Books are gifts, not burdens

Carole Hodorowicz, Opinions Editor

I have written about this once before in the past, but it is something I stand by with unwavering loyalty: 

One of the best gifts to give someone is a book.  

 Today, it seems like society is divided into two types of people: people who love reading and people who absolutely hate it.  

 Books have always been a powerful force of my life and I credit all the writers I have obsessed over, words I have read and pages I have turned, for making me part of who I am today.  

 Books would not have had and continue to have a dominant part in my life if it were not for the generosity of my friends and family who have helped guide me through each stage of my life with literature.  

One of the earliest stages I remember in which books came to the rescue was when I was in fourth grade. I opened up a neatly wrapped gift on Christmas day in front of my entire family to unveil the American Girl’s “Care & Keeping of You” by Valorie Lee Schaefer.

For most women my age now, this was our Bible for all things in relation to leaving our single digit ages to being a part of the big leagues: our preteens. 

I can still feel how hot my cheeks burned when I opened up this gift in front of an audience that morning, and I can still feel the pit in my stomach deepening when I realized the ugly truth: going training bra shopping with my mom at Kohl’s was on the horizon, and completely inevitable. This book was my beacon of light during one of the darkest times we all experience, also known as puberty. 

Santa, in collaboration with my parents, continued to embarrass me during the following Christmas with more informative reads from American Girl by gifting me “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys: Surviving Crushes, Staying True to Yourself & Other (Love) Stuff” by Nancy Holyoke and “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out & the Whole Popularity Thing” by Patti Kelley Criswell. I know what you’re thinking. Clearly, my parents had really high expectations for their oldest daughter. Nonetheless, I read these guides diligently way past my 8 p.m. bedtime, dog tailing pages and underlining key details accordingly.  

 With each birthday, my parents bought me all five of “The Winnie Years” books, which were narrated by a young girl from the ages of 10 to 14. I used these books as loose outlines to draw up plans for the years leading up to high school. My life did not follow the same path as my favorite female character at the time, but every time I picked up one of the books I was able to pretend it did for a little while.  

 As I entered high school and college, my friends and family began giving me books based on what they thought I would like rather than what they thought I needed. My parents have always been my biggest suppliers, picking up on my latest phases and satisfying my literary cravings. For about a year I have been wading in a pool of genres with dark humor and story lines, and my parents have thrown me titles by Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King and Bret Easton Ellis to keep me comfortable afloat.  

These books have not only been gifts that entertain me but also a reminder that the people around me listen to me. They care enough to remember what currently interests me and watch it branch off into another area of interest, helping it grow with the gift of one book after another.  

 It has become a simple tradition, for my friends have passed on books to me that they have read before and which have earned a top spot on their “must read” lists. During this occasion, it is not so much as a gift to commemorate another year I have grown older or holiday. It is a way for them to share a part of themselves and their interests with me. That is something so unique and in timate to me that no other gift, material item or experience could ever compare to.  

Books are more than just a requirement for class assignments or extra weight in your backpacks. They are a way for people to help you. They are a reminder that the people around you care about what you like and are trying to get to know you in a special way. They are a bridge connecting you to another individual.  

 Use the time you spend hating books to find and read one instead. 


Carole Hodorowicz is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]