This is the season of weddings, graduations, and a host of other celebrations. We often bring gifts to these gatherings, and since all of us here at Four Foxes, One Hound have close personal relationships with books I thought it would be fun to see which titles we might offer to different people. So here are some titles I might recommend or give to my friends.
New Parents. When I became a mom I remember receiving several books telling me what to expect and how to handle certain situations. I may have cracked one or two of them open in the 32 years since then. The books I value most and the ones I give as gifts for new parents (hey, they deserve gifts as much as the new baby!) are books that describe the forever kind of love they will experience, and the overwhelming need to protect. Here are the two titles I’ve purchased many times:
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I have bought and given more than a dozen copies of this book. It poignantly describes a mother’s love. No matter how many years go by, that child will always be your baby. Just a word of caution: have a box of tissues handy when you get to the end!
Butterfly Kisses by Bob and Brooke Carlisle. I loved the song when it came out in 1997 and when this book appeared I knew it was the perfect gift. I’d expected it to be an illustrated presentation of the song lyrics, but the text, while done in rhyme, describes a father and daughter enjoying time together, just the way my dad and I did.
New Graduates. Again, I shy away from books doling out advice, but nobody ever accused me of being normal.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. This one is on just about every list of “Books For the Graduate” and my younger daughter actually received a copy when she graduated from high school ten years ago. I love the encouragement and hope expressed. It put into words my hopes and dreams for the child I was pushing out into the world.
The Big Book of If by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell. Unfortunately, this book isn’t in print anymore but there are copies available. When she was in high school, my daughter and her friends would spend hours reading through the different situations and discussing what they would do. Examples: If you could spend one whole night alone with anyone in history, whom would you choose? If you could commit one crime without being caught, what crime would you commit? If you had to name the one thing that most frightens you about growing old, what would it be? When I chaperoned bus trips with the band and choir, I noticed that sharing this book was a favorite activity, and I thought it was wonderful, the way they discussed how they thought they would react and why. I think they learned a lot about critical thinking, about presenting their ideas and accepting other peoples’ differing opinions. In other words, they practiced life skills.
Newly single person. I’m not sure what made me think of this group of people. It’s not as if I’m surrounded by friends who are suddenly on their own. But again, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t foist a self-help book at someone whether or not he/she was depressed about it. What I would do is recommend books about people who are single and enjoying it. I’ll limit this list to books about single women.
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Yes, I know I’ve complained about the Stephanie Plum series in that it’s starting to read like the same old thing once again, but this is the first in the series – back when Stephanie was first starting out in the bail bonds business and the pratfalls were funny. My hubby used to wake up to find me doubled over in laughter. And it seems that laughter would be good medicine for someone who’s in a depressing situation.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. If nothing else, Bridget Jones made me feel good about myself! I’ve been in awkward and embarrassing situations before, but nothing like this lady. I loved the movie, so maybe I’d rent that and suggest a movie and popcorn night, but the book would be great, too.
Do you have books that you give over and over?
My wife got hooked on the Evanovich series — and like you, she’d double over laughing… especially at the first few in the series.
Odd thing, though, when she’d read me the passage that had her in stitches, I’d be sitting there trying to look amused. It seemed to be one of those situations where you had to have been “in” on the buildup for it to be elicit the guffaws.
I suppose it would be difficult for you to see the humor in some of the situations Stephanie Plum gets into – my hubby didn’t get it, either. Looking forward to your recommendations.
I am also a Stephanie Plum fan and those are good ideas…but for women.You now have me wracking my brain for books for newly single men.
Right. I don’t pretend to understand men, and my husband was no help with this assignment. He’s not likely to find comfort or support in a book, so that’s why I decided to limit my titles to women’s fiction. Hope you come up with some suggestions!
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Love You Forever is a wonderful book. I remember reading it to Wyatt often when he was an infant/toddler. I still have my copy.
When Jess was about four she received a copy of Butterfly Kisses and loved it. I read it to her often. She eventually took it to her dad’s house.