I’ve made my to-do list. Now it’s time for the Gimme List.
But let me be totally upfront here. The manic gift giving of Christmas makes me crazy. Truly, I kinda hate it. I’ve complained about this many times. Buying useless junk for everyone around me – stuff that they neither want nor need – is so antithetical to what the Christmas season should be. In my opinion. The frantic shopping rush just puts me in a bad mood.
Having said that, I can’t escape the requests for a list of things that my family wants to give me. I wish I could. But they’re going to buy something, and they want to get me something that I’ll like, so I have to come up with a list.
Not that it does a whole lot of good. Last year, I made a list. They ignored the list, and all my unmet “expectations” left me really, really, really grouchy. Then I had a major self-induced guilt trip because I was acting so selfish. Then I went shopping. I just love the holidays.
So for whatever it’s worth, here is my list. If you insist on buying me something, please buy books. I am a book junkie. I’ve started a list of titles that look intriguing, and some that I checked out from the library this year and are so good that they need to be in my permanent collection and reread over and over again. And if you have any must-reads that I don’t have on my list, please leave a comment and let me know!
Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning and Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, & Giftedness (Revised Edition) – I heard a speaker last week at our district’s GT parents group who was really good. He had a whole list of recommended reading, and these two titles jumped out at me.
Raisin Brains: Surviving My Smart Family – Another book for parents of GT kids, though this one looks more entertaining than educational. I could use a laugh or two.
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith – I checked out both of these from the library last year after my aunt sent me Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which I devoured. Then I bought Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith (yeah, she has quite a few “thoughts on faith,” doesn’t she?) at Half Price Books – so these two need to be on my shelf to round out my collection. Anne Lamott is one of my very favorite writers. I not only love her writing style, but I love her painful honesty, authenticity, humor, compassion for others, and passion for social justice. I knew I was going to like her when I flipped open one of her books (can’t remember which one) to a chapter entirely dedicated to how much she hates George W. Bush and how she was struggling and praying to work through her anger. What? A Christian who isn’t a Republican!?! Shocking. With Anne’s honest words, I found the freedom to break away from the Southern religious/political opinion that is all around me. Not that I’m opinionated or anything.
(I’m not at all making a political statement here. My point is that there are people in the world who love Jesus and don’t vote Republican or subscribe to the so-called “Christian worldview” that circulates around our churches. That’s all I’m saying. A handful of my friends believe like I do, but most don’t, and that’s OK. They still love me.)
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality – I just turned this one back into the library. It’s been a bestseller for a while, and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. One reviewer called Donald Miller “Anne Lamott with testosterone,” and I couldn’t agree more. He bursts the bubble on all of our religiosity and fundamentalist rule-following and speaks of a revolutionary kind of Christianity that can change the world – the same kind of revolutionary thinking contained within the heart of the Gospels. I loved this book.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and Searching for God Knows What – also by Donald Miller. Haven’t read these yet, but if they’re anything like Blue Like Jazz, I will eat them up with a serving spoon.
Same Kind of Different As Me – A narrative story co-written by a millionaire art dealer and a homeless man about their unlikely friendship and how it transformed both of them. Again, this is the heart-of-the-Gospel kind of Christ-following which compels me to love deeply and share generously. I checked it out from the library and just finished it, but I want to have it at home to reread and for my kids to eventually read.
And if I’m going to be totally honest, this is what I’d really love to find in my stocking. (Oh, wait. I don’t have a stocking. OK, just wrap it up and stick it under the tree.)
It’s less expensive and has more bells and whistles than last year, but I’m still not convinced the price won’t be even lower in the coming months. And there’s that small matter of building our dream house this year, so if it’s not under our tree, that will be just fine. Budgets and all that.
But it does look really, really cool. Especially for an unopinionated bookworm like myself.