Nothing beats a good read, especially when it's in the form of a gift. What makes the book even more special is that signed and dated message that a thoughtful giver will inscribe on the inside of the front cover.
I love to give, as well as receive, a book that's well-matched with the potential reader. Here are some of my personal picks. All of these have been on the bookstore shelves for quite awhile, but they've stood the test of time:
Disquiet Please! More Humor Writing from the New Yorker, edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder. Any reader of the magazine will adore the wide array of urbane wit from the likes of E.B. White, Steve Martin, and Peter De Vries.
On the Couch: A Book of Psychoanalysis Cartoons. Ninety-four single-frame lampoons of the psychiatric profession that have been featured in the New Yorker, to be appreciated by both those who have, or have not, undergone analysis.
Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings, by Bob Phillips, PhD. Quotable wisdom from history's most-quoted people.
The Little Book of Mathematical Principals, Theories, & Things, by Robert Solomon. Sssshhh...I've giving a copy of this to a certain dear nerd in my life.
The Soloist. I met the author, L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, and had him autograph my copy at a Barnes & Noble during a NAMI walk several years ago. A must-read of the extraordinary life of Nathaniel Ayers. Sadly, I felt the movie didn't do Mr. Lopez' narrative justice.
For inspiration about how to grow old(er) and really wiser, here are three: Gordon Livingston, M.D.'s And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More Things You Need to Now, which is preceded by Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. Also, Helen M. Luke's Old Age: Journey into Simplicity.
And, finally, for those who like to wade in the pool of Jungian thought, anything by Robert A. Johnson is both thought-provoking and very readable. My favorites: He: Understanding Masculine Psychology; She: Understanding Feminine Psychology; We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, and Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche. When I was flipping through the latter book, I found one of my underlined passages on Page 47 (I still mark up my books, so many years after college graduation!): "Parrots learn profanity more easily than common phrases since we utter our curses with so much vigor. The parrot doesn't know the meaning of these words, but he hears the energy invested in them."
So, that's it for this evening...we're still not yet at Thanksgiving, so there's time for me to pull more books off my shelves.