Thursday, December 11, 2014

The "Surprise" Present

It's no secret. I LOVE reading. And I also LOVE the Holidays. I always wondered why I liked them so much, and it wasn't until recently that I realized I love them because it is a chance to give, more so than a chance to receive (at least, that's how I view it.) However, this year I decided to do things a little different. While I always get my family members something from their Christmas list and call it good, I've decided to sneak in 1 extra present. This is a "surprise" present, something that represents the type of person I am while at the same time, being something I am sure they will enjoy.

So for this "surprise" present, I have bought every single one of my family members a book. I struggled with this a lot, as I know that no one in my family loves books on the same level as I do, but after thinking of various ideas, I kept coming back to books, so here is a list of what I have bought for my family. I think they will all be surprised to open a present and find a book, but after a while, they'll come to the conclusion that, "of course it's a book!" - and that's exactly what I hope will happen!

1. The Giving Tree/ El Arbol Generoso by Shel Silverstein 

The first book I chose was the one I would gift to my mother. After skimming through various YA titles (my mother has a strong aversion to long and complicated books), I settled on a children's book instead. Why? Well, The Giving Tree is probably the best love story ever written. It perfectly captures the great love that a parent has for his/her child. The fact that I found it in Spanish was a major push toward buying because now she would fully understand it without me having to explain anything. I foresee some tears, as my mom gets emotional easily, but I'm sure she will love the book. 

2. My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln and Christopher Collier 

One of my favorite books as a child that I have continued to love into adulthood, My Brother Sam Is Dead was the first title that popped into my mind when thinking of which book to buy for my father. While he doesn't read very often, my father loves historical fiction and nonfiction. This book was small enough that it wouldn't seem daunting to my father (who is still learning English) while at the same time, being a genre that he enjoys. 

3. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I'm honestly taking a chance with this title. I read many reviews and scanned through countless YA lists, trying to find something that my younger sister would enjoy. She is turning 18 soon (tomorrow actually), but she struggles with being engaged when reading. Among the few books I know she has enjoyed, are The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I really wanted to buy her a title I have read before, but in the end, I chose this book. Not only is it a book I now really, really, really want to read, but it has elements similar to Thirteen Reasons Why. I feel she has read plenty of YA books in the vein of TFiOS, so my thinking is that it will be nice for her to read a book that is a bit different, but still has some of the themes she has liked in other titles. 

4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This is another book where I'm taking a chance. My older sister loves historical fiction, just like my father, although she does tend to prefer nonfiction. She will read anything on North Korea, but since every book I found was one I knew she had already read, I decided to buy a book that was set in WWII. When we were children, my sister recommended that I read, Number The Stars by Lois Lowry and The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. Needless to say, I loved them. So, when trying to settle on a book with a historical setting, I decided to go with a book set during the WWII era. Between Shades of Gray really got my attention because its setting is during the little known/little portrayed Russian invasion of Lithuania in 1939. I think she will enjoy learning something new and the YA format will definitely appeal to her! 

5. La Biblia de Dragon Ball by Vicente Ramirez

My brother-in-law is a HUGE Dragon Ball fan. In his personal opinion, no other anime can achieve the same level of greatness. Therefore, when it came to buying him a book, I knew it would have to be tied to Dragon Ball. Unfortunately, it was near impossible for me to find a Spanish version of the manga and even when I did, it was quite expensive. Luckily, I stumbled on this gem on Amazon. Translated as "The Dragon Ball Bible" it's meant to be a guidebook for all great fans. I was able to see a few of the pages and it seems to be jam-packed with information, so I really hope he enjoys it. 

6. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (novel) by Ryo Suzukaze

My brother and I recently watched the anime Attack on Titan. We both absolutely love the story and its amazing characters (particularly Levi Ackerman!). When it came to choosing a book for my  brother, I considered buying him a manga volume. Ultimately however, I decided that it should be a book in novel format, as it would be unfair to buy my brother a manga since he already reads plenty of them. So when I stumbled on the "Before the Fall" series which was in a light novel format, I knew it would be perfect for my brother. As he already loves everything about the Attack on Titan universe, I'm sure he will be really interested in reading about the events that occurred before the start of the anime. This is a book I'm 100% sure he'll be happy to read! 

Needless to say, these "surprise" presents make me really excited for Christmas to roll around. I know everyone will be surprised, but at the same time, I hope it will allow me to spread something I love so much among my family members: reading! 

Until next time! 

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