Imagine giving your loved one a holiday trip to Bordeaux, an intimate glimpse at building a log cabin or a visit to outer space. Contemplate the ability to share an endless supply of the most delectable sweets imaginable, the great masters of a school of art or the secret outcome of a long-held puzzle.

For most of us, none of these things are an actual possibility: time and money are real world restrictions on giving the gifts we'd really like to give. There is, of course, a more reasonable alternative. An alternative that most of us take at least a few times during the holiday season: they're easy to wrap, even the most extravagant ones are actually quite reasonable and the interface has been honed to perfection over numerous centuries.

I'm talking, of course, about the book. With topics so diverse and publication styles so varied, it's difficult to imagine a gift with more possibilities for personalization. And there's something entirely intimate about the carefully chosen book that's given as a gift. It can say so much: that you care enough about the person your giving it to to understand their tastes and desires. Their dreams.

You can't eat a book. Can't use it to pay rent or taxes. Physically, you don't need books. By this definition, books become a luxury item. In leaner times, people buy fewer books for themselves, making them the ideal gift giving item: their appearance under the tree special and welcome.

This year, the editors of January Magazine have assembled an especially delicious assortment of books for your holiday list. May your 2003 holiday be sweet and warm and filled with cheer.

Happy reading! | December 2003


gifts of art and culture cookbook gifts children's gifts crime fiction gifts gifts of fiction gifts of non-fiction