amazing, ever growing entity. I can't wait to see what it is like a year from now, when it and I really have had time to flourish. In the meantime, there was one, very special project I wanted to launch this year, despite being a new business. I wanted to set up a literary angel tree to benefit Seattle Children's Hospital.

Many years ago, 31 almost 32 to be sort of exact, I as born with a rare spinal birth defect. I was diagnosed at two weeks old, and subsequently spent time at Children's, though it is now a very different hospital that it was three decades ago. Technology, both medical and social, has changed, and Children's has changed with it. As a toddler, I actually spent Christmas Eve at Children's after one of my first operations to fix some of the damage done by my birth defect. I went home Christmas morning, and I only have vague recollections of this hospital visit. It blends in with all of the others. But one thing I do remember quite strongly is Santa coming for a visit with presents.

Being confined to bed so often after surgeries was one of the catalysts that led me to become such a massive bookworm. My parents, both smart and funny and encouraging, were more than happy to buy books and read to my sister and me. I loved reading about characters who overcame their circumstances. These stories made it microscopically easier to handle what I was going through. I could become lost in the pages of a good novel, follow the characters as they fought and won through their own battles. Science fiction and fantasy quickly emerged as my favorite kinds of books.

These reasons are important for you, dear reader, to understand why it is so important to me to bring books to Seattle Children's during this holiday season. It is a way for me to help, to comfort, from afar, those children and teens who are fighting through their own struggles. I can't understand these individual battles, but I do sympathize with them.

Please consider stopping in at The Neverending Bookshop, Third Place Books, or Queen Anne Book Company between now and December 20th to pick up a tag and donate a book for a patient at Children's Hospital. Because:

why not?