30th birthdays seem to be happening all the time at the moment! Mine is a bit under three months away, so here are some thoughts.
When people ask what I want for a gift (for any occasion) I always suggest a book, which never goes down well. For some reason, people want to get me something more exciting or unusual – my argument is that reading is something I love to do, do regularly, made better by having more books, and so a book is a solid choice. I’ll like it just as much (maybe more) than the exotic alternative gift you’ve thought of, and chances are that the book will get more use.
Since this is a ‘milestone’ birthday, it seems that the expected thing is to ‘theme’ it somehow. I’ve decided that the theme will be “books”. If you get me a gift (and, of course, they are optional – I have plenty of stuff already, really) then it should be ‘book/reading related’:
- A donation to some sort of book-related charity (the Foundation for the Blind would be a good choice, or your local library, or donating books to your local school, etc). I really do have plenty of ‘things’.
- A book – could be fiction or non-fiction (there are examples on my wishlist, which I keep updated – note that “compact” view will only be a couple of pages, rather than the very long default view). I like second-hand books just as much as new ones.
- A specific case of getting a book would be to fill out (or partially fill out) a series that I have. I unfortunately have quite a few sets of books where I am missing one or more books from the series, and it would be great to have the gaps filled in. Again, second-hand books would be fine. This can go right back to the Hardy Books books, the Dragonlance Saga, or more recent books like the Wheel of Time series.
- A book of comics or a ‘graphic novel’ – for example, Pearls Before Swine, the Buffy graphic novels (check to see which I have first), or the Firefly novels.
- A bookmark – some people lose socks, I lose bookmarks.
- Some sort of book-related software. I have Delicious Library 2, so I’m not sure what this would be, but maybe some templates or scripts or addons or something will appear for DL2, or maybe a good iPhone/iPod touch application will appear.
- An audiobook (e.g. from Audible or iTunes – I have an Audible account, so I get cheaper prices than random buyers, so I’m not sure how to best arrange this. Maybe Olyvia could buy them for you, or you could do an IOU for a specific book. I have a wishlist on AudibleKids; I have one on Audible.com as well, but I don’t think you can make it publicly available – Olyvia could get to it.
- A donation to one of the Podiobooks I’ve enjoyed at podiobooks.com.
- Book-related furniture, like a bookshelf or bookends. The final plan is to have a proper library in our house with permanent shelving, so a bookshelf would have to be interesting in some way.
- A photobook, like those you can get from snapfish or through iPhoto.
- Some sort of book-related travel (to a special store, possibly to a signing or event, although I’m lukewarm on those, or something else).
- A subscription to a magazine, like Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, or F&SF, or maybe a local one like Foodtown Magazine.
- If the kindle or something similar (something not so ugly, hopefully) is available in NZ, then I would be quite interested in trying one out. I’m not particularly convinced that it would suit me, but there’s only one way to know for sure.
I’m sure there are many more that imaginative minds can come up with. I look forward to it!
Of course, this theme isn’t compulsory. You can (a) not get me a gift at all or (b) get me something unrelated to books/reading, especially if you have something special in mind. However, if you do want to buy something, and are stuck for ideas, there they are.
You can see the books I already own: