Dr. Benjamin Vogt, my instructor in a Family History course I took in 2015 via publishing entrepreneur Jane Friedman, is a poet, gardener, and author of creative non-fiction. With his permission, I am printing this poem from the collection entitled Afterimage, available from Texas A & M University Press.
This poetry collection is a wonderful idea for the poetry lover on your Christmas list. The copy I ordered is going to a literary lover on mine.
- Has your Christmas gift giving included books?
- What books have you appreciated receiving as gifts?
Good morning, Marian! This looks like a lovely collection. Thanks for sharing. I’ve given and received books in the past–always appreciated!
Most people know authors like to give and receive gifts of books. The trick is to find just the right one. Thanks for starting off the conversation here once again, Merril!
“Turkey tanned to a cowboy boot luster.” I love that! Several years ago, after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I introduced my father to the world of fiction reading to help with the stress of being a caregiver.
He was always a big reader, but never fiction. The first couple of months he read every John Grisham book published and hasn’t stopped. I’ve tried to find a way to contact Grisham to let him know that he saved my father and helped him find a way to manage his stress, but I haven’t been successful. I always give my father a book or two for Christmas. He keeps a master list of each book he reads. The last time I looked at the list, he was up to several hundred.
Thanks for sharing the story of your literary dad, Jill. It sounds as though books not only serve to heal but to save sanity as in his case. I’m sure that’s true for others. My husband is a John Grisham fan too. He “reads” audio books, a nice escape from the ordinary.
I admire that your father keeps a master list of all the books he has read. I believe he has passed his organizational skills to you. 😀
Oh, most definitely. It’s his escape and that’s exactly what he needs. I was impressed with his list. For the past six years or more, I’ve kept a journal of the books I read each year. I’m happy to say, you are in there this year! 🙂 My father needs to switch to audio since his Macular Degeneration is getting worse, but I think he’s struggled with them since he tries to listen at night and then falls asleep.
Oh, Jill, I’m happy to hear my memoir is on your list. Several years ago, I started cataloguing my books on rifflebooks.com. I wish I had started cataloguing them years ago. By now they would number a thousand.
Reading at night makes me fall asleep too – ha! I can sympathize with your dad on that score. Still, I’m glad he finds a refuge in reading. 🙂
So inviting and enticing! Thanks Marian. Yes, who doesn’t like to receive books for Christmas. And to give … nothing better – hours of endless pleasure 🙂
Books are such a personal choice, I tend to not give them as gifts, unless there is a clear connection. We often give and get volumes of NY Times crossword puzzles. Does that count?
Of course, NYTimes crossword puzzle books do count, Janet! I’m sure one of my sisters would enjoy receiving Sudoku books, her passion.
Marian — Giving and receiving books is one of my greatest pleasures. Each book represents multiple hours of pleasure. Well worth the investment.
As Darlene has mentioned below, “A book is a gift you can open over and over.” Thanks, Laurie!
I love Ben´s poem. My grandchildren call me the book gramma as I have always given them books as gifts. My son loves biographies of musicians so he often gets one. Books make the best gifts. I have received many great books over the years but one I really appreciate is called Perseverance by Margaret Wheatley. A little book packed with great wisdom, I have often given it as a gift as well. “A book is a gift you can open over and over.”
“A book is a gift you can open over and over.” I love that, Darlene!
I’m glad you liked it. I can’t remember who said it first. Perhaps it was on a Hallmark card but I love it too.
Darlene, I’m not surprised that books are part of your gift-giving practice. I checked on the Margaret Wheatley book you mentioned, so I’m including the link here, for myself later and for other readers who are intrigued by the title: https://margaretwheatley.com/books-products/books/perseverance/
Thanks so much!
Thanks for providing the link to the book. Why didn’t I think of that? It is such a wonderful little book and has helped me through confusing times.
Oh what a lovely poem with great imagery!
While I love books and giving them, I generally only give books I know someone doesn’t yet have, but has asked for. Someone gave me a craft book on writing, which was appreciated. 😀
L. Marie, knowing your interest in crocheting, I think books on that craft and writing (of course!) would fill the bill. Cheers to you for giving the perfect “book” gift. 🙂
Lovely poem and a very thoughtful gift. Glad to see you feature Ben. Another internet friend.
So you know Ben? Since I’ve taken his class, his interest in gardening has really blossomed. This week he is offering a gardening book for half-price: https://www.newsociety.com/Books/N/A-New-Garden-Ethic?fbclid=IwAR3BFJh3i_DfPuMIfVfKuDjaHL3z3tsE0l8xntoydio97lmzLnfuARHbSaQ
He also tours participating in garden symposiums. 🙂
What a wonderful visual description of a Christmas table, Marian: enough to make you hungry!
We always include books among our gifts. Last year I got a biography of Marie Antoinette, which I enjoyed enormously for months afterwards!
Fatima, we always fine kindred spirits here, even in the gift-giving department. Books, especially in the winter months, really hit the spot as gifts. 🙂
Books. What would our lives be without books?? Terrible. Books are favorite gifts in our family to both give and receive. Our daughter-in-law, early in her marriage to our son, said gifts to us had always been books and should be something else for a change. Our son said, “No, you don’t understand. They love books; it’s the best thing we can give!” So true.
Her gift to my husband and me for our recent birthdays was a book on theology for him and a book on quilting for me. And, when we, Oma and Opa, visit the little grandsons in Harrisonburg, there are always a couple new books to be discovered in Oma’s bag and to be read by both Oma and Opa many time before we leave.
One of the joys of my retirement is to be able to read books and things other than professional reading because I now have (make) time! Audio books have become required for traveling and walking about town. I have a lengthy list of books I want to read/listen to.
Sarah, your life has been enriched by books – across the generations too – and you have the time and inclination to indulge your interest now in retirement.
I like the German reference to you and your husband as grandparents: Oma and Opa. Like you, my husband has audio books by his side. Now in semi-retirement, these books have become “armchair anthropology for him.
Just curious if you’ve finished reading your “prize” book – ha!
I have finished reading the book and enjoyed it very much! I found some similarities between your story and mine. My sister-in-law picked it up when they were visiting and took it home to read.
Oh Yes, those Christmas tables! Thanks for sharing the poem, Marian!
I’m giving my friend Dora Dueck’s book “All That Belongs” to my four sisters for Christmas. We’ll discuss it at book club at some point. I really enjoyed it. It’s all about an archivist’s musing about her family history, and right up my alley! I’ve also been reading CS Lewis’s Narnia series as we’ve been focusing on it at our church for the Advent season. The sanctuary is beautifully decorated with pine trees and paper cut-out snow flakes. I’ve always only read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, so am finding the other books quite fascinating!
Elfrieda, in my opinion, the only thing better than reading a good book is sharing it with others. Yay, for book clubs! I admire your practice of giving books as gifts. Your sisters will be blessed by receiving “All that Belongs.”
I too am a C. S. Lewis fan and this year have read about his romance with Joy Davidman in Patty Callahan’s Becoming Mrs. Lewis (written from Joy’s point of view).
So much to savor here, in Ben’s poem and in your reader’s comments. Thank you!
I’ve given your book to my sister and to one of my brothers. It is especially wonderful to share books and book discussions with others. I’m looking forward to discussing your book with my Mennonite pastor.
Thank you for the ripples of discussion my book may engender in your family. How fortunate you have a Mennonite church in your area. Maybe you can reveal tidbits of your conversation with your pastor.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks again for sharing you thoughts here, Dolores.
I am back ! 😁back to torment you Marian with potty words . I have missed you so much . Don’t ask what happened I really have no idea but last night there you were in my inbox 🤭😂.
I love the poem so full of warmth and feeling just like your blog .
Books ? I can not possibly have Christmas without books . They have to be wrapped even if I know their contents .
A couple of years ago we had a bad Christmas ( I won’t go into it ) but a book I bought myself was the balm I needed for healing …love em .
Music to my ears – you’re BACK! I hope to stay. There is no voice like yours and no other Cherry like you. I suspect the grubby gremlins were at work behind the scenes; I hope they gave up for good.
By the way, you never torment me and I don’t hear potty words out of you – HAHA!
I’m glad books are a balm for you. Cheers to Christmas and books, Cherry! 😀
What a beautiful poem, and the photograph goes so perfectly with it. I love looking at that dining room and the table – the cheery plants in the window, the “old school” TV. That room looks full of love! Wonderful of you to promote Ben’s book. It’s the kind of book perfect to gift for the holidays.
Writers help other writers, as you know/do well! Ben seems to have found a groove in marketing his garden expertise since I took his course.
I’m glad you see the “love” in the family gatherings. The photo is from long, long ago. Grandma’s kitchen has been completely transformed now that a young couple has bought the house and renovated it. I’m happy photos can preserve our shifting memories. Thank you, Pam!
Timely post and beautiful poem, Marian. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. I wish I had more time to read and that will have to become a New Year’s resolution for 2020, as reading is beneficial in so many ways! It might mean I will have to cut down on reading blogs, though…
Mark and I have it easy in ways of Christmas shopping… we don’t buy anything. I created and ordered personalized calendars for all our important family members, which I mentioned last week. So, I’m done! Mark and I will not get each other anything either, as our expenses have been quite high lately. We prefer experiences to stuff anyway. 🙂
You are wise to skip the consumer approach to Christmas. Oddly, some of my grandchildren have said, “I don’t want stuff.” They would prefer trips to the bowling alley, “Escape” games (where you are trapped in a room until you use clues to become unlocked), and mystery trips.
If you skip commenting on one of my blog posts, no worries. I’ll just picture you reading – ha! In book, reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. 🙂
This is such a vivid picture of a family at the Christmas table. I relate very much to it.
I’m glad you enjoy the nostalgia. I guess that’s a dominant theme of my blog posts. Thanks for noticing, Barbara! And I’m glad you can relate.
The long, full table reminds me of family dinners from my childhood. Our Christmas table has definitely become smaller over the years!
Books are one of the “musts” for our Christmas lists. Then they are available for those lazy days after the fuss is over and before the new year begins. That’s my favourite part of Christmas . . .
You have hit the mark on why I like those sweet days between Christmas and New Year: ” . . . those lazy days after the fuss is over and before the new year begins.” Your comments – always unique and appreciated, Arlene!
Hi Marian! I just love books; all kinds of books….old, new, dilapidated and worn out books!!! I love the smell of them too! Old novels are my favorite; Dickenson,Arthur Conan Doyle, Mrs. Peters adventures in Egypt; oh my! I prefer to have them in my hand and not on a device really. I like them all around me and in my lap. I can read anywhere but the car; that I cannot do but just give me a comfortable place and I lock out everything and everyone!
That tablecloth in the picture reminds me of Thanksgivings and Christmas Dinners growing up…..good memories; most now are in Heaven with Jesus and our Heavenly Father and I have never heard of Ben……thanks for sharing!
I hear the joy in your voice as you write. Thanks for all of this! We are kindred spirits in the reading department. Because I am tactile and verbal like you, I enjoy the touch of a “real” book and a cozy nook somewhere. I’m glad the table setting reminded you of good memories with loved ones.
Thanks for commenting, June! 🙂
Lovely poem, lovely poem. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I love to give and receive books. I’m a proud bookaholic and adore reading, writing, and amazing words that bring us on adventures we could never go on our own.
Writers are readers as we both are, Joan.
Cliff “reads” audio sitting in the corner with his ear “muffs.” on. My tending to read and recline gets me in trouble. A book falling to the floor gets my attention. Ha! Great to see you here!
What a wonderful poem! So evocative! I love giving and receiving books!
That’s not surprising, Fiona! Enjoy the crisp days of winter, whether you are in Sweden or England now. 🙂
This is an awesome, emotion-filled poem. I finally got back to read it at more leisure. So full of the small details only artists can bring out. Thanks for sharing. And Aunt Ruthie’s table photo is so perfect. Ummm. Well done.
I’m glad you have the leisure to savor moments like these. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Melodie!
A beautiful way to share history, filled with feeling, love, and the power of family. My family is small–more dogs than people–but we’ll join together, invite a few friends and all 5 dogs, and be grateful for the warm fire and good food. Solstice blessings to you, Marian.
Thank you, Elaine. I’m just catching your comment now – amid the hustle and bustle.
You are blessed with the abundance you need: canine and human alike. December blessings to you too!