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Books make great gifts for the holiday season

Since I like books so much, I find it odd that I don't often receive them as gifts. Still, I can completely understand that. It's hard to buy books for someone else, because you're not sure what titles they might have already read. Figuring out other people's book preferences is quite challenging.

Luckily, book stores have a lot of other merchandise that is well suited for readers. I really love getting calendars. I'm hoping I'll find at least one under the tree this year. If not, I'll wait until after Jan. 1 and buy a discounted calendar for myself.

I'm also a big fan of magazine subscriptions. Last year, my mom got me two years of "Entertainment Weekly," which is one of my all-time favorite publications. Getting an issue of it in the mail every week is like having Christmas all year long.

Magazine subscriptions also make an ideal last-minute present. For Christmas Day, wrap a copy of the current issue of the magazine with a note about the coming subscription. Just don't forget to actually send in the subscription card.

This year, I have no idea what to expect for Christmas. For once, I have concentrated more on buying gifts for other people than on my own list. This evening, my family will begin unwrapping gifts at our traditional Christmas eve gathering.

I have already received one book-related present that I love, though. A friend of mine who works for a publishing company sent me a set of six book-related note cards. Each of them depicts an old-fashioned image and a quote about books or reading. An artist creates the cards using vintage illustrations from antique books.

My favorite note card in the set shows a lady sitting in a crowded library and says "She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain," which is a quote from Louisa May Alcott, who wrote "Little Women." I can really relate to this sentiment, though I hope my love for books isn't actually making me crazy.

Another of the cards that I really like is the one with a little girl in a polka-dotted dress. She's reading a book and is surrounded by a stack of others. This card says, "Blessings be the inventor of the alphabet, pen and printing press! Life would be - to me in all events - a terrible thing without books." This quote is from L.M. Montgomery, the author of the "Anne of Green Gables" series.

The cards came from Small Meadows Press ( I may have to buy myself a few more of them. Even though I'd love to use the ones I received for Christmas, I like them so much, I'm not sure I can stand to part with them. They would make great thank-you notes, though - especially if anyone happens to get me reading material this year.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read, please e-mail