Give Canadian books for Christmas

Give Canadian books for Christmas. A nov­el idea some might say, but I’ve been giv­ing Canadian books as gifts since I im­mig­rated to the coun­try in 1971.

Most of my fam­ily lives in the USA. What’s at the top of their Christmas wish list each year? Books by Canadian au­thors. And chocol­ate, but that’s an­oth­er story.

This year, re­l­at­ives ran­ging in age from 13 to 77 will be get­ting Canadian books from this house­hold (and not just ones writ­ten by me or my partner).

Thanks to Canadian au­thors Steve Pitt and Kristen den Hartog for the idea, il­lus­tra­tion text and image.

I come from a long line of read­ers. Being read a bed time story was a fa­vour­ite part of my early fam­ily routine. I re­mem­ber the ex­cite­ment of fi­nally be­ing able to read books on my own. And the naughty thrill of drap­ing a tow­el over my bed­side lamp so I could do so late into the night.

Of course, Mom saw the light un­der the door. But in­stead of giv­ing me heck, she said it was okay to read but not to start a fire.

Turns out read­ing in bed is a fam­ily tra­di­tion. My re­l­at­ives tend to travel in herds. In the past, five or more have come to vis­it at once. And it doesn’t mat­ter if they sleep on the pseudo-Murphy bed in the sun­room, on the futon in the base­ment, on the couch or on a cot, every one of them reads be­fore they go to sleep. Finding enough bed­side lights is more of an is­sue than round­ing up bed­ding and pillows.

Personally, I can’t think of a bet­ter way to spend a winter even­ing than cuddled up with a book by a Canadian au­thor. So, if it isn’t already part of your hol­i­day ritu­al, con­sider giv­ing Canadian books as gifts this Christmas.




E‑book or paper book, which do you prefer?

In my “book,” any­thing that makes read­ing easi­er and ac­cess­ible to more people is a good thing. E‑books and e‑readers are bring­ing a whole new di­men­sion to the read­ing ex­per­i­ence and who can ar­gue with that?

An amaz­ing fea­ture is be­ing able to read an e‑book in the dark. You can also ad­just the size of the text, high­light pas­sages and look up the mean­ing of words. Best of all, you have ac­cess to tons of books in­stantly and can carry them all on one port­able device.

Yep, e‑books are def­in­itely made for trav­el­ling. The next time I take a trip to a for­eign coun­try, I’ll con­sider car­ry­ing my read­ing ma­ter­i­al on an e‑reader. Just think how much more room I’ll have to pack clothes and shoes if I do away with my usu­al six pack of pock­et books!

But in my heart of hearts I’ll al­ways love pa­per books. To be­gin with, I grew up with them, so they’re fa­mil­i­ar and com­fort­able. I love hold­ing a book in my hands and turn­ing the page to find out what hap­pens next.

If you read pa­per books you get to use cool book marks like the one my broth­er bought me in Morocco. 

Besides, pa­per books are in­cred­ibly ver­sat­ile. As dec­or­at­ing ac­cessor­ies they add col­our and in­tel­lec­tu­al cachet to your shelves. They can also serve as door props, as well as do double-duty as stor­age areas for post­cards from exot­ic lands and in­ter­est­ing leaves found on walks. 

If you’re an au­thor you can dis­cretely place books you’ve writ­ten around the house for vis­it­ors to “dis­cov­er.” And signed cop­ies make great last minute gifts. 

Paper books are for­giv­ing too. They’re usu­ally still read­able even after be­ing splashed with red wine or smeared with chocol­ate. Even a dunk in the bathtub doesn’t have to spell the end.

But most of all, I like read­ing what oth­er people have writ­ten on a book’s flyleaf. A hard cov­er book I picked up at a gar­age sale was in­scribed: “To Edna, with love on our first Christmas to­geth­er. From your Jack. December 1932.”

So e‑books get my vote when it comes to con­veni­ence. But if you’re look­ing for char­ac­ter, pa­per books are the way to go. If you have any doubts, check out Lane Smith’s one minute video, It’s A Book.