Monday, September 6, 2010

Jitterbug Perfume

I'm reading, as to be expected by this post's title, Jitterbug Perfume.  It is the first Tom Robbins book I've ever read (I know, I know), and won't be the last.  Everyone who has seen me reading it, and who is familiar with his work, has said it is his best.  I don't have enough history to agree or disagree, but I am enjoying it. 

The circumstances behind me reading this are not something I am going to delve into too deeply.  Only two people really know why this book is so important, but I will say this: It was a gift, and it means a lot.  In fact, it was part of a book exchange.  I presented a gift that seemed to be just as appreciated.

Books always make excellent gifts ... unless you are giving them to someone who reads all of one book every five years because they saw something about it on the news or something.  The ones that are given because they have inspired someone or represent what they think is the finest work in the field are the most special because it isn't just a book you are getting, but a sort of window into the gift-giver's soul.  When I give Beyond Good and Evil or The Shining, the receiver is getting a glimpse into the philosophy I live by and the book that made me want to be a writer.

If I give Daredevil: Born Again they are getting the trade paperback that made me realize that I wanted to write something other than horror.  The Preacher and Lone Wolf and Cub series are given because I think they are two of the greatest stories ever told and represent values I think are important (truth, honor, friendship and revenge).  Pranks is another that showcases my philosophy.

The point is, books can be far more than just words or images on paper.  They are the mixed tapes you used to make for a loved one ramped up to the nth degree.  That's what makes them special (the same can be said for a movie or album that particularly inspired someone).  They are, in the end, far more than gifts, and that's why the right book at the right time can do far more than a gift certificate or a "I thought you would like this because it has blood in it" type of thing.  Think about that the next time you want to give someone special something.  Give them something that made you what you are.  The results can be amazing.

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