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Our "Thing" - Books as a Meaningful Gift for Mom

When I began working on our Meaningful Gift Guide for Moms, I knew that I needed to include a section on books.

I’ve written a bit about books to read and where to buy books, so it is becoming apparent that I am a “reader”. What isn’t apparent is that my love of reading came directly from my mother.

She always has a stack of books on her bedside and one or two on the go. Her book club has been meeting for nearly 40 years. And her insistence that a great joy of life is that she will never, ever run out of great books to read – well, it has completely inspired me with a passionate love of reading.

It was a few years ago that I landed on a genius idea for gift giving to my mom. Like many mothers, she was difficult to buy for! What could I give that she didn’t already have or that wouldn’t go unused or that she hadn’t just bought for herself a few weeks before?

We like to talk about books we’ve both read, but she was rarely reading the books I had. One Mother’s Day, I picked up some extra copies of my recent reads and gave her three. She was delighted! Since then, I have Never. Turned. Back.

Now, for Christmas, Mother’s Day, and her birthday, I buy her an assortment of books I have read (or am quite certain she will like). Usually it is three (unless it is a tome like A Suitable Boy), and I almost always buy them used. I even leave the price tag on! Emily Post would be unimpressed, but our local used bookstore will exchange back at ½ price any books with their labels on them, so I figure if she doesn’t like one, she can just take it back and get another!

I cannot overstate how this has simplified and improved this area of my life! And I love that as she reads them, I can ask her what she thought and we can enjoy discussing the books together.

Reading may not be your (or her) thing, but is there a “thing” you share together? Building your gift giving around it can create meaning, value, & impact that goes beyond the occasion. Download our gift guide for a zillion more ideas of what to give mom (well, maybe not quite a zillion).



Some of the books I have given to my mom over the years:

  • Open – Andre Agassi
  • Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The 100 Foot Journey – Richard C. Morais
  • Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • 419 – Will Ferguson
  • A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  • The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society -- Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  • Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
  • The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared  – Jonas Jonasson
  • S. (Ship of Thesus) – JJ Abrams / Doug Dorst


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